For Applicants

Applications for Class 5 are now closed. Applications for Class 6 will open in Summer 2020. To be notified when applications open, join our FLA email list JOIN LIST

“The Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy gave me the confidence and inspiration I needed to advocate for my new position at NEMO. When I started as a Logistics Coordinator, I had big dreams of working on supply chain sustainability full-time. Less than a year after joining FLA, I’m now the Supply Chain Sustainability Manager at NEMO. I can’t wait to dive into my new role- and truly feel that I have FLA to thank.” -Theresa Conn, Class 4, Supply Chain Sustainability Manager, NEMO


As a participant of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy you will develop the skills needed to be an innovative leader in the outdoor industry through:

  • Guidance from a highly engaged industry mentor
  • Personal Development & Goal Setting
  • Understanding Outdoor Industry Issues
  • Peer-to-peer discussion and networking with your fellow FLA class members and alumni

Application Requirements

-Applicants must have 3 or more years of experience in the outdoor industry (this can be any combination of brand, retail, sales rep, guiding, outdoor education, non-profit, or volunteer experience).

-Applicants must be in a director-level role or below (some exceptions apply to those start-up/entrepreneurial ventures. For questions about eligibility please contact Kristen Freaney at

Applicants must work for an OIA member company or their company must join OIA prior to the applicant accepting a spot in the class. Not sure if your company is an OIA member? Contact our Membership Team at

The application process is competitive. Our admissions committee is dedicated to selecting a highly-qualified class that represents a diverse set of companies, industry verticals, job functions, experience levels, geographic locations, perspectives, and people. Please do not be discouraged if you are not accepted into the program this year, especially if it is your first time applying!

OIA strongly supports diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoor industry and is thus, committed to building a more diverse SYFLA class year over year. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, LGBTQ and other underrepresented groups.

Applications for Class 5 are now closed. Applications for Class 6 will open in Summer 2020. To be notified when applications open, join our FLA email list.



Future Leadership Academy Learning Goals:

FLA Participants will leave the program with:

  • Working knowledge of OIA’s three pillars (sustainability, policy, & participation) and OIA’s efforts in these areas
  • Exposure to other industry verticals including brands, retailers, sales reps and non-profits and how to best collaborate with each to achieve shared success
  • Increased self-awareness including a deeper understanding of one’s strengths, blind spots, personal & professional values, definition of success, and teamwork style
  • Capacity for increased EQ by way of an ability to identify, understand and appreciate different personalities, workstyles and value systems
  • Working knowledge of current industry trends and challenges in the areas of diversity, equity & inclusion, sustainability and policy and ability to apply this knowledge on the job

FLA Learning Methods:

Learning in FLA occurs through several avenues including:

Learning Material: Articles, podcasts, and videos that are relevant to and broaden knowledge of each learning module. Typically, you’ll be instructed to review all learning material for each module before doing anything else.

Campfires: Campfires are 1-1.5-hour long webinars with subject matter experts on each learning module topic. Attendance at the live-sessions is strongly encouraged. If work commitments will prevent you from attending a live-session, you will need to watch a recorded version of the webcast

Reflection Calls: Most learning modules require you to review the learning material and then get on a call with a fellow FLAer to discuss your thoughts, ideas, and what you learned. Some modules will ask you to talk through specific reflection questions or topics, while others are more free-form.

Discussion Post Assignments: The assignment for each learning module will be a discussion post and response to one other poster in the FLA Learning Community. The content requirements for each discussion post vary from module to module.

Learning Module Topics May Include:

  • Understanding Industry Stakeholders & Best Practices for Collaboration: Brands, Retailers, & Reps
  • Assessing & Understanding Your Personal and Professional Values
  • Public Lands & Trade: How Policy Affects the Industry
  • Sustainability & The Higg Index
  • Accessing & Interpreting Industry Research
  • Individual, Organizational, and Industry Issues Around Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Leading Teams & Organizations
  • Navigating Leadership Challenges
  • Owning & Aiming Your Strategic Career Development
  • How to be an Intrapreneur
  • Presentation & Public Speaking Skills


The program cost is $4,250. This includes:

  • Six months of online learning – view our sample curriculum above
  • 7 days of in-person programming (including ground transportation, meals, outdoor activities, educational programming and overnight accommodations) – view our tentative gathering schedule here
  • Personal development education delivered by a Certified Life Coach and Licensed Professional Counselor
  • A personality self-assessment and half-day learning session on interpreting and applying your results
  • Supplemental webinars delivered by subject matter experts during each learning module
  • Capstone Project that allows you to apply your learning and skills to a real-world problem or idea
  • Mentoring from a seasoned industry veteran
  • Discounted access to The Futurist Project and our suite of Outdoor Industry Business Certificates (launching September 2019)
  • An invaluable network and community of Future Leadership Academy peers and alumni

*Travel costs to be covered by participants. Time off for the participants can either be covered by the company or PTO, to be arranged between employer and employee.




Emerging Leaders Manager