Columbia CEO Tim Boyle: We're here because the U.S. was open, tolerant enough to let us in

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Columbia Sportswear Company CEO Tim Boyle wrote to his employees to affirm the company's support and tolerance for all.

Columbia employees received this letter today from CEO Tim Boyle, about the brand's heritage and commitment to tolerance for all. The letter has also been shared with customers via the brand's LinkedIn page. We have copied it in its entirety below. If you'd like to share a message from your brand, or a personal opinion, please feel free to email us at snewsedit@aimmedia.com with the subject line "Letter to the Editor."

Columbia Sportswear Company CEO Tim Boyle. // Photo courtesy of Columbia Sportswear.

Columbia Sportswear Company CEO Tim Boyle. // Photo courtesy of Columbia Sportswear.

----------------------------------------------------------

To all Columbia Sportswear Company employees:

This message, like our company, has roots that reach back to 1938. That’s when Columbia Sportswear Company was founded — the year after my family fled Nazi Germany and my mother and grandparents settled safely in Portland, Oregon. Because they were able to come to the United States, they were able to start a small regional hat distributor and name it “Columbia.”

We are here because the United States was open and tolerant enough to let us in. Both our family and our business were encouraged to engage with the world. Our presence in America, coupled with the tremendous growth of Columbia Sportswear Company and the thousands of jobs created in Oregon and across the world, are direct rewards of global engagement that are often lost in political debates on all sides of the political aisle. You, our colleagues around the world, are a key part of that story.

I start with that basic history because political rhetoric and news reports in the U.S. could easily lead our tremendous group of global employees, or many of our international customers, to question America’s commitment to tolerance, diversity and fairness, along with our commitment to engagement across cultures.

At Columbia Sportswear Company, we are deeply committed to those principles. They are what brought us to Oregon and carried us to where we are today. It should not be necessary in 2017 to say that we at Columbia do not judge people based on their religious beliefs, nor should it be controversial for us to say it. But in today’s political environment, I am taking a moment to restate that fundamental view. We have faced a religious test in the past and will never support one.

Perhaps more than most companies, we understand the challenges of providing security for individuals in this country and around the world. We have long partnered successfully with the U.S. Government on anti-terrorism programs to ensure that our supply chain is secure. Furthermore, in 2015, we were extremely proud to have had the opportunity to assist the families of three heroes who foiled a terrorist attack in Europe. Our experiences tell us that such tremendous challenges require us to work together, across parties and all differences. We know what is possible when people care and work together.

In a global company, most of us are used to working with people who may see the world a little differently than we do. In fact, one of the most enjoyable parts of working at a global company like Columbia Sportswear Company is that we get to work with individuals from over 100 countries who have unique perspectives, different religious beliefs and rich ethnic backgrounds. Any of our team members can easily end up working closely with a colleague or customer many time zones away, bridging cultural and language differences to find solutions to reach a common goal. This is how we grow as individuals and make progress together. It is how we learn that we, as humans, have far more similarities than differences, and that whatever differences we may have are not to be feared but celebrated.

That approach seems to be in short supply in today’s politics. When it comes to fundamental debates about freedom, tolerance and security, I expect people of all parties in government to work across their differences and help us move forward together. People of good faith in different parties and different branches of government ought to be able to do this, while at the same time, protecting all of the fundamental principles that brought us here, including freedom of belief, expression and due process. I, alongside my family and colleagues, will be encouraging them to do so.

Thanks,

Tim Boyle
Chief Executive Officer
Columbia Sportswear Company

Related

black and white photo of Jerry Stritzke in puffy jacket and hat

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke: We don't support Trump's executive order on immigration

Another outdoor industry CEO weigh's in on Trump's controversial executive order from Week One of his presidency. REI employees received this letter Monday from CEO Jerry Stritzke, about the co-op's opposition to President Donald Trump's immigration ban and its commitment to ...read more

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke says it would be a 'mistake' to not gather at Outdoor Retailer

Stritzke's letter is the latest in a stream of announcements from brands saying whether they'll attend or boycott Outdoor Retailer this summer. REI CEO Jerry Stritzke published a letter Friday on the Co-op Journal, asking the outdoor community to unite in attending Outdoor ...read more

BoyleKerslake

Tim Boyle and Scott Kerslake: Behind the scenes of the Prana/Columbia deal

It’s no secret to Columbia Sportwear CEO Tim Boyle and Prana CEO Scott Kerslake. When the $190 million deal was announced for the former’s company to buy latter, there was some head scratching in the in the industry along with plenty of consumer worry — we won’t mince words — ...read more

Ted Manning Ibex

The C-Spot | CEO Ted Manning talks about Ibex's new Elite Dealer Program

Ted Manning got an early start in the outdoor industry, first pinning on an Eastern Mountain Sports name tag at age 17. Now the CEO of Ibex, Manning’s a far cry from that sales floor-roaming kid, but he’s yet to forget his roots. In the past year, Ibex has worked to bridge the ...read more

Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association.

OIA's Amy Roberts writes open letter to the outdoor industry

Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association, wrote an open letter to the industry this week. OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts is in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with members of Congress from Utah, she wrote in a letter to the outdoor industry ...read more

Gert Boyle in black and white | white haired woman with black-rimmed glasses and Columbia jacket stares off into the distance with background of storm clouds

Rest in Peace, Ma Boyle

The outdoor industry has lost One Tough Mother. Gert Boyle, Chairman of the Board (she hated the term “chairwoman”) and former CEO of Columbia Sportswear, died on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at the age of 95.  Gert never retired; she loved going to her office at the brand’s ...read more

AdventureTravelTradeAssociation-45

The C-Spot | ATTA President Shannon Stowell

Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), doesn’t just know how to beat up gear on adventures all over the planet. He knows how to sell it, too. Before becoming president of ATTA in 2004, Stowell co-founded altrec.com, an online outdoor and ...read more

Croakies

The C-Spot | Chris McCullough, VP of Marketing at Croakies

In the mid-70s a Jackson Hole ski patroller prone to losing his shades took a sharp pair of scissors and an old neoprene wetsuit and created the very first Croakies. Soon, all his ski patrol buddies were asking for them and the company was born. This year marks Croakies’ 40th ...read more

Millennial at heart: Jones at TGR's Fantasy Camp, a remote helicopter film base in Alaska. Photo: Nic Alegre

The C-Spot | Todd Jones, CEO of Teton Gravity Research, on captivating Millennials

As TGR celebrates its 21st birthday, the extreme sports media company is at the height of its Millennialsm - even though its founders are in their 40s. The Jackson Hole-based company has grown from a rag-tag group of ski bums to one of the world’s most decorated media companies, ...read more