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OIA Announces Class Four of Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy

January 24, 2019

Media Contact

Media Contact:
Kristen Freaney
Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy

OIA Announces Class Four of Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy

Thirty-five outdoor industry professionals embark on a six-month immersive program that prepares the next generation of outdoor industry leaders by teaching them to seek innovation, tackle challenges head-on and champion the causes that are critical to the industry’s longevity.

BOULDER, Colo. January 24, 2019 – Today, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) announced Class 4 of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy (FLA). In 2016, the Future Leadership Academy was created and named after JanSport’s founder and industry luminary Skip Yowell to honor his enduring legacy as one of the great founders, mentors and leaders in the outdoor industry.

The Future Leadership Academy is a six-month program that prepares, unites and amplifies the voice of high potential outdoor industry leaders. The academy readies outstanding and committed individuals to assume industry leadership positions in the years ahead. Class 4, chosen through a rigorous selection process, will receive development opportunities through leadership training, mentoring and education about issues vital to the health of outdoor industry businesses, including sustainability, trade policy, public lands and youth outdoor participation.

“The Future Leadership Academy is one of the most innovative leadership development programs I have come across in my years creating and leading education programs, and I’m thrilled to steward the vision for the program forward with Class 4,” said Kristen Freaney, OIA emerging leader education manager. “We have some exciting curriculum changes in store and such a bright, promising group of participants. I’m excited to lead this year’s class and see the next chapter of this program unfold.”

Class 4 Participants

John Adams, SCARPA
Lucas Alberg, Hydro Flask
Alicia Applegate,
Brittany Ashcraft, Chaco
Jessie Atherley, Clif Bar & Company
Erin Brucks, Boa Technology Inc.
Daniel Calabrese, Blackstone Investment Group
Stacy Chick, Icebreaker
Theresa Conn, NEMO Equipment
Rachel Davidson, Outdoor Research
Ian Dewar, The North Face
Andrew DuVall, Illinois Lock Company
Cameron Gadd, Mountain Khakis
Ronald Griswell, Townsend Bertram Company
Mae Harris, Optic Nerve
Genna Heath, REI
Roger Huang, Rab USA
Kim Johnston, Patagonia
YooRa Kang, Hillsound Equipment Inc.
Alex Lemley, Outdoor Industry Association
Kim Marek, Quality Bicycle Products
Nick Martinez, Burley Design
John Meadows, HOKA ONE ONE
Aubrey Miller, Redbudsuds
Elliott Nolan, Amer Sports
Ashlee Peterson, Mountain Hardwear
Stephanie Plunkett, Pacific Crest Trail Association
Sarah Riley, Fjallraven North America
Celia Santi, GU Energy Labs
Chris Sears, Outdoor Retailer
Susan Strible, Ruffwear
Sarah van der Hoop, Exxel Outdoors
Greer Van Dyck, Smartwool
Jonny Wood, Yakima
Henry Zimmerman, Arc’teryx

The program, launched in 2016, now has 90 total graduates. The new class of 35 individuals will be partnered with industry mentors who are poised to offer insight and guidance to the next generation of outdoor industry game changers.

“The next generation of leaders in the outdoor industry will take us places that today we can only imagine. I’m a Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy mentor and wholeheartedly support Arc’teryx employees experiencing the program because I want to aid in the development of leaders who are forward-thinking and challenge the way the outdoor industry has traditionally done business,” said CJ King, VP, global commercial at Arc’teryx. “The program enables current industry leadership and the next generation to learn from each other, be inspired and pass knowledge between both generations. FLA creates the platform to positively impact the participants, the outdoor industry and ultimately the public.”

The class participants will also collaborate together on capstone projects on which they’ll partner with outdoor industry nonprofits, helping them tackle some of the biggest issues and opportunities they are facing. Past capstone project nonprofits include the American Alpine Club, Climbing Alliance, Big City Mountaineers, The Futurist Project, Sierra Club, Outdoor Afro, National Wildlife Federation and SOS Outreach. Please reach out to Kristen Freaney ( if you’re a nonprofit interested in participating.

The 2019 Future Leadership Academy includes two individuals from nonprofits who will be participating in the program with generous scholarships provided by REI. 2019 is also the first year that the program is open to internal OIA staff. The first OIA staff class member will be Alex Lemley, marketing manager, who has been with the association for three years.

Thank you to our generous partners JanSport, Arc’teryx, REI, Upslope Brewery, Smartwool, Clif Bar & Company and Brew Dr. Kombucha.

For more information about the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Kristen Freaney, the program’s manager at


About OIA
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. Outdoor Industry Association unites and serves over 1,300 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit