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Press Releases

OIWC Announces Pioneering Woman Award & First Ascent Award Recipients

Today, Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) announces that Lynsey Dyer and Vanessa Pierce, of She Jumps are the 2008 recipients of the Pioneering Woman Award, and Sarah Bennett, Burton Snowboards as the recipient of the First Ascent Award.

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Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) announces today that Neide Cooley and Megan Shrestha have been chosen as the 2009 recipients of the coveted Pioneering Woman and First Ascent Awards. These women will be recognized for their accomplishments and receive their awards during the OIWC Gathering on January 23, 2009. The event will be held at Pierpont Place, located at 163 Pierpont Ave, downtown Salt Lake City. The awards ceremony will commence at 6:30pm with a reception immediately following. The event will include great food and networking opportunities.

This year’s Pioneering Woman Award winner, Neide Cooley, is an independent design and merchandising consultant and has worked within the outdoor industry for over twenty years in multiple leadership capacities. Her resume includes positions as an apparel designer, research director and journalist with organizations such as Salomon Sport S.A., Outdoor Retailer magazine and Skiing Trade News.

Prior to her most recent entry into independent consulting, Cooley was the director of apparel design and merchandising at Marmot Mountain Ltd., where she oversaw the conceptualization, design and development of all apparel. She also previously owned an independent sales agency within the outdoor, ski and action sports industries and has served as OIWC’s president from 2001-2005. Cooley, who resides in Colorado, currently serves as a board member of Breckenridge Heritage Alliance in Colorado.

The Pioneering Woman Award honors women who have furthered the OIWC mission by demonstrating an outstanding commitment to mentoring female colleagues through exemplary leadership skills. Cooley is recognized as the recipient of the award for her tireless commitment to mentoring women on the importance of professional growth and personal balance. In addition to being a wife, mother and a grandmother, Cooley has been an industry leader for many years and is best known for her contributions in apparel design and for her gift of time and guidance to so many aspiring young women.

OIWC is also pleased to announce ISIS marketing coordinator, Megan Shrestha as the winner of the 2009 First Ascent Award for the Outdoor Industry. The First Ascent Award, which was created in 2005, recognizes a woman new to the industry who demonstrates strong potential for leadership.

Nominated by ISIS marketing director, Kim Callahan, Shrestha is being recognized for her relentless dedication to the role of marketing coordinator at ISIS. Shrestha came to ISIS from the healthcare industry where she ran a program for breast cancer research.

“From the first day Megan was poised, confident, friendly and determined. Although she didn’t have experience in either marketing or the outdoor industry, we decided to hire Megan as marketing coordinator. It is one of the best decisions we have ever made,” states Callahan.

Entering the position at a busy time with limited supervision, Shrestha took on the job of developing the ISIS seasonal fall website, coordinating all of the ISIS product and lifestyle photography, and developing trade show materials without any hesitation. Shrestha is cited as not being afraid of what she doesn’t know and is willing to take on new tasks and try things she has never done before – like enrolling herself in a graphic design course in order to increase the level of creativity in her work.

Shrestha is also a role model for the women at ISIS with her professionalism, enthusiasm and her can do, positive attitude. After losing her mother to breast cancer at a very young age, it was important for Shrestha to immerse herself in an environment lead by women. At ISIS, Shrestha helps her peers see their potential and brings out the best in many of them. It is this exemplary spirit and determination that recognizes Megan Shrestha as this year’s recipient of the OWIC First Ascent Award.

About OIWC
Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC), a 501(c) 6 non-profit corporation is a membership community of professionals in the Outdoor Industries. The OIWC is focused on providing power, influence, professional development and opportunity in the outdoor related businesses and to generate champions to inspire other women. To learn more about the OIWC online member community or to become a new member or sponsor, please visit