This episode is with OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts. Amy gives her perspective on Outdoor Retailers last show in Salt Lake and the move to Denver. We talk about the public lands issues facing us today.
I wanted to be a journalist since fifth grade and I started a family newspaper called Amy’s Advocate. I produced it and got subscriptions for for my aunts and uncles I went to journalism school in college at the University of Missouri and I did work as a journalist for about 10 years before transitioning to working on campaigns.
My parents definitely took us camping I was a kid. I was fortunate that two of my mom’s brothers that live in Colorado have climbed all the 14s here. One the youngest brothers is actually not that far in age for me because I’m the oldest grandchild so he and I have done quite a bit of mountaineering together when I was a kid. But you know even to this day we still go out quite a bit so I had a great mentor and I think that we have to have that mentor to take us outside. That’s how so many of us got into the outdoors.
I basically quit my job in my early 30s right, dad was completely horrified and I took the year off and I climbed in Red Rocks and also in Yosemite that summer. I did some international trips and when I ran out of money and needed to get a job again I knew at that time I wanted to work in the Outdoor Industry so I moved back to Colorado where I’m from and got a job with bicycle Colorado. That was my first job working for an advocacy group in that focused on outdoor activity.
Things we talked about
OIA– we have 1200 members and we really represent the breadth of the industry we have the well-known brands like in North Face and Columbia, a lot of the midsize and small brands in the industry like in Nemo or Toad & Co and then we have big retailers like a Cabela’s down to the specialty retailers and then we’ve got a lot of supply chain members as well so we do a lot of work behalf of the entire industry.
well a couple things, in terms of getting into the business I always think one of the best things you can do is get some operations experience. I always feel like working in the supply chain is a great way to get in because you understand how products are made. If you want to work in advocacy or sustainability I think the best background you can have an operations and supply chain background. I think in terms of building your career two years ago we launched at away the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy and this is our second year. Steve Barker also deserves a lot of credit for this idea. We’ve had we have around 30 participants this year that are mid-career in the industry and the idea behind this is to create more people like Steve and Skip. Now you’re working in the outdoor industry you came here because you have a certain value set and now you’re maybe an accountant or you might be in a cube, a cubicle refugee as Steve calls them. So how do you get to do the things that are the reason why you came to the outdoor industry. That was the point of the Skip Yowell Academy, to you can become a mentor, meet your friends or meet colleagues that work for other companies and then find out how you engage in advocacy, how you get involved in the sustainability and then how you inspire yourself or your colleagues to rise up and be the next generation of leadership in the industry and serve on boards that type of thing.
Other Outdoor Activities
I would say I’m more of a hiker now. I do a bunch of skiing, my daughter is actually racing this fall. Because of that we end up skiing quite a bit on the weekend and mountain biking and hiking in the summer. I don’t do as much technical rock climbing anymore but I still try to get outside as much as possible.
Fear and loathing on the campaign trail by Hunter S Thompson
Buying the night flight by Georgie Anne Geyer
Annapurna by Maurice Herzog
Best Gear Purchase under $100
Connect with Amy
you can also find her on LinkedIn
and on Twitter @AmyRobertsOIA