Nationally, the average number of board seats filled by women is less than 17 percent, according to Catalyst’s 2013 Women on Boards report. In an effort to diversify its leadership lineup, the SIA Board of Directors (BOD) challenged the gender asymmetry by electing four new females to board positions, upping the percentage of women on the committee to one-third.
At the SIA Snow Show, the board officially welcomed Venture Snowboards’ VP and co-owner Lisa Branner; Krimson Klover founder Rhonda Swenson; Point6 cofounder and creative director Patty Duke; and Erin Snow founder Erin Isakov onto the team.
“We’re finally making some progress. I don’t think that the number [of women]
has ever gone past four,” says executive VP and CFO of Seirus Innovation Wendy Carey, who joined the board two years ago. “It’s great to have a balance between the men and the women. We all have a little different perspective.”
“We think that having a woman’s perspective is very important in today’s age and the women who are on the board are very accomplished women who have either created or founded their own business,” says SIA president David Ingemie.
Prior to the election, current board members included Outdoor Gear owner and BOD first vice chair Julie Garry, Icelantic Skis CEO Annelise Loevlie, and Wendy Carey.
“It’s important to have different perspectives, and what’s even more important than male versus female is to have perspectives from different-size companies,” says Branner.
To ensure that the BOD has a variety of viewpoints, there’s a committee in place to check that the selected nominations represent widespread geographic regions, company categories, and company sizes, explains Ingemie.
Incorporating a wider range of backgrounds onto the board can help stimulate fresh ideas at a time when it’s most needed: “[The industry] needs growth and needs to figure out how to get it, and having to go to small businesses to find women brings an interesting perspective,” agrees Swenson.
In 2005, Diane Boyer, president of SKEA was elected SIA’s first Chairwoman of the Board. Starting in 1981, many other women leaders in the industry have served on our Board of Directors including: Judy Blake, Scandia Trading Co., Cindi Busenhart, Sessions Inc., Amy Carey, Coalision/Orage, Wendy Carey, Serius Innovation, Tracy Fong, Deep, Janet Freeman, Betty Rides, Wendy Kidder Becker, Air Dry Systems, Darcy Lee, Cold as ice, Emily Merrill, Brystie Inc., Kathy Murphy, Tubbs Snowshoes, Betty Tung, Fera International Corp.