OIA elects two returning and two first-term board members

We're happy to announce two returning board members and two new incoming members, who will take their seats officially at the upcoming board meeting in September.

August 29, 2022

We would like to thank all the member companies who participated in the 2022 election. We are happy to announce and introduce the two returning directors as well as the two new incoming directors, who will officially begin their three-year terms at the upcoming board meeting in September:

  • Frazier Blair, Orvis Company VP Merchandise Planning
  • Sara Ellis, W.L. Gore & Associates Global Product Specialist, GORE-TEX Product Technology for Consumer
  • José G. González, Latino Outdoors Founder and Avarna Group Partner
  • Shawn Gorman, L.L. Bean, Inc. Executive Chairman

We appreciate the continued service of the existing directors and look forward to bringing on two new directors representing the outdoor industry. It’s more important than ever that OIA represent the breadth of brands, retailers, and consumers who love the outdoors.

The OIA board of directors provides guidance for the organization’s overall strategic direction, establishes policies and positions, and monitors the association’s financial health, programs, and overall performance. OIA with its board is working to bring renewed focus to the work that directly addresses our members’ challenges and opportunities in a post-pandemic world by providing insights, advocacy, and opportunities for action that support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and equitable outdoor access for all. The four directors in the class of 2022 bring the experience, perspectives, and skill to help guide our industry into a future with thriving outdoor businesses, thriving outdoor communities, and a thriving planet.

 

Frazier Blair
Orvis Company VP Merchandise Planning

What relevant business or industry experience will you bring to the OIA Board to help achieve and promote OIA’s work?
I have just completed my first term as an OIA Board member, where I continue to serve as chair of the Audit & Finance Committee and on the Executive Committee. Within my first term and alongside other committee members and OIA staff, I participated in the development of our go-forward strategic plan and advocacy sessions in D.C. and worked together with other directors, through the SWORD Inclusion System to build a more inclusive board, OIA, and outdoor ecosystem.

My love of the outdoors has informed my entire life – as a consumer, an athlete, and a professional. I began my career managing retail stores in the ski industry, and from there my role evolved to buying, then to inventory management, sourcing and product development, merchandising, and now merchandise planning at Orvis. I was an original member of the Orvis 50/50 On the Water initiative and serve as executive sponsor for Orvis’ Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. If elected to a second OIA term, I will continue to support our evolution of strategy and membership, with focus on advocacy and inclusion.

Background:

Frazier Blair grew up in Fayston, Vermont, where her lifelong passion and curiosity for the outdoors was born. Pursuit of the outdoors and like-minded peers and role models drove her early career decisions and continue to capture her imagination today. As a result, the outdoors has long been her home and the industry that supports it the natural place for her professional efforts. Frazier can be found cycling, skiing, running, and hiking whenever possible.

For the last 17 years, Frazier has been combining her love of the outdoors with her passion for leadership in her work with Orvis, an outdoor lifestyle brand rooted in fly fishing and wingshooting that is inspired by nature, driven by curiosity, and fulfilled by adventure. She began her work as control buyer and now serves as the VP of merchandise planning. In this role she is responsible for the planning teams – driving sales, profit, and inventory plans across all Orvis product categories. For the past 10 years she has served on the Executive Committee with special focus on company strategy and helping to drive organizational change by prioritizing values-driven leadership, culture, people, and teams.

 

Sara Ellis

W.L. Gore & Associates Global Product Specialist, GORE-TEX Product Technology for Consumer

What relevant business or industry experience will you bring to the OIA Board to help achieve and promote OIA’s work?
My experience and relevance to the OIA Board largely comes from my commitment within the Gore Fabrics division as a global product specialist for GORE-TEX technology. In this commitment, I work to develop new materials and garment systems to enable our customers to create highly technical and long-lasting products leveraging GORE-TEX technology. My connections and partnership with these outdoor brands, of which many are members of OIA and influencers to the outdoor industry, spans globally. Specifically, my physical location in the U.S. provides direct access to the product and business development teams in North America on both a professional and personal level. Additionally, with Gore being a member of OIA, my network and reputation within the Gore Enterprise can be leveraged for the board as Gore is involved in global sustainability initiatives and helping develop, fund, and evolve standards for the outdoor apparel industry.

