158: Kim Miller, SCARPA North America

“My belief is if you’re a CEO or a leader of a brand or an organization right now, and you’re not thinking about equity, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability, you might be missing two of the most important brand attributes that will carry you forward into the future with a much more solid and durable business and business culture.”

– Kim Miller

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Kim Miller, CEO of SCARPA North America and a revered friend of mine and client of Verde Brand Communications is our guest today on Channel Mastery. In 2020, Verde launched a regular monthly episode series featuring resources and solutions to ensure people of color are more comfortable identifying as part of the outdoors communities. Verde is committed to strategically using our reach and the reach of our clients to welcome a more diverse participant base into the incredible outdoor community. 

On this episode, Kim shares the initiatives SCARPA North America has made to ensure they’re continually thinking about equity, diversity, inclusion and sustainability. In early 2021, they launched the inaugural “SCARPA Stands for Guiding Growth – Athlete Mentorship Initiative.” The goal of the program is to connect and engage the SCARPA Athlete team with accomplished athletes from historically marginalized communities, who are aspiring to take their sport or career to the next level. 

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the new initiative, Kim’s past and the mindset for SCARPA’s future and how diversity plays a role in the outdoor industry, growing a brand, and creating a sustainable working environment.

TAKEAWAYS FROM THE EPISODE:

  • The Scarpa team launched a program in 2021 entitled, “SCARPA Stands for Guiding Growth – Athlete Mentorship Initiative.” The program is designed to connect and engage the SCARPA athlete team with accomplished athletes from historically marginalized communities, who are aspiring to take their sport and career to the next level.
  • Kim talks through the development of SCARPA’s Pillars of Principles or Pillars of Values – people, planet, principles and product.  
  • Now, more than ever, it is important for speciality businesses and brands to be vehicles of positive change. Kim shares how he and his team at SCARPA are ushering this type of positive and forward change.

GUEST PROFILES:

kim miller

Kim Miller is the CEO of Scarpa North America, a performance-driven and purpose-built backcountry skiing, climbing, hiking, mountaineering, trail running, and telemark footwear company.

TOPICS COVERED:

history of Kim Miller’s career, creation of Black Diamond Equipment, 2020 pivoting of SCARPA, strategic planning for 2020, leveraging community members and stakeholders to promote unity and growth, diversity in the outdoor industry, connecting with diverse groups, Kim connecting with his past, understanding the present and preparing for the future, Athlete Mentorship Program, race and culture of the outdoor industry

SELECT QUOTES:

“The first value that most people thought was the top of our minds was making great products. Well, that’s certainly true. But as we evolve through that, especially in these last decade or so, we’ve been thinking about how to make great products and then do other things. What a lot of people would say, what’s the value-added side of your business? What are the contributions, what’s going to be the legacy of Scarpa and of your work? And I used to refer to it as I have three things that are really important to me beyond just the products. I’m thinking about people, I’m thinking about places and I think about policy, and obviously, these are things that are bigger than us. I’m thinking about the wellbeing of the people, my colleagues, my company, or our people around the world. The thing about our people is the community, the outdoor industry. I think about it every day, I thought of you know, so much about places where really my way of saying we have to, we have to really protect the work on protecting the environment. We have to protect access. We have to do our work, we have to give back. And then the policy part came in at the end when I was being asked more and more to talk about policy, to be in places with people and represent and really speak my mind and, and try to work on the things that I thought needed to be changed, not just in our industry, but I’m talking about governmental policies and talking to lawmakers and senators, and it really cool experience that, that had been rolling along and, and working on it when I could.”

“So I have to say that it was a collective group of like-minded people inside our company, inside Scarpa America, inside Scarpa globally, inside our industry, inside our community, a lot of friends, a lot of people that I haven’t talked to for a long time actually. It took a lot. The first step was listening, really honest, listening, and leaving all of my thoughts and opinions and ideas aside for a moment just to, take the pulse of, what was going on around us and see if there was a consensus. Like, do you, my, my people, my friends, my peeps, my community. Do you see what I see? Do you think this would be relevant and would it help people?”

“The vision of this company is to do good things. All right. You’re in the people department, you’re in the planet department now go to work, and your departments, your little think tanks are about generating ideas, positive ideas, creative, positive ideas that will impact positive change. I mean, that was really where it started.”

“I was just a punk kid that wanted to be a climber and skier and by some miracle and the grace of God, I’m a leader in the outdoor industry. People are listening to me about the things that I think are really important. We have a great company here and it didn’t have anything to do with me being a person of color or an immigrant. It’s just part of who I am, but those things need to be recognized and celebrated more, but mostly they need to be propagated.”

“My belief is if you’re a CEO or a leader of a brand or an organization right now, and you’re not thinking about equity, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability, you might be missing two of the most important brand attributes that will carry you forward into the future with a much more solid and durable business and business culture.”

“I’ve always said, if you follow the sports, the business will come, which I truly believe now I’m going to expand that to, if you follow the community, the support will come. Then, the engagement will come.”

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