Watch: Discussing Racial Diversity In Snowsports
On Wednesday, July 15, Henri Rivers, CEO, President and Founder of Drumriver Consultants and President of the National Brotherhood of Skiers hosted a virtual panel “Discussing Racial Diversity in Snowsports,” which brought industry leaders and participants together for a frank conversation about the current landscape of racial diversity in our industry and to begin to talk through ways we can create a more inclusive community.
“We reached out and looked for organizations that are already making a difference and with whom we can better partner with,” opened Tiger Shaw, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, in explaining the origins of the panel. “I say better partner because we were already, let’s say, lightly engaged, but only lightly. How can we leverage our influence and how can we get our athletes and 35,000 members more involved? … How can we get more proactive and leave behind the passive, the lightly engaged, which is driven by a not-much-we-can-do attitude. We can make a difference and we are committed to making a difference.”
Tiger opened, sharing that U.S. Ski & Snowboard is far from diverse, and that the social unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd awakened the organization to the need to reevaluate its practices and influence in order to help affect change. U.S. Ski & Snowboard hosted this panel with the goal of sparking real conversation around issues of race and inclusion within the snowsports industry, to educate its membership and to provide a platform for the panelists to be heard.
Henri moderated, and focused on the key issues and challenges we face: how to attract more diverse populations to skiing and riding and how to welcome those who are already in the sport today. Snowsports Industries America Board Chair Wendy Carey shared her unique views, as did NSAA CEO Kelly Pawlak. Coach Forrest King-Shaw talked about raising his own ski racers and the adversity he has faced throughout his career, including being pinned to the ground by the California Highway Patrol near Mammoth, Calif. Former U.S. Ski Team member and now coach, Lauren Samuels talked about her experience as being female and black in a seeming opposite world. Schone Malliet and Constance Beverley discussed their extraordinary organizations that bridge the gap to bring underrepresented kids to skiing and riding.
So what’s next?
We realize at U.S. Ski & Snowboard that this will be a long process. Internally we are revising and refining our diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and programming. Externally we will continue to engage with the panelists who joined us for this discussion, as well as others, to create meaningful partnerships and leverage our position as a leader in the snowsports space. Working together as a whole industry is how real change will be affected.
This is the first in a series of events U.S. Ski & Snowboard will host on the subjects of diversity, equity and inclusion as we continue to engage our industry partners and participants. Future events will be communicated when details are available.
For more information on the panelists and their organizations:
Henri Rivers (moderator)
CEO, President and Founder, Drumriver Consultants
President, National Brotherhood of Skiers
Henri Rivers is a native New Yorker and an avid skier and outdoor enthusiast for over 45 years. He is a professional ski instructor, certified master teacher and children’s specialist as well as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard alpine coach, jury advisor, referee and official. He coaches in the alpine race program at Windham Mountain in the Catskill region of New York.
Henri became involved with the National Brotherhood of Skiers in 1996 and has held many positions within the organization. He started as a club president and moved on to become the Mid-west regional competition director. In 2003 he became a coach for the national team of NBS and in 2008 was appointed the Olympic Scholarship Fund Administrator. During his tenure as OSF administrator he grew the national team to 15 athletes. In 2016 he was appointed the National Competition Director and in 2018 was voted in as the Executive Vice President of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. He served for two years and was elected National President of the NBS in March of 2020.
CEO, Share Winter Foundation
A former Wall Street lawyer turned winter sports activist, Constance Beverley joined the Share Winter Foundation as the CEO in 2017. Share Winter Foundation strives to improve the lives, health and fitness of youth through winter sports, and to create a more diverse and inclusive winter sports community. In addition to her work with the Share Winter Foundation, Constance has worked with other winter sports organizations including the Kelly Clark Foundation, SheJumps, STOKED, and Boarding for Breast Cancer.
CFO, Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc.
Chair of the Board of Directors, Snowsport Industries America
Wendy Carey is the Executive Vice President and CFO of Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc., a major manufacturer and distributor of cold weather apparel accessories. She serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Snowsports Industries America and sits on the Board of Directors for SOS Outreach. A native of California, Wendy is passionate about her family, being outdoors and being open. She is an avid soccer fan (and sat on the Board of Directors of the Peninsula Women’s’ Soccer League from 1990-2012), loves snow skiing among many other outdoor pursuits.
Coach & Staff Trainer, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows Teams
Forrest King-Shaw has over 20 years experience as a coach and instructor for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. He is a U8/U10 & Development Coach for the Squaw Valley Ski Team, a National Brotherhood of Skiers Scholarship Director and National Competition Director, a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Skillsquest Accredited Evaluator and a PSIA Examiner and Clinician. Forrest spends over 100 days in ski boots annually.
CEO & President, Winter4Kids
A Bronx, NY Native, Schone has a BA in Economics from Holy Cross College and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He was a Marine Officer and Pilot, CEO of Technology Companies in the Bay Area, and founder of the National Winter Sports Education Foundation. He is a Level 200 Coach, TD, a member of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Eastern Region Children’s Committee and is the CEO and President of Winter4Kids, which is embarking on its sixth season.
President/CEO, National Ski Areas Association
Kelly Pawlak started her career in the ski industry at Mount Snow Resort, VT in 1985 and served as general manager from 2005 - 2017. She has 30 years of experience at Mount Snow and held a variety of duties, including vice president of marketing and sales and vice president of resort operations. Pawlak served on the Vermont Ski Area Association board where she was chair until 2017. She also served on the Vermont Chamber of Commerce board, the Dover Planning Commission and Dover Development Review board. In November of 2017 she accepted a position at the National Ski Areas Association as president/CEO.
U.S. Ski Team (2009-2010); University of Utah Ski Team (2013-2017); FIS Level Club Coach, Team Gilboa Club (2019) and Rowmark Ski Academy (2020)
Lauren Samuels was born and raised in Minneapolis and learned to ski at age 2. She started racing with Team Gilboa out of Hyland Hills, MN, and developed as a ski racer until she was named to the U.S. Ski Team’s development team in 2009 after winning J2 Nationals Overall and Downhill titles. In 2011 and 2012 Lauren competed as an invitee to the U.S. Ski Team’s C Team racing on the NorAm and Europa Cup circuits. From 2013-2017 Lauren skied for the University of Utah’s NCAA Division 1 Ski Team and became a National Champion her senior year, during which she was Team Captain. She earned a B.S. in Athletic Training and completed her medical school prerequisites. After finishing undergrad, Lauren coached for 2 years at Team Gilboa and Rowmark. This September she will start a graduate program at the University of Oregon, studying Sports Product Management with the intentions of pursuing a career in the outdoor industry. Lauren is also a newly named member of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
President and CEO, U.S. Ski & Snowboard
Tiger Shaw, a two-time Olympian whose business career includes past positions at K2 and Volkl Skis, DealerWire, DealerTrack, and Global Rescue, joined U.S. Ski & Snowboard initially as COO in 2013, becoming CEO in March 2014. During his athletic career, he won nine U.S. Championship titles, regularly finished in the top 10 at World Cups and held top-15 world rankings in two disciplines. A 1985 graduate of Dartmouth College in economics and engineering, he was an NCAA slalom champion while racing for Dartmouth. Since joining U.S. Ski & Snowboard, he has served the USOC as Vice Chair of the National Governing Bodies Council (NGBC) and as a member of the NGBC Leadership Liaison Group, working with the US Center for Safe Sport.