My Company: Neil Fiske

CEO, Eddie Bauer, #19

Swimming through paperwork     Photo: Photograph by Hugh Kretschmer

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When I first arrived here, in 2007, I wanted to take Eddie Bauer back to its roots as an outdoor company. The feedback I got was mostly skepticism. People were like, We've heard that before. The company had this amazing 90-year history, but they'd been through this period where they didn't think it was important. The archives were in boxes, scattered around Seattle. My first hire was a brand historian. That made people understand that it wasn't just rhetoric. There's just something about building a brand around the things that you love to do—it translates into a unique culture and motivation. When our First Ascent team summited Everest last May, you can't imagine how much excitement it generated in the office. We'd all had a hand in building the product. People felt like, Yeah, I helped put them on top of Everest.

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