Katie Hawkins has a simple answer for how she relieves stress as well as what makes her passionate about her career.
“Anything outdoors…,” she said. “The key to my success in the industry has always been my passion for spending as much time as possible outdoors.”
Featured this year on the cover of SnowSports Industry of America’s magazine among “Women to Watch,” Hawkins has brought her education to the outdoor industry. In addition to driving market growth, she pushes for awareness of female participation and women’s-specific products.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Washington State University; MBA, Sacramento State University.
I joined the outdoor industry in 2005 and currently serve Marmot as the company’s regional sales manager. In this role, I revel in leading the sales team in developing and executing growth strategies with the brand’s North American retail partners. I’m well-known for my creative sales strategies and campaigns that drive results for Marmot and the company’s existing — and new — retail partners.
While helping support all sales efforts, I have a strong gravitational pull toward building sales growth and brand awareness for the women’s-specific categories of gear, apparel and accessories at Marmot.
In 2013, I was awarded the prestigious First Ascent Award by the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition (OIWC) for being an upcoming leader in the Outdoor Industry.
Whenever possible, I do trail running, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, camping and yoga. I lives in Northern California with my husband, Chris, and two adventure-loving dogs, Dolly and Grizzly.
MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO
This has been a big year for me. In January 2016, I was featured on the cover of the SnowSports Industries of America (SIA) show daily publication as one of a select group of “Women to Watch.”
At that same time, I launched my personal blog (iamladyhawk.com). I launched this blog because I’m completely dedicated to using my experience in the outdoor industries to build partnerships, develop strategies for success to enable growth for our markets and to push the growth and awareness of female participation and women’s-specific products within our industries and to consumers directly.
Plus, I wholeheartedly believe in giving back and that’s what I’m committed to doing through my blog.
WHAT IS THE ACHIEVEMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I am incredibly inspired and proud of my family. I am so blessed to have such caring and supportive people in my life.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TODAY?
The outdoor industry is rapidly changing due to foreign exchange, global warming, and closures of retail locations. Brands have to restructure and face these challenges head on to create new and captivating go-to-market strategies to continue to bring growth to our markets and to drive participation in outdoor sports and recreation.
WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU: Authentic, generous, passion for adventure.
AS A SUCCESSFUL FEMALE PROFESSIONAL, WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU FACED AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
The biggest obstacle I’ve faced in my career has simply been about getting a seat at the table. Over the course of my career I’ve continued to work at obtaining the skill set needed to contribute in executive meetings and be a confident decision maker for my organization. However the most challenging part was getting invited to the meetings. Similar to Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg – if I wasn’t invited to the meeting, I would navigate my way into getting invited or just insert myself. Don’t make apologies for being a leader; your organizations success is dependent on collaboration and diversity.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR PROFESSION WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
Technology is a huge factor and will determine the success of outdoor and actively lifestyle markets. I believe in the next five years we will be completely digital in respect to how we communicate to our customers. The retail customer will look to brands not only to deliver quality products, but also want to create personal experiences with the brand. It will be a completely new playbook and I am so excited for this!
WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MENTOR?
The most influential and important mentor that I will ever have is my mother, Cheryl. One of the most respected leaders in her industry, she worked in corporate America for over 35 years and paved the way for other female executives. She instilled in me the importance of education, hard work, family, and being a confident female leader.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG WOMAN ENTERING YOUR PROFESSION OR THE WORK WORLD TODAY?
In order to make any decisions within your organization, you must understand the data. I strongly encourage young professionals to take additional classes in finance, accounting, and Excel. Being able to clearly communicate data driven decisions will ultimately lead to your professional success.
MOST ADMIRED BUSINESSPERSON OUTSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION: I strongly admire the 51st U.S. Secretary of the Interior and former CEO of REI Sally Jewell. Regarded as one of the most respected women in the outdoor industry, she almost single-handedly influenced the outdoor industry to focus on the next generation of outdoor stewards, who are diverse in race/ethnicity and in gender.
BEST PLACE TO WORK OUTSIDE OF YOUR OFFICE: On the trail, whether it is an early morning backcountry skiing in Lake Tahoe or mountain biking on Mt. Tamalpais with friends.
CURRENT READING: “The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks” by Terry Tempest Williams.
MOST WANT TO MEET: Passionate individuals, who serve their communities and lead authentically.
STRESS-RELIEVERS: Anything outside! Also, I practice yoga and meditation four times a week.
FAVORITE HOBBIES: I am at my best when I am in backcountry skiing, trail running, on my yoga mat, or mountain biking with my friends and family. The key to my success in the industry has always been my passion for spending as much time as possible outdoors.