Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Outdoor Retailer: Education Recap

February 11, 2021

Miss an education session from Outdoor Retailer Online? Don’t worry, you can catch them all on-demand.


On January 6th, we kicked off Outdoor Retailer Winter Online with a keynote presentation led by Lindsay Peoples Wagner, who is editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and co-founder of Black in Fashion Council. She shared how the fashion industry is taking meaningful action to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion principles and how the outdoor industry can avoid performative allyship, increase inclusivity and make employees of color feel seen and heard.

Key takeaways from the discussion included:

  • Giving employees of color real agency within an organization by moving past performative allyship and into active allyship. “It’s more than just having that seat at the table — it’s being put in a position of success to be able to make change.”
  • Prioritizing authentic representation to make all communities feel welcome. “When you talk about inclusivity, at the root is representation — to make people feel seen and heard and say, ‘They may not understand my whole entire life and everything that I’m going through, but they see me, they hear my problems, they understand who I am and what I’m looking for.’”
  • Fighting explicit and implicit bias starts with systematic change. “Systematic changes are the things that fundamentally make you ask, ‘Would a person of color want to stay at this company or not?’”
  • Reflecting your values through budgeting for diversity and inclusion initiatives. “I understand the pandemic has caused budgets to change, I understand that people have had to lay people off — I understand all of these things. But I will say inherently, if anything is important to you it is part of your budget.”

Looking for outdoor-industry specific DEI resources? We’ve rounded up a few great places to start:

  • In Solidarity Network: a resource for job seekers of marginalized identities looking for employment in the outdoor industry.
  • Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge: a program that compels outdoor executives to create, promote, and enforce policies that expand the diversity, equity, and inclusion of their employees, board members, and customers.
  • Camber Outdoors: a community of corporations, nonprofits and small businesses who are committed to accelerating workplace change by creating inclusive cultures, implementing equitable systems and attracting a diversity of talent to their workplaces.
  • REI Product Impact Standards: a set of standards that engage REI’s more than 1,000 brand partners to advance more sustainable and inclusive business practices. See the specific section on Diversity and Inclusion on pg. 13.



Outdoor brands, advocates, athletes and marketing leaders from Merrell, The North Face, Ruffwear and more joined together to discuss the work they are doing to rethink their marketing strategies, build authentic relationships and incorporate strong representation in their advertising. This candid and transparent conversation dug into the pivotal moments from each participant’s journey and the lessons learned and best practices they’ve developed along the way. Key insights included:

  • Change starts within. There can be no external change at a brand or company without internal change – marketing and advertising must reflect an authentic shift in company culture.
  • Take the time for a “transformational pause.” The work ahead takes time. Ensure your team takes the time to reset and shift priorities to truly do it.
  • Acknowledge and represent all marginalized populations. What does true representation look like for your brand? Partnerships can only advance and accelerate your work.


Join Pocket Outdoor Media and Outdoor Industry Association for an uncomfortable conversation about the N word. Register now for the February 16th webinar.