Day 1 Lunch Session: Thriving People

Building A Generation of Diverse Outdoorists & Outdoor Industry Professionals

Creating the Next Generation of Diverse Outdoorists & Outdoor Industry Professionals will bring together outdoor industry educators to discuss the power of education in bringing more diverse people and voices into outdoor spaces and careers in the outdoor industry. We’ll discuss unique industry training programs like the Outdoor Industry Association’s Outdoor Industry Business Certificates, innovative university degree programs, and cutting-edge youth outdoor leadership programs, such as those that are a part of the Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Initiative, and how their work aims to make outdoor places and outdoor companies more accessible, equitable, and inclusive.

Watch the Recording:

Teresa Baker

Teresa Baker is determined to make a difference in the work of diversity and inclusion in outdoor spaces. She understands that if we are to move forward in efforts of environmental protection, more faces need to be engaged in the conversations and most importantly, the work. Currently those faces belong to underrepresented communities across the country, communities of color specifically. Teresa has always been an outdoor enthusiast, but she understand the stakes are higher now. Her focus is in community engagement events, events that encourage people to venture outdoors, learn about our open spaces, and what it takes to protect them. Fostering a shared sense of responsibility for environmental protection is her goal.

Teresa has created such projects as the Buffalo Soldiers Trail retracing event from the Presidio of San Francisco to Yosemite National Park, the Women’s Outdoor Summit For Empowerment, and her most recent venture, the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, which encourages outdoor brands to act around efforts of DEI, versus just speaking on its importance. The CEO Pledge has been highly successful, with over 150 brands and non-profits currently signed on.

Lesford Duncan

Lesford is the Senior Director of Programs at Outdoor Outreach. Since 1999, Outdoor Outreach has helped over 14,000 youth explore their world, challenge themselves, and discover what they’re capable of, using the outdoors as a platform for youth development and resilience. Through their Leadership Program, Outdoor Outreach introduces and prepares diverse youth for career pathways in outdoor recreation, conservation, and advocacy. Lesford has a career background in developing programs, partnerships, and policies that enhance the health and resilience of children and families. Prior to joining Outdoor Outreach, he worked in child welfare, cultural competency and behavioral health for the County of San Bernardino, California. There, he educated on the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and developed trauma-informed programs for building resilience in children and youth. Lesford received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Florida, and MPH in Health Policy and Leadership from Loma Linda University. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity, ultramarathon runner, and avid hiker and outdoorsman.

Andrés Esparza

Andrés is CLF’s Grassroots Engagement Director. Andrés has worked in the conservation and environmental education field for the better part of a decade on public lands throughout the western US. Through his time in a variety of roles, Andrés has always strived to engage diverse and often underrepresented population with their public lands through education, recreation, advocacy, and stewardship in an effort to ensure the survival, inclusivity, and relevancy of our public lands in the years to come.

Andrés holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Masters in Environmental Management degree from Western Colorado University. Andres works and lives in the Four Corners Area where he enjoys whatever outdoor recreation opportunities the season permits.

Andrea Olsen

Andrea is apparel designer an Assistant Professor at Utah State University in the Outdoor Product Design and Development Program. She spent the last 12 years designing technical outerwear for Columbia Sportswear Company, and creating sustainable apparel lines for Prana. Early in her career, Andrea noticed the impact of positive and negative leadership and team dynamics on the companies she worked for and the people she worked with. Out of these experiences, Andrea’s passion for teaching and and supporting creative people and teams was born. She is now focusing her career on higher education to empower the next generation of outdoor leaders and product creators

Ray Rivera

Ray has over 20 years of experience creating and leading multi-million dollar political campaigns, electoral programs and advocacy efforts. He served in President Obama’s Administration at the Obama-Biden Transition, Department of the Interior and at the White House. Ray earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. Ray Co-Founded, a civic engagement platform that connects voter and candidates at every level. He has spent the last four years scaling a program that recruits, inspires and support hundreds of leaders for elected office; and now he serves as part-time Senior Advisor to the program while embracing his most rewarding job as dad to Mateo and Gregory, ages 5 and 3. Whatever time he has to spare after the kids go to bed, he invests in getting diverse communities connected to the outdoors and mentoring the next generation of civic leaders.

Read More: Learn about our Thrive Outside Community initiative that creates repeat and reinforcing positive outdoor experiences for all kids and families. The core goal of the Thrive Outside Community investments is to create healthy individuals, communities, and economies by making the outdoors a habit.

Stay Tuned: Launching in July, the first-of-its-kind Outdoor Industry Business Certificate will bring together OIA’s deep industry knowledge with universities’ world-class faculty to provide high-impact educational opportunities that address critical topics through an outdoor industry lens.