Skip Yowell Leadership Lesson 11: You Can Take Your Foot Off The Gas and Keep Moving Forward

Sterling Rope’s Erin Weimer had developed all the skills she needed to navigate career and life changes—except one.

By Devon O'Neil October 11, 2017

Erin Weimer, the PR and content manager for Portland, Maine-based Sterling Rope, was at a blogger conference in Wyoming last year when she received an email from Sterling’s Founder and President, Carolyn Brodsky.

Brodsky was emailing about OIA’s Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy (SYFLA), which was taking applications. “She said, ‘You would be phenomenal for this, I strongly encourage you to apply, and Sterling will pay for it,’” Weimer recalls. It was the first Weimer had heard of the program. (She was later accepted.)

Learn more about Skip Yowell Future Leaders.

Not every company’s president would go out of her way to pay for an employee’s advancement, but Brodsky’s insistence meant more to Weimer. It validated the approach she has used to navigate a series of trying circumstances in recent years, each of which threatened to derail her career.

Before joining Sterling in 2015, Weimer—who captained the golf team at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts—worked in advertising and marketing for brands like Titleist and Cobra/Puma, and chased jobs from New England to San Diego and back. But when her agencies lost their contracts, they laid her off—twice in the span of 14 months.

Weimer has two professional mantras: Do the best you can, and be proud of your work. “I think I’ve always been proud of the work that I’ve done, and I want to make my job bigger than what I start with,” she says. Such principles tend to leave a lasting impression, even when colleagues become former colleagues.


As Weimer searched for her next job, this time on the client side, one thought kept circling through her mind: Even when she worked in the golf industry, she almost never played golf. She wanted her next job to mesh with her lifestyle not compete with or detract from it. Even though most of her childhood time belonged to sports like hockey and soccer and later to golf, she had also camped and hiked as a kid and wanted to do more outdoor activities as an adult.. So when one of her former agency colleagues asked if she’d be interested in a job with Sterling, Weimer said yes.

The colleague put in a word for Weimer, and she aced her interview. Now, in addition to handling Sterling’s PR, she also runs the website, manages the athlete team and serves as the point person for events and Sterling’s nonprofit partners.

All of which made it hard for her to step back when she had one of her kidneys removed in June.

Slowing down isn’t easy for Weimer, but her SYFLA mentor, Altitude Seven Founder Georgina Miranda, reminded her that it was OK to let herself heal. Weimer came to realize it was just a different version of doing her best.

Now recovered, Weimer, 32, says she hopes to someday be chief marketing officer for Sterling or another brand in the outdoor industry. “There are so many ways to reach people and talk to people. I feel like I can learn as much as I can every day, and I’ll always be playing catch up.”

Miranda adds: “Erin could do a lot of different things. She could lead their whole e-commerce strategy, she could lead their whole digital marketing strategy; she kind of already does both of those things, but not officially. She could also play a role in operations, because she really gets that space. One of her best attributes is she’s always open to feedback, which I think is the most important part of being a leader.”