Tuesdays with KCO: Thoughts on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business

By Kristin Carpenter-Ogden

Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business is an annual list of the most effective female leaders at some of the biggest companies in the world like IBM, Pepsi, Yahoo and Facebook. We’re inspired by this list, yet yearning for inspiration from women with qualities that resonate closely with our outdoor-industry-minded passions: female bsuiness leaders who not only crush it in the office but whose lives are also inspired by, or within, the outdoors.

With a little editorial license, I’ve taken Fortune’s list and added three inspiring women from the outdoor, bike and snowsports’ markets. These ladies have-and-continue to build the framework for other women in our industries to emulate and aspire to become. We believe their passion and impact on the greater outdoor community is Fortune-worthy and here’s why.

Megan Tompkins, Publisher of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News:

Mtn Diva names most powerful women in outdoor business

Megan Tompkins. Photo courtesy of BRAIN

Among a sea of Y chromosomes, a highly technical product segment and industry exists that concurrently touches luxury, adrenaline, wellness and advocacy.

Meet the bicycling market.

As of August of this year, the leading voice of the global bicycling marketplace, Bicycle Retailer & Industry News (BRAIN), is now led by Megan Tompkins.

She’s only the fourth person to lead BRAIN, a 22-year-old publication and she shoulders a big job – leading the popular magazine into the digital era. After serving as editor of BRAIN and dipping into the cycling market’s private sector with Shimano and Specialized, Tompkins returned to BRAIN to further its steadfast editorial reputation, grow its reach and readership and create new partnerships and revenue streams for the well-loved title. She does all of this while maintaining one of Strava’s most impressive and enviable ride feeds (link below!).

Mtn Diva names most powerful women in outdoor business

Annelise Loevlie*

Annelise Loevlie, CEO, Icelantic Skis

There’s a saying among business leaders in the snowsports market: When it snows, we all look like geniuses!

Annelise Loevlie is a genius even when it doesn’t snow. She’s worked to shepherd Icelantic Skis, one of the industry’s scrappiest, coolest and fastest growing hardgoods brands, to global status during a swath of time that has included drought, recession and a fast-changing retail environment. On Nov. 6, she was promoted to CEO of the company, replacing Icelantic founder Ben Anderson, who will now lead Icelantic as Chief Branding Officer.

She’s been with the brand since its inception in 2005, held as many leadership roles as the small company had to offer, and has been instrumental in growing Icelantic to 160 storefronts in North America and to 14 countries worldwide.

In ski hardgoods, product is king and Icelantic Skis came out of the gates fast and hard with killer product and a fantastic brand, from the performance angle and the style points side, thanks to Denver artist Travis Parr. In her spare time, Loevlie serves on the Snowpsorts Industries of America board of directors and helps the state of Colorado with its branding campaigns.

*Photo of Annelise courtesy of Jason Blevins and the Balance Sheet blog, Denver Post. 

Jill Layfield, CEO, Backcountry.com

Mtn Diva names most powerful women in outdoor business

Photo: New York Times

There’s actually no blueprint available to Layfield, who leads the largest e-commerce entity in the outdoors markets during a time of precipitous change in how consumers engage with and ultimately buy from brands. She’s continued to further Backcountry.com’s reputation as the pioneering e-tailer in the outdoor active lifestyle spaces  while successfully leading a team of 750 employees at Backcountry.com.

Jill is keeping it real for Backcountry.com, the entity that continues to be nimble and relevant to what could be the MOST finicky group of consumers:  The core enthusiast.

Core enthusiast denotes an outdoor athlete devoted to his or her sport – this enthusiast has a myriad of choice when it comes to researching and buying their kit and gear. Backcountry.com continues to grow amongst this group because the company understands merchandising and it literally pioneered peer community. Staying relevant and top-of-mind to this consumer is no easy task; it’s a changing and moving target from hour to hour and day to day.

Jill also spearheaded the successful acquisition of Competitive Cyclist in 2012 and serves as a mentor within Liberty Media (parent company of Backcountry.com) and as a role model to MANY women in the outdoor market. Aside from being CEO of Backcountry.com, Layfield is a rock climber and avid outdoors enthusiast, the mother of two small children and a wife.

Additional Resources:

Posted in Tuesdays with KCO | Tagged: Annelise Loevlie, backcountry.com, BRAIN magazine, Fortune magazine, Icelantic skis, Jill Layfield, Megan Tompkins


Kristin Carpenter-Ogden

Founder, CEO