Today, more than 60 CEOs of leading outdoor companies will announce that they are signing a pledge to lead an industry-wide effort to ensure that the full range of people who have a passion for the outdoors feel represented and welcome, outside.
We, the leaders of REI, fully support this aspiration and effort. We believe the outdoors are for all and we commend the commitment that our colleagues in the industry are making. That’s why we are proud to stand with our industry partners to let our employees and members know that we are all in.
This is not new territory for REI. Since its founding in 1938, the co-op has always worked to awaken a life-long love of the outdoors in more people. And, in recent years, we have invested more focus in those for whom outdoor culture may not feel as welcoming.
- Supporting, scaling and learning from leading national organizations like GirlTrek, Latino Outdoors, and Outdoor Afro, as well as outdoor groups like 52 Hike Challenge and Unlikely Hikers
- Reframing how women are represented in outdoor media and setting out to make the outdoors “the world’s largest level playing field” through our Force of Nature efforts
- Investing in research to help veterans and others experience and embrace the transformational and healing power of the outdoors
- Elevating stories about adaptive outdoor life
- Supporting marriage equality and opposing actions taken in some parts of the country to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community
- Participating in annual Pride events in cities across America, supporting an active Outside with Pride employee group and bringing Pride merchandise to market for the first time
- Investing in inclusion training for all 14,000 employees, seeking to raise awareness of implicit bias and the negative effects it can have in the workplace and beyond
These are just some steps in a far broader journey to a reality where everyone has the opportunity to be themselves, to access opportunities and to find their place in the outdoors. We acknowledge that this aspiration is not the reality today for everyone. Systemic bias and its legacy in outdoor culture have led to barriers to participation—and it’s our job to help break them down.
If you have any question about the need to do this work, just read or watch some of the stories REI has told in the past year or so:
Each of these stories illustrates that this work is never done. That is why each of us, both in our roles at REI and as individuals in society, supports the CEO Outdoor Equity Pledge. Each company will tackle the challenge of driving more diversity, equity and inclusion in its own way. At REI, that means:
- Investing in work that removes the barriers underrepresented communities face to getting outside
- Delivering relevant products, experiences, and expertise to equip and inspire a new generation of outdoor stewards
- Cultivating a workforce that reflects the demographics of the markets we serve
- Leading the industry’s efforts to welcome people and communities historically underrepresented into outdoor media and culture
Co-operation helps us to achieve more, faster. We look forward to continuing our work together on this important effort. We believe the health and sustainability of our industry depend on it.
The leaders of the REI Co-op,
Jerry Stritzke, President and Chief Executive Officer
Eric Artz, Chief Operating Officer
Rick Bingle, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain
Leslie Garrard, Vice President of Experiences
Raquel Karls, Senior Vice President of Human Resources
Curtis Kopf, Chief Digital Officer
Rachel Ligtenberg, Vice President of Retail
Chris Putur, Chief Information Officer
Tim Spangler, Senior Vice President of Retail
Chris Speyer, Vice President of Co-op Brands
Ben Steele, Chief Customer Officer
Mark Stoddard, Vice President of Merchandising Planning, Inventory and Solutions
Rebecca Straka, Vice President of Information Technology, Enterprise Technology and Shared Services
Dan Shull, Vice President of Information Technology, Commerce and Experience
Alex Thompson, Vice President of Brand Stewardship and Impact
Susan Viscon, Senior Vice President of Merchandising
Wilma Wallace, Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Tracie Winbigler, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer