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These four women rose to the top of the multisport industry, and they share ways you can too.
This article was originally published in the July/August 2013 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.
Last year, women made up 36.6 percent of USA Triathlon members. That’s a 10 percent increase in female participation since 2000, but women still have a way to go until they can rival male involvement in the sport, both on and off the course. Four women who are leading the charge share their thoughts on how ladies can take over the triathlon industry.
Ironman Hawaii race director
When Diana Bertsch first watched the Hawaii Ironman in 1990, she was entranced. “I immediately thought, ‘I have to do that one day,’” she says. Since then, Bertsch has not only raced Kona, but also volunteered, served as assistant race director, and, starting in 2003, worked as head honcho. Every year before the big day, she reads to her team a popular Teddy Roosevelt quote (the one that begins, “It’s not the critic who counts”) that can also be used as inspiration for women achieving their professional goals. “It’s basically saying, ‘Get in there and go for it!’” Bertsch says. “Because it doesn’t matter what other people are saying. At the end of the day, it’s just about believing in yourself and knowing that anything is possible.”
Owner of All3sports.com
When Morgan Clark and her family bought Atlanta’s All3sports.com in 2008, she knew she’d have doubters. “When I first started, I know people thought, ‘This girl’s daddy bought her this tri shop, there’s no way she’s gonna work,’” Clark recalls. But she let the criticism go in one ear and out the other. “I just put my head down and started working, and I think people saw that,” she says. Since Clark took over, All3sports has boomed, signing big-name pros including Andy Potts, opening a brand-new, 5,800-square-foot retail store and winning “Top Triathlon Retailer” three years in a row from Triathlon Business International. “There’s a place for women in this industry for sure,” Clark says. “Let’s take over!”
If you think Sram Red is the greatest thing that ever happened to your bike, you can thank Chris Raymo. A design engineer since 1996 for the component giant, Raymo was the project lead for the technical development of this award-winning groupset.
“The bike industry in particular is very male-dominated,” Raymo says. She makes it a point to meet with other women in her field once a month to pool resources and discuss the challenges they face in the workplace. Raymo’s advice to other women who hope to thrive in typically male-dominated careers: “Be fearless. Be yourself and go after those things that you want. Don’t let others’ expectations intimidate you. When I was younger, I was afraid I’d make a mistake I could never overcome, but sometimes the failures move your head more than the successes. Have all of the experiences you possibly can so you can learn about where you really want to be, where you truly fit and what truly makes you happy.”
CEO of Enve Composites
In 2010, the Harvard Business School grad left the pharmaceutical industry to work for carbon fiber component manufacturer Enve and never looked back. “I realized very early on that I just needed to be myself and not try to be a man,” Lehman says. “We bring a lot of great attributes to the table just by being who we are.” As for finding that elusive balance between work and family, Lehman recommends looking at life as a book. “The whole book needs to tell a good story, but there are individual chapters that are not balanced,” she says. She took three years off when she had her third child, then went back to work with no regrets.
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