We are all on a journey at Brooks—a collection of people with unique backstories, talents and dreams, yet united by a common belief that a run can flat out change a day, a life, the world. We know the Run is why many people come to work at Brooks, and once on the team, we hope that shared values, connection with coworkers, rewarding work and opportunity will inspire them to stay.
Recently, Brooks CEO Jim Weber pledged to help advance women’s leadership at our company and the within the running industry by signing the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition’s (OIWC) Pledge which ensures gender diversity is a strategic, visible priority within the outdoor, snow, bike, and run industries. In addition to embracing the goals and vision set out in the OIWC CEO Pledge, Jim and Brooks leadership tailored the pledge to fully address success within our culture. You can read the whole pledge here, but the highlights are that Brooks is formally committing to gender diversity throughout the organization with a focus of helping women advance their careers.
Separate from the CEO Pledge, Jim was also elected to OIWC’s board of directors where he’ll contribute his business expertise and passion for the run.
Want to learn more about Brooks’ OIWC Pledge and our commitment to gender diversity? Read below for a Q&A with Jim and Anne Cavassa, Brooks Chief Customer Experience Officer.
Jim Weber, CEO
Diversity takes many forms. Why a big focus on women?
It’s important to me personally, but the pledge is about the long-term strength of Brooks Running and the industry, addressed through gender diversity. Brooks is stronger when the whole industry is stronger, and one of the ways that happens is by tapping into a strong pool of diverse talent. Our leadership team currently could be more diverse, but with this pledge, we actively seek to change that.
What are your thoughts on diversity generally at Brooks and your outlook on diversity in the industry?
The industry does need to work on other aspects of diversity, not just gender diversity. The Brooks OIWC CEO Pledge is primarily about half of our population, women for now. But we know that’s only part of the story. Brooks and others in our industry continue to make investments in recruiting from, and marketing to, an increasingly multicultural market.
So what’s next? How does Brooks and companies like it move forward and make change?
These are not new topics to Brooks, but we need to progress faster on creating concerted focus on how to go after it. I am working with my leadership team now to develop actionable and measurable plans supporting our CEO Pledge focus areas. Work is underway—we’ve introduced flexible work constructs, self-managed PTO and leadership development plans including identification of opportunities that are assessed for men and women proactively. Now it’s about creating good outcomes over time as we grow and develop our organization. We should be measured by our results over time.
Anne Cavassa, CCEO
Why is it important for Brooks to make this pledge and take a stance on this issue? Why is there a need to take this issue on now?
While we are making progress when it comes to gender diversity within Brooks’ leadership team and the industry overall, there’s much more to do. This isn’t something that’s solved and done—it’s a journey and we need to increase focus and keep at it. I’m really excited and proud that Brooks has taken the OIWC Pledge and to get to be a part of the road ahead.
Why an OIWC-led CEO Pledge?
OIWC has been an advocate for women in the active outdoor industry for nearly 20 years. They’re deeply rooted in our industry and are backed by many outdoor companies, which puts them in a great position to help drive the workforce culture we’ve been talking about. They’ve grown beyond advising women into advising companies. They promote our industry to women who might not be thinking there are careers for them in the outdoors or, more specifically, in run. The OIWC Pledge makes total sense for Brooks and, we believe, for our industry overall.
Why do you think the outdoor and sports industries need to take a deliberate look at diversity, in this case at female representation?
I don’t think the industry is intentionally biased, but old stereotypes and vestiges persist of how to advance in one’s career. It’s important to be purposeful about making sure we’re reaching out to a diverse talent pool and welcoming, engaging and celebrating a broad variety of perspectives and energies.