Our #WCW this week is Jen Gurecki. After year s of hearing women complain about gear that didn’t serve their needs, she decided it was time for ladies to take matters into their own hands and co-founded Coalition Snow. She’s bold, fired up and super rad. She’s extremely passionate about social justice issues, including this recent TEDx talk called “Rethinking the Paradigm of Poverty.”
What is your day job? I’m the CEO of Coalition Snow, the world’s first company pioneering the future of adventure and lifestyle for women through high performance outdoor equipment and apparel designed by women, for women. When I’m not hustling for Coalition, I am building Zawadisha, a social enterprise based in Kenya that provides small loans to women to help finance their livelihoods.
Favorite Hobby/Sports Snowboarding, obviously. I’ve been at it for more than 20 years and it still makes me smile from ear to ear. I also am training for African Spokes, a 6,500 km bike ride across Africa, so I also must love cycling. And if drinking whiskey counted as a hobby, I’d have to add that to the list as it’s part and parcel to any outdoor adventure.
Who has inspired you lately? Why? I’m inspired by all of the ordinary women who have been telling their #MeToo stories. It takes an incredible amount of courage and strength to publicly talk about how weak men have impacted our careers and personal lives. It’s exciting to see a culture shift happening right in front of us as a result of women using their voices and claiming their power. Obviously we run the risk of backlash and swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction, but it finally feels like the real situations that women have faced for so long are being taken seriously.
Who do you hope to inspire? I hope to inspire women and girls who are afraid of speaking their truth, being themselves, and standing up for what’s right because they are afraid of what other people will think of them. Women have always been so accommodating to other people, often time at a detriment to themselves and to society as a whole. Ideally I can lead by example and show women that if you act and speak from your values and with integrity, people may not agree with you, but often times they will respect you. And if they don’t, they aren’t worth your time anyways.
How do you #liveboldly? I’ve never been afraid to take risks and live a life that feels true to me. To my parents dismay, I own nothing (which is liberating and scary at the same time) because I’ve spent my life banking experiences. I’ve heli-skied in Alaska, summited Mt. Kenya a few times, and rafted down the Colorado River for a month in January. I’ve started businesses like Coalition Snow and Zawadisha that have allowed me to travel the world. I have a global community of such close friends that I feel like I could hop on a plane tomorrow and start so many new lives so easily. Sometimes I lose sleep over how terrifying all of this can be, particularly starting a new company like Coalition, but then I realize that my worst fears — like the company failing and I eat out of a dumpster — will never happen because of my community.
What are you most excited for in 2018? I just turned 40, so for me this next year is really about laying the foundation for the next stage of my life. Riding my bicycle from Nairobi to Cape Town really speaks to my passion for the outdoors and adventure and how I want to live my life. Society tells you that single woman with no children in their 40s are destitute for loneliness. I’m excited to rewrite that narrative with an experience that will certainly leave a lasting imprint on my life. I cannot wait to slather my nether regions in buckets of chamois cream and contemplate my life and this world while peddling across the continent of Africa.
Personal: @yogurecki on Instagram and on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/jengurecki Coalition Snow: @coalitionsnow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Zawadisha: @zawadisha on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter