Outside Business Journal

Pocket Outdoor Media Signs Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, Welcomes New Board Member

OBJ's new parent company has committed itself to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones has joined the board


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Pocket Outdoor Media, the Boulder-based group that acquired OBJ and several other active lifestyle publications this year, has become the latest company to sign the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, joining Marmot, Burton, Eddie Bauer, Moosejaw, and dozens of others committed to furthering inclusion within their organizations.

What the Pledge Means

The Pledge, founded by activist Teresa Baker, “connects leading outdoor brands with inclusion advocates to advance representation for people of color across the industry.” By signing the Pledge, executives commit to crafting a specific set of actions for their companies, with four main goals:

1. Hire and support a diverse workforce and executive leadership.

2. Present representative marketing and advertising in media.

3. Engage and support broadly representative ambassador and athlete teams.

4. Share experiences with other leading brands.

The Pledge also commits signatories to tracking their own progress, sharing regular updates with the Pledge Steering Committee, and holding themselves accountable to outlined goals.

Pocket Outdoor Media’s signature was accompanied by comments from CEO Robin Thurston, who wrote, “When diversity is celebrated and inclusion valued, we can inspire outdoor participants to do the activities they love, more often with greater enjoyment, inspiration, and knowledge.”

Dhani Jones Joins the Board

On Thursday, the company also announced that Dhani Jones—entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former NFL linebacker—has been elected to the board of directors. A lifelong athlete, founder of BowTie Cause, and chairman of Qey Capital, Jones will offer strategic guidance to the company as it continues its expansion in the active lifestyle and outdoor sports media markets.

“All the sports represented by Pocket—cycling, running, climbing, these passions in the great outdoors—were in my life way before football,” Jones told OBJ this week. “People know me because of my involvement in the NFL, but this world represented by Pocket is the world I lived in before I even picked up a football. I competed in triathlons. I raced mountain bikes. I worked in bike shops. This culture has been a part of me my whole life.”

A former host of TV shows Dhani Tackles the Globe and Adventure Capitalists, Jones brings creative expertise and a knowledge of the media and active lifestyle markets to his role as board member.

“Dhani’s years of experience as an athlete, entrepreneur, media personality, and all-around adventurer uniquely position him to help us on our mission to inspire people to do the activities they love with greater enjoyment and knowledge,” said Pocket Outdoor Media CEO Robin Thurston in a release announcing Jones’s election.

Jones is excited to foster collaboration and a “cross-pollinating growth mindset” among the company’s family of properties, which includes OBJ, The VoiceYoga Journal, Ski, Backpacker, VeloNews, Climbing, Women’s Running, Triathlete, Better Nutrition, Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, Clean Eating, Fly Fishing Film Tour, IDEA Health and Fitness Association, Muscle & Performance, Nastar, National Park Trips, NatuRx, Oxygen, PodiumRunner, Roll Massif, Vegetarian Times, VeloPress, VeloSwap, and Warren Miller Entertainment.

“So many of our properties have a legacy and a devoted audience,” Jones said. “In the past, those audiences were siloed into different brands, but now we’re bringing them together in one inclusive mindset. These brands are more powerful together, more powerful as one. That takes courage from a leader like Robin, but if we can do it, it gives us an opportunity to effect change. We have an opportunity to free people from their daily routines and improve their lives.”

Jones will join Thurston, John Spinale, Rafael Ortiz, and John Lee on the board, working alongside advisors Chris Yu and Melanie Strong.

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