It’s always exciting to have another snowboarding season in full swing, especially with so much momentum behind women, both in the sport and within the Burton family. Not too long ago, we held another women’s leadership day for the women of Burton in Vermont. Now, we’re proud to have just celebrated our first Women’s Leadership Day at our Innsbruck office.
The event was an opportunity for our European crew to get together and hear from keynote speaker, Olympian, and Burton pro rider Kelly Clark.We also worked on developing personal mission statements that, at Burton, we refer to as our Stance. It’s an exercise that enhances our awareness of personal strengths and values, and sheds light on how each of us can leverage these to progress our careers and achieve our goals.
Her speech acknowledged the snowboarding community’s ability to fill a human need to belong, and concluded with a couple of her keys for success, such as focusing on her legacy. In her words, this means asking herself how she can leave the sport better off for having participated in it, and acknowledging that this requires a shift from askingwhat can I get to what can I give?
Kelly had such an incredible season last year, taking home a bronze at the Olympics and earning her 7th US Open title. When she referenced her contest experience, she called out the difference between surviving situations versus thriving in them, and distinguished between having potential and being prepared. She also shared her perspective on motivation—that in order for it to be sustainable it must be internal—and the importance of letting go of disappointment. One example she talked about was being at an external event like the Olympics and how it can never be considered a destination. She said, “Because burnout comes from unmet expectations, moving on from disappointment is critical to our success.”
In true Kelly fashion, her closing thoughts demonstrated maturity and sage-ness beyond her years. She described the moment that she knew she had become a leader: when she started thinking more about others than herself. These thoughts resonated with me as we moved onto a team dinner and riding together the following day, because I truly feel this is one of the advantages women have in leadership. Kelly noted that men have the opportunity to make space for women to grow, think, and lead. But it’s women’s incredible sensitivity, emotional intelligence, and capacity for selflessness that positions us so well for leadership.
It’s been amazing to witness Kelly’s growth over the last decade, and to see her calm confidence grow from a deep and resilient belief in her ability to achieve her goals. Kelly is constantly raising her own bar and pushing the sport for the future generation of women riders, and I can’t wait to see how her passion for snowboarding and life inspires the amazing crew of women that work at Burton.
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