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OIWC taps new leader, Deanne Buck

Deanne Buck, formerly of the Access Fund and American Alpine Club, took over the reigns of the OIWC on July 16, replacing longtime executive director Sally Grimes, who announced her plans in May to step down.

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For Deanne Buck, this upcoming Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is going to be like a reintroduction to all of the people she’s been working with for years, only this time, she’ll be introduced as the executive director of the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition.

The OIWC announced today that Buck was tapped to replace Grimes, who announced her impending departure from the organization this past May.

“I’m pretty much excited about everything. For one it’s just such a great organization, it has a strong foundation that was built by Sally and the current staff and past board members and stakeholders,” Buck said. “The organization has seen substantial growth the last few years and I’m looking forward to building on that growth.”

Prior to taking the post at the OIWC, Buck worked nearly five years with the Access Fund, where she worked first as a grassroots coordinator, then as the programs director and finally as its interim executive director. She also worked with the American Alpine Club as the development director and since she left has been working to develop its board of directors.

Buck has a degree in women’s studies from the University of Nebraska, and holds her law degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

While at the University of Nebraska, she headed up a women’s resource center and said this post is a perfect way for the longtime climber to combine her passion for women’s rights and gender equality with her love of the outdoors.

Growing up in Nebraska, Buck said, she was always surrounded by the outdoors but didn’t become an active participant until later in life.

“The outdoors is always something I grew up with but never interacted with until after college,” Buck said. “I had a friend who was into climbing and I started climbing at a gym at the YMCA in Omaha and that opened my eyes to all the great recreation in the outdoors.”

Now, Buck is hooked. After practicing law for several years, oftentimes representing outdoor companies, she worked with both specialty retailers and climbing gyms and prior to that had been a river rafting guide. 

She gets out daily with her two dogs and her husband, as the vast outdoor playground that is Boulder, Colo., is their backyard.

“We have a national forest right behind our house,” Buck said with a laugh.

Buck said she’s happy to remain part of the outdoor industry and said she wants to help the organization continue on the growth trajectory it’s been on in the last 10 years, during Grimes’ tenure. Grimes told SNEWS she stepped down to spend more time with her two children and to pursue other interests.

During the past 10 years, OIWC’s number of volunteers has grown from 15 to 130, the number of corporate sponsors from 12 to more than 90, and membership has increased from 150 to more than 1,500.

Buck said she’s planning to help the organization further advance its mission, which was revised in 2011 to state that the organization was intended to provide: “Advocacy, education and resources for women in the outdoor, bike and snowsports industries.”

Buck will be circulating the trade show floors at both Outdoor Retailer Summer Market next month and InterBike in September.

“The organization adopted a new mission and vision statement last year and so under that umbrella I’m hoping that we can start moving the needle on gender equity and leadership diversity,” Buck said, “and really doing that in partnership with companies in the industry that support OIWC, our partners, and with the industry as a whole.”

–Ana Trujillo