Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 17

THOUGHT LEADER

Higher Purpose
The new CEO of the American Alpine Club,
Mitsu Iwasaki, has learned a lot about people,
vulnerability, and what really matters, thanks
to a life of adventure. By Doug Schnitzspahn
Name: Mitsu Iwasaki
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Company: American Alpine Club
Founded: 1902
Location: Golden, Colorado
Downlow: Mitsu Iwasaki moved from Tokyo to Bellevue, Washington,

when he was 6. At 17, his parents sent him by himself to Alaska to
work on fishing boats to " toughen me up " as preparation for adult
professional life. He soon realized that the mountains were his home,
and he began a lifetime of dedication to personal adventure and
mentoring. In fact, he first joined the American Alpine Club in 1997,
when he was climbing in Chamonix. His passion for the mountains
indeed led to a professional career: Iwasaki has worked for Big City
Mountaineers and served as executive director of both Northwest
Outward Bound School, where he turned around an operation that
was losing money, and the Mazamas. In June, the American Alpine
Club announced Iwasaki would be its next chief executive officer,
replacing longtime leader Phil Powers. Moving into the role in the
midst of the pandemic, Iwasaki has a plan to look forward to more inclusivity while upholding the long history of the organization.
When you think about it, most of us are not athletes. We're runners;
we're skiers; we're climbers. How do we embrace the whole person rather than just one sport that we may be doing?

Courtesy of Mitsu Iwasaki

The climbing community doesn't have, at least from my perspective,
a national organization that is leaning into some really difficult conversations-equity and inclusion are the obvious ones, but we also face a
lot of mental health issues. But, honestly, we have a lot of reflection in our
space, and what's really exciting to me is to be able to take this organization and convene the climbing industry and communities to have these
conversations. I think we have a real opportunity to create movement.
I don't necessarily need to climb hard things or see what grade I can
get to, or just find life anymore. I just enjoy making beautiful movement, really aesthetic climbs, and close friends. At this point, it's about
my relationships with climbing partners, staying in touch, and supporting each other throughout our lives.

Mitsu Iwasaki

As a man in this world, I was taught not to be vulnerable and not to
share my feelings in public. That's all quite wrong, at least for me. It's
okay to fail at things and to be vulnerable.
I worked on fishing boats in Alaska for four seasons. It created a
need in me for big, grand adventures and wild spaces. Climbing became the way I fulfilled that need.
I think we get in the way of ourselves most of the time, whether that
be the anxieties we have in our regular lives, or work, or at home, or the
narratives we created when we were kids (or even continue to create as
adults). When we're climbing, a lot of that stuff doesn't matter.
One of the things we're not doing yet when it comes to equity and
inclusion is sharing power. It's not just about having differences in an
organization. If we really want to get to equity and inclusion, the people
who are in power today can actually step aside, and people who have not
been empowered can fill those roles.
Inspiring people is not about the transaction; it's not about measuring performance just based on transactional and objective measures. It's
okay to be inefficient. It's about creating more joy, and it's about creating relationships that are meaningful, whether that's with employees or
with numbers or with customers. What's the point otherwise? O.R.

February 2021 / OUTDOOR RETAILER 17


https://americanalpineclub.org/

Outdoor Retailer - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - February 2021

Outdoor Retailer - February 2021
CONTENTS
THE PULSE
HEADLINES
BIG PICTURE
CASE STUDY
IDEAS
THOUGHT LEADER
THE WEEKLY CHAT
OUTDOOR RETAILER WINTER ONLINE
SIZE MATTERS
BREAD + BUTTER
GEAR GALLERY
HOT PICKS
COUNTER CULTURE
THE VIEW
FIELD NOTES
#SHOPLIFE
BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Outdoor Retailer - February 2021
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - CONTENTS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 6
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THE PULSE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - HEADLINES
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 10
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - BIG PICTURE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - CASE STUDY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 15
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - IDEAS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THOUGHT LEADER
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THE WEEKLY CHAT
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - OUTDOOR RETAILER WINTER ONLINE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 20
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 21
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - SIZE MATTERS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 24
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - BREAD + BUTTER
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - GEAR GALLERY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 30
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - HOT PICKS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 34
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - COUNTER CULTURE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THE VIEW
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 38
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - FIELD NOTES
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - #SHOPLIFE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Cover4
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