Intellectual Buzz: Passion, Play & Workplace

After attending the quarterly Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition (OIWC) regional event in Boulder last week, I walked away with an intellectual buzz. As I’m committed to aligning my passions for the outdoors, innovation and supporting women, being a member of OIWC is an easy choice for me. While the event focused on mountain biking thanks to our host International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), I met women of many outdoor sectors.

The evening’s panel made of up of three mountain biking industry women inspired me beyond words. At first glance, they appeared to be lovely women with a passion for cycling. Moderated by Heather “Coop” Cooper, IMBA Senior Director of Strategic Marketing, I discovered the depth of achievements, passion and personal zest each of the ladies carry. The chat covered career achievements, challenges and words of wisdom. Each panelist left me with a specific “career touché” – a memory which they, and now I, define a turning point and career distinction.

  • Aimee Ross: IMBA Development Manager. Aimee left me knowing she’s a fierce believer in self-development. She shared a story of gender discrimination. She had been treated like she didn’t know what she was doing simply because of being a woman. Instead of a pity party, she decided to be the smartest in the office regarding the product line. As a result, the entire staff came to know her as to go-to most knowledgeable team member.
  • Dorothy Nichols: Smart Etailing Senior Director Sales and Marketing. Among many accolades, Dorothy’s most proud accomplishment is being a part of bringing the sport of mountain biking into the Olympics!
  • Georgia Gould: Luna Team, Pro Mountain Biker. In additional to being  national and internationally gold medalist, Olympic and UCI World Cup medalist, she’s a self-defined “lazy beekeeper.” She believes if we stop presuming NOs, complicating our desires and pointing fingers and instead “just ask” we learn accomplishing anything is possible and many times easier than we thought.  Georgia is most what’s known as the “Gould Formula:” Securing gender equal prize monies for UCI sanctioned races.


My favorite takeaways:

  • Question: “How does diversity affect your work environment?” Answer: “Stale ideas occur when you lack diversity and innovation – inclusive of age, gender, generations.” ~Aimee Ross
  • The CEO Pledge ( 50+ companies have taken the pledge to advance women’s leadership within their companies and the active outdoor industries. These are companies get involved with!

It was a room filled with powerhouse women (and a few wise men.) At the evening’s end, I left with ten new contacts which included ladies in the roles of film producer, product engineer, youth non-profit programmer, marketer, professional association developer, publisher and professional athlete. Thanks Coop, Aimee, Dorothy, Georgia, Annie, Erin, Deanne, Sarah, Liz, Jessie and Sue for lighting my passion fire.

What gives you an intellectual buzz? How do you align your passion with the workplace? After all, much like valuing a quality bed, we spend far too much time at our jobs to call it “work.” How about enjoying it as well!

#OIWC #IMBA #Boulder #OutdoorIndustry #MtnBiking #GenderEquality #PassionWork #CEOpledge #IntellectualBuzz #GetOutside #Callosum

Clare Hefferren

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