Meet the Women Leading the Outdoor Industry

Portraits of five powerhouses you should know about

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Photo: Emily Reed

Sue Rechner, president, Merrell

Rechner joined Merrell in early 2017 after stints with Victorinox and Confluence Outdoor. She’s focusing on bringing the Michigan hiking-shoe brand into new territory. In an interview with FootwearNews in 2018, Rechner said, “We want to own the trail and express how it’s for everyone.”

Photo: Emily Reed

Joanna Tomasino, category manager, Mammut

Mammut is an industry leader in technical mountain apparel. Earlier during the show, we covered its implementation of a new reflective Gore-Tex Pro fabric into a women’s hard shell. Tomasino heads up select apparel and footwear collections for the Swiss brand’s North American market.

Photo: Emily Reed

Alison Hill, managing director, LifeStraw

LifeStraw launched in 1994 after the Carter Center, a humanitarian organization, commissioned its parent company to develop a water filter that could remove Guinea worm larvae, for use in Africa. Five years later, when Hill joined the company, she helped bring the technology to the outdoor industry, where it’s become a staple in hikers’ packs.

Photo: Emily Reed

Shelma Jun, founder, Flashy Foxy

In 2014, Jun created an Instagram account called Flash Foxy to celebrate the crew of hard-charging New York women she’d been climbing with. After gaining thousands of followers, she cofounded the Women’s Climbing Festival. We interviewed her for the Outside Podcast earlier this year.

Photo: Emily Reed

Kelli Jones, founder, Noso

Like most of us at one point or another, Jones experienced that awful feeling of tearing a hole in a pricey piece of technical apparel. So in 2015, looking for a more effective repair strategy than a roll of duct tape, she created Noso patches: swatches of nylon that stick well and feature creative patterns. We’re fans.