Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 10
Grow the Future
Cultivate talent and relationships for a bloom that will build
lasting inclusion and lifelong rewards. By Dani Reyes-Acosta
" IT'S GOING TO TAKE WORK, " MY MENTOR REPEATED, AGAIN. OUR GOALS-BOTH IN THE MOUNTAINS
and in the boardroom-wouldn't materialize from the ether. There were hours of education to undertake,
presentations to make, and summits to reach.
Three years after our conversation, as we continue working toward our objectives, one thing
rings true: Achieving goals requires an investment in the present.
For our industry to tap into the value that inclusion brings, invest in talent and relationships
consciously. Here are a few tips and tools from leaders driving this rising tide, from placement for
in-house full-time employees to searches for contractors and on-camera talent.
KNOW WHERE TO START
If diversity brings representation, equity provides access, and inclusivity creates environments in
which all individuals feel connected and valued, assess your organization's DEI maturity.
" Before posting job openings [that] target underrepresented groups, hiring managers should be
ready to articulate what efforts are already underway at the company to nurture an inclusive culture
and advance equitable practices in a long-term, meaningful fashion, " says Annie Kao, J.D. (she/her),
founder of Ascent Inclusion Consulting, a DEI advisory firm specializing in the outdoor industry.
Next, empower hiring managers to articulate your company's status (not stance) along its
Next-gen hiring practices take relationship-building beyond closed-door networking events and
Instagram-driven talent searches. They also embrace community and storytelling components.
" If we're trying to widen our view of who's in the outdoors... our technology offers the ability
to search, shortlist, and cast more faces than those you've maybe preconceived [as talent for a
specific project], " says Holly Fraser (she/her), managing director of Outsiders Network, North
America's (new) outdoor talent marketplace.
She also suggests shifting your expectations: " Maybe it turns out that the person who's perfect for
your shoot isn't who you had in mind, but when you see them on the screen, you'll realize that they
are actually the right person [to hire]. "
Talent stories can activate brand values on-camera in unforeseen ways: " The most exciting
thing that's happened during our recruitment phase has been to surface real stories that emerging
talent share, stories that are more amazing than any creative could have written up, " says Fraser.
" Diversifying the outdoors is not just a new flashy marketing campaign to us; this is a deep commitment
to the belief that the outdoors should be for all and in following that up with action in the
form of longstanding partnerships that offer real support-not breadcrumbs, " says Pattie Gonia
Remember, says Kao: " Savvy candidates from underrepresented groups know how to...spot red
flags. For example, if a hiring manager uses great DEI talking points but has no other DEI position
or record, it's a red flag for diverse talent who may have already experienced being tokenized, burdened,
objectified, or otherwise treated in a dismissive fashion at companies with nonexistent or
untested DEI programs. "
10 OUTDOOR RETAILER / August 2021
" Honesty is the best policy. If a company
has not yet started on a comprehensive DEI
path, it should say so with self-awareness, "
Let's grow together: As your organization
diversifies its talent pool, remember that
people like Pattie Gonia are working hard to
shape the future. " It's just about time we realize
that the outdoor industry isn't going to save
us. Instead, we need to champion what the
diverse outdoor community is doing to move
the outdoors forward-because we are making
our own future, " she/they says. " With that
said, I will always welcome the outdoor industry
to come alongside the outdoor community
and support us if it's done with deep relationship,
authenticity and utmost trust. "
This is the invitation. Now, cultivate a genuine
desire to grow-together.
Find out more here:
* LGBTQIA+ Outdoor / Enviro Job
Board: led by Pattie Gonia.
* Outsiders Network: an outdoor talent media
hub reinventing the image of people in
the outdoors by shining a headlamp on the
diverse ethnicities, gender identities, and
adaptive abilities. Led by Origin Agency
and Holly Fraser, overseen by an advisory
panel representing the media hub. Includes
community reinvestment initiatives.
* In Solidarity Project's Job Board: for underserved
communities in the outdoor and
travel industries, led by Teresa Baker.
* Basecamp: Outdoor Jobs: where the
outdoor industry networks; led by Jenna
Celmer and Ali Carr.
* Career Outdoors: resources community
led by Olivia Deihs. Job board launching
Courtesy Dani Reyes-Acosta
Outdoor Retailer - August 2021
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