We talk about the challenges she faced along the way, her childhood in Hawaii, taking a NOLS course during college and her career as a professional climber in the early days of professional climbing.
First Exposure to the Outdoors
I kind of grew up in a in two contrasting worlds, when I was a kid my family lived in Houston Texas of all places. Which is, I don’t know if you’ve ever been there but as a city there’s lots of buildings. My experience in the outdoors there was going to the swimming pool and the zoo. Basically I spent a lot of my time at shopping malls and going roller skating and bowling and things like that . . . not climbing. But my mother’s side of the family was from Hawaii. So we were really lucky because we got to go to Hawaii every summer and that was just a magical place for me growing up. My grandparents lived on Maui and the climate there is perfect, it’s paradise of course. People who just are outside all of the time even if you’re inside the indoors and the outdoors kind of mesh together. I played in the dirt with bare feet all the time. We went to the beach all the time so that was really where I became passionate about the environment and the outdoors. Then I ended up coming to Colorado to go to college and was studying environmental science and took a semester off and went on NOLS Course. We went to the Wind River Range and we had a desert section and a caving section some winter sessions in the Wyoming range. We also had a climbing section. I did learn actually how to climb before I went on NOLS with some skier friends of mine but when I went to that was when it really hit home and I thought gosh I this is something that I want to do for the rest of my life, so yeah I came back kind of a changed person.
Things we talked about
First you have to be crazy. No, I get so many resumes that cross my desk and and people sending me e-mails and telling me how passionate they are about climbing and about EVO. And it’s it’s great to hear that, you know that’s a very important ingredient in looking for staff is you want them to be passionate about what they do. But you know passion isn’t enough anymore. Unfortunately the industry has become very professionalized.
And it’s just getting to be even more sophisticated. The climbing gym industry specifically I think is more in its infancy than other parts of the outdoor industry. But we’re starting to see that gosh you know the the big guns in the industry have professionalized themselves and we need people who have hard skill sets that no degrees in business or accounting can really help with, analytics and marketing and things like that. So I guess my advice would be to say to people that yes definitely follow your passion but find a skill that you can develop that you’re good at.
When I was 18 my mother sent me to this aptitude testing thing and it lasted for a couple of days it was really intense but it was awesome because they tested my skill sets from math to reading comprehension all that stuff. Then they also tested what your passions were and what you liked and then they gave you advice on what would be great for you to pursue as a career.
I would say, I don’t know if that company is even out there anymore but I’m sure there’s ways to test your aptitudes to figure out, OK I have a knack for spreadsheets or something. Hard skill sets are really important and we really need people that are professional that show up on time and that are organized.
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