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Amy Roberts bids goodbye to Outdoor Industry Association

After 10 years at Outdoor Industry Association (and four at the helm), Roberts recaps what's ahead and turns to a new chapter at The North Face

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Amy Roberts served her last day as executive director of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) yesterday. Roberts, who been with the organization for the last decade and in the ED role for the last four, turns her focus this week to her new gig at The North Face, serving as the brand’s senior director of communications and corporate social responsibility.

Roberts told Outside Business Journal that the transition is both bittersweet and exciting. “I’m glad I had a long transition so I had time to wrap it up correctly,” she said, adding “I’m looking forward to new challenges at TNF.”

Last week Roberts sat in on her final board of directors meeting at OIA, and in a letter released today to OIA members with the subject line “Thanks for 10 years of collaboration,” she bid the group farewell and recapped the organization’s road map for the coming year.

We spoke with OIA’s board chair, Nora Stowell, to learn about the status of the search for the next executive director. Stowell promised us an update soon (so stay tuned).

Amy Roberts’ letter to OIA members in its entirety

Dear OIA members:

As I wrap up my time at OIA, I would like to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to serve and lead our industry’s work for over 10 years and to let you know what the OIA team has planned in the coming months. Your OIA and Outdoor Foundation Boards of Directors met for several days last week here in Boulder, and together with staff, we mapped out several new exciting programs set to launch in 2019 and 2020.

Outdoor Participation and Advocacy

Earlier this year, we launched our first four Thrive Outside Communities (Atlanta, Oklahoma City, San Diego and Grand Rapids) across the United States. These Outdoor Foundation Thrive Outside Community grants are enabling kids and families to have repeat and frequent outdoor experiences so that the joy and wonder of the outdoors become an important part of their lives. Our advocacy work already supports these efforts by working to get funding for parks and trails. But we need to do more and expand the number and breadth of legislators who care about these issues beyond out traditional allies. In the coming months, OIA will launch a new advocacy platform that brings together the participation work of the Outdoor Foundation and the strength of OIA’s policy work.We will have new research to support this work, and we will build additional partnerships to amplify our voice.

Of course, 2020 is an election year, and OIA will once again get you ready to participate through our Vote the Outdoors campaign, ensuring you know where candidates stand on trade and recreation policy. We will continue to add state offices of outdoor recreation around the country (lucky #16 is coming soon) and let you know which states and cities have ballot initiatives that will increase funding for parks and trails right outside your doors.

Sustainable Business Innovation

For the past decade, our sustainability work has been on the forefront of creating tools to help bring common understanding and measurement to our efforts to create products to get outside while preserving nature. In 2020, we will take the bold step of moving beyond simply doing no harm to rallying the outdoor industry to take part in sustainability impact challenges that have a positive impact on the environment. Get ready to be among the first to sign up for the first Climate Positive Impact Challenge, which OIA will preview at Outdoor + Snow Show in January.

Emerging Leadership

The Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy continues to attract rising talent in the outdoor industry, and in the next few weeks, we will announce a partnership with several national universities that will give your employees the opportunity to earn an Outdoor Industry Business Certificate (OIBC) in outdoor business principles, sustainable product design and public lands and climate policy. These certificates will be available online, and the courses will be taught by university faculty and have been developed specifically to serve current and future outdoor industry employees, recruit new staff and educate and retain the great employees you already have.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the industry at OIA for a total of 10 years, and I look forward to continuing to be an industry champion in my new role at The North Face. I will miss the fabulous OIA team and their dedication and commitment to the issues we all care about. I will be cheering and supporting as these new initiatives come to life.

With gratitude for your support,

Amy Roberts