Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Boulder, Colo.-based Outdoor Industry Association has looked beyond the outdoors to find its newest chief operating officer. The trade group announced last week that it has appointed Arlene Charles to oversee the group’s operations and manage its mission and fiscal sustainability.
Charles most recently served as executive director of Girls Inc. of Columbus and Phenix Russell in Columbus, Ga., where she was the organization’s first Black executive director since its inception in 1952. She has more than 30 years of experience in public sector leadership roles, which also includes time as COO for the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, plus experience with Georgia State University Foundation, Rutgers University Foundation, Douglas College, Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and the City of Plainfield.
“Not only does Arlene bring vast finance and operations experience, her strategic vision, track record of team building, and passion for OIA’s mission make her the right leader to move our organization’s important work forward,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, OIA’s executive director. “Her role as COO will further strengthen the work we do for our industry, driving long-term success while also keeping sight of the immediate goals.”
Added Charles, “This is a critical time for the outdoor industry as everyone starts to feel more comfortable venturing out, and I am extremely excited about the work that OIA is doing to help all communities and people thrive outside. I believe in the collective responsibility we all have in preserving our planet for the health and enjoyment of future generations.”
Charles has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fisk University, a master’s in accountancy from Rutgers Business School, and is a Doctor of Public Administration Candidate (ABD) at West Chester University. OIA said her research interests are “focused on the impact of nonprofit sector collaboration and collective action on the public good.”