Background:

Sara Ellis is a global product specialist, responsible for innovation and development of GORE-TEX product technologies for consumer garments, leading a cross-functional development team to bring new product innovations to market. Gore is headquartered in Newark, Del., and is a global manufacturer of diverse products, most well-known for its ingredient GORE-TEX product brand. She has worked with some of the world’s leading apparel brands like Arc’Teryx, Patagonia, and Mountain Hardware. In her 15 years at Gore, Sara has been in various commitments across multiple businesses, providing her with diverse experience in industries outside of apparel, such as pharmaceuticals and mobile electronics. She received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University, where she was also a stand-out Division I basketball player. Outside of work, Sara is still an avid competitor and loves to run, go on outdoor adventures with her family and dogs, travel, and play in adult sport leagues.

 

José G. González

Latino Outdoors Founder and Avarna Group Partner

What relevant business or industry experience will you bring to the OIA Board to help achieve and promote OIA’s work?

I am both familiar and different in terms of my connection and relevance to the outdoor industry. Familiar in the idea and intention of the power of the outdoors and the benefits it bestows on people. Different in that I am not a small business owner or large brand executive and I am not relying on the outdoors as a platform to support a profit margin. As the founder of Latino Outdoors and co-founder of the Outdoorist Oath, my background and experience are ones that I have heard the industry call for and wrestle with in recent years: How do we stay relevant to a growing diverse constituency, consumer base, and community of outdoor enthusiasts? How do we reframe and expand the idea of the outdoors to one that is inclusive of all and acknowledges systemic inequities and historical harms? They are questions that prepare the industry for the outdoors of the future and the present, and ones that I am excited about collectively addressing with the OIA community and all who connect to their own respective stoke in the outdoors, for people and planet.

 Background:
José G. González is the founder of Latino Outdoors and co-founder of the Outdoorist Oath. He is a professional educator with training in the fields of education and conservation, while engaging in different artistic endeavors with art and messaging—often exploring the intersection of the environment and culture. As a partner in the Avarna Group and through his own consulting, his work focuses on equity and inclusion frameworks and practices in the environmental, outdoor, and conservation fields. He is also an illustrator and science communicator.

He received his B.A at the University of California, Davis, and his M.S. at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment. His teaching coursework was at the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department at Sacramento State.

He serves as a trustee for the National Outdoor Leadership School, a trustee for the National Recreation Foundation, Resource Media Board director, Parks California Board director, and councilor for Save the Redwoods League, among other such leadership volunteer roles.

 

Shawn Gorman

L.L.Bean, Inc. Executive Chairman

What relevant business or industry experience will you bring to the OIA Board to help achieve and promote OIA’s work?

My experience as L.L.Bean’s executive chairman, particularly during our company’s ongoing response to the global pandemic, has been helpful in advancing OIA’s mission. I have 30+ years’ experience in marketing, international, e-commerce, and brand management and have also served on L.L.Bean’s Board for more than 20 years, implementing business strategy and evolving our governance to ensure we remain family-owned. While the past two years have brought incredible challenges, there have been silver linings, too. For our industry, it is the increasing numbers of people discovering (or rediscovering) the power of the outdoors. Maintaining that momentum is paramount as we move forward.

I’m proud to continue the legacy of my great-grandfather, Leon Leonwood Bean. For over a century, L.L.Bean has been committed to helping people connect to the outdoors by providing exceptional service and maintaining a welcoming and positive work culture, while protecting our natural resources and expanding outdoor access for all. Through our charitable giving, L.L.Bean has committed millions to support conservation and outdoor access. Additionally, many OIA initiatives align with our priorities, including OIA’s Sustainability and Made in America Working Groups and the Outdoor Foundation.

I look forward to continuing to bring my experience, values, and love of the outdoors to OIA’s Board.

Background:

Shawn Gorman serves as executive chairman of L.L.Bean, a family-owned, Freeport-Maine outdoor retailer that was founded by his great-grandfather, Leon Leonwood (“L.L.”) Bean in 1912. Prior to becoming executive chairman, Shawn served in the business for more than 20 years. He began as an advertising analyst in corporate marketing in 1991 and moved into his first of several leadership roles in 1993. He later served as manager of international customer operations, and also spent four years in L.L.Bean’s e-commerce division as manager of marketing and customer management. In 2002, Shawn joined partnership marketing, with responsibility for leading L.L.Bean’s co-branded marketing programs.

From 2008-2011, Shawn served as VP of card services and direct-to-business (now known as L.L.Bean for Business), overseeing the launch of the company’s first business-to-business website. His final operations role was as senior VP of brand communications, where he is credited with integrating L.L.Bean’s brand strategies across its mail, web, and retail channels to ensure consistency and customer focus.

Shawn grew up in Exeter, N.H., and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from UNH in 1989. He has also completed executive programs at the Wharton School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management. Like his great-grandfather, Shawn is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys spending time outside with friends and family. He lives in Portland, Maine, and has three adult children.

 

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