LEADER SERIES: Panel Discussion Recap

On June 14, Windrose Coaching Founder, Greer Van Dyck, moderated a panel discussion with seasoned leaders and rising stars of the outdoor recreation economy. The event was ideal for early career professionals preparing to emerge as outdoor recreation economy leaders—or for established industry leaders in search of meaningful professional development programs for their teamsIf you missed it, don’t worry—you can still watch the full presentation and discussion.

The panel explored topics related to working in the outdoor industry, from leadership and professional development experiences during a worldwide pandemic to setting boundaries and finding balance. In addition to the valuable insights and advice shared by the panelists, Oregon State’s Meredith Morrice presented information about the new Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy and the University's outdoor programs, including its Outdoor Industry Leadership Certificate.




Lisa Gaines |Director of the Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University


On balance and self-care: “There's always this idea that if you're stressed out, if you’re busy, you're doing well. If you are working 60 hours a week, you're doing well. And I think that's the biggest myth that could possibly happen. We burn people out, people get frustrated, they get unproductive personally and business-wise. ... I believe that taking time to yourself—if that's a two-hour or three-hour lunch one day, go for it—whatever's going to help you feel that you could actually be a productive human being. So that's how I started to think about professional development—create your whole self to be able to do the individual aspects that you want to do.”


Mary Rondepierre |Product Line Manager, Patagonia

On shifting priorities: “I'm really proud of the wamary.rond-1y Patagonia has approached professional development in the last 18 months. It hasn't been continued education to improve the employee's job performance per se. The sole focus has been equipping employees to be anti-racist and to become a more just and equitable organization. And it's clear to me now, stepping back, that the work that we've been doing as an organization has actually led to a more creative, compassionate, leader-based environment. It's putting us on a more focused path of our mission of saving our home planet. It's been really incredible.”


Zavier “Zavi” Borja |Program Director, Vámonos Outside | Inaugural Leadership Cohort

Zavier Borja

On creating more seats at the table: “DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] is inherently a part of my work. There are all these different [experiences in the outdoor recreation economy] that I'm very grateful for and blessed to be a part of. Where can I create space for other folks within this? … The outdoor sector is very multifaceted. How can we help people experience these different opportunities that we have within our sector at large?”


hilary headshot cropHillary Sager | Destination Development Manager, Travel Oregon | Inaugural Leadership Cohort

On professional development in the times of COVID: “I was going through the outdoor industry leadership program at OSU at such an interesting time. I started in September of 2020. … When it came to thinking about leadership opportunities, I could only see how the pandemic was going to be a setback for my professional development. But as I went through the program, I was sort of forced to start thinking about myself as a leader in my current role. And with my current responsibilities, I really started to realize that, you know, leadership is more of a mindset. It's, it's an action, it's not a job title.”


Mike Wallenfels | SVP Global Sales, Helen of Troy 

Mike-Wallenfels-Headshot[1](1)On compassionate leadership in times of crisis: “I coached my team to always ask—what are the important things you need to get done? What's most important for you, what's most important for your team, and then what's most important for the job that you're doing today in order to get where you need to go? And we had to reset goals to be realistic. We threw the goals out, readjusted them, and said, ‘Hey, this is what is going to be the next focus.’ And people appreciated having a humanistic approach to it—that they didn't have to be superhuman.”


Don’t miss the rest of the insights and advice our panelists shared during the session. The full video is available now. 

Meredith Morrice

Written by Meredith Morrice

Meredith is the Center's Strategic Engagement Manager

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