OIA’s Future Leadership Academy Honors Outdoor Legend Skip Yowell

October 14, 2016

As the first class graduates, OIA opens selection process for second class

Marking the year anniversary of his passing, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) honors Skip Yowell and his incredible impact on the outdoor industry through his namesake’s program, the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy.

In August, the first Skip Yowell Future Leadership class marked their graduation from the program. They spent nine months learning from industry founders, studying current issues and working together to prepare for the future. Skip was a genuine visionary who created great gear and also held high the values of our industry: protecting the places we recreate, building community, seeking collaboration and providing mentorship. The Academy aims to harness those values and bring them to the next generation of outdoor leaders.

Through the program, participants receive development opportunities that include education about important outdoor industry issues, leadership training, mentoring from industry veterans and direction for forging the community that will make our industry stronger and better in the years to come.

Longtime colleague and friend of Skip, Larry Harrison, Brand Development Director at Outdoor Retailer, said, “I don’t know that you can teach eagerness, but after Joe Bustos, Retail Relations Manager at Outdoor Retailer, rejoined us from his Future Leadership Academy experience, he had a new level of confidence, one that would have made Skip proud. Skip always jumped in and got his hands dirty, whether growing sunflowers or developing a marketing plan or a new pack design.”

The 2016 Future Leadership Academy Graduates (FLAGs) credit the Academy with providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn with and from the industry’s most influential leaders.

“The Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy reassured me that the outdoor industry is my home and I am here to stay,” said Bustos. “The education and mentorship I received from the Academy also gave me more confidence in my current position and a new outlook on what the future of the outdoor industry can look like.”

Through a methodology called Design Thinking, participants learn outdoor industry values from experts, founders, and current leaders, as well as the other members of their cohort.

“We believe the most impactful learning is based in experience. Our approach to education is best described as a ‘guide-on-the-side’ vs. ’sage-on-the-stage’,” said Stasia Raines, Director of the Future Leadership Academy. “Skip practiced this kind of teaching and mentoring throughout his life, as evidenced not only by his business ethos, but by his volunteer work and mentoring relationships. He was a guide first. We are proud to honor him with this program.”

Now in its second year, OIA is accepting 30 outstanding future leaders to the program, which kicks off in January.  Applications are open now through October 28. The goal of the program is to prepare and unite the next generation of outdoor industry game-changers. For more details, a schedule and information, please visit https://outdoorindustry.org/events/oia-education/oia-future-leadership-academy/.

About the Outdoor Industry Association

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. OIA unites and serves over 1200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business, market and consumer insights and industry trends. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.