M - How as B4BC transformed since 1996?
In 1996, B4BC was started as a snowboard and music festival. The intent was to be this year-round educational outreach, it was more meant to be one “big bang” of all the things they could pull together. It was such a hit when they did it, that it became an annual thing. Lisa Hudson, Kathleeen Gasperini, Shannon Dunn, and Tina Basich were part of the original founding crew and they realized they had something real and wanted to make it bigger. That’s when we started getting involved in other events and really expanded the outreach. <Podcast 1:20>
M – How did you pull off building a youth facing brand around a topic that is so off-putting to them? There are a lot of brands that spend millions of dollars each year to try to do what B4BC has done.
I wish I could take credit, but I think they did an incredible job of making that transition. What really made a difference at that time was that the industry was so young and it was all of their best friends who were running all the other brands that they partnered with. I think that because the organization had so much heart, it really resonated with people in a way that made them want to get involved. This was such an important issue that touched so many people, that it was easy for them to make connections with those brands and get incorporated into different campaigns. Then other brands started coming to them to partner on product to benefit B4BC. I think that really helped elevate it at that time. <Podcast 6:30>
M – What makes B4BC’s connection to youth culture unique against all the other youth-oriented non-profits? There are a lot of breast cancer non-profits these days.
I think there are a lot of things that make us unique, youth culture being one of them. Breast cancer awareness and research is a massive industry, but unfortunately not as many organizations are talking to young people that are not only effected by getting breast cancer at a young age, but very effected by people they know getting cancer. They are really drawn to that outlet. The fact that we live in their space by being onsite at all the events, you see that instant connection with them. There are a significant number of people who are drawn to the booth because they have that connection, but no one has presented it in that way where they’ve felt comfortable talking. People really resonate with that. It gives them an outlet to further explore how they feel about it or want to act on it. <Podcast 8:45>
M – How did you go about choosing a pathway, that for so many, could seem daunting?
I do think it was kind of a unique path that I set out on. But I’ve always loved action sports. I’ve always been a snowboarder and a wakeboarder, these are things I grew up with and identified more than anything and things I didn’t necessarily know would lead to my career path. In college, I studied pre-med, I was planning to go to med school or physical therapy school, but I was so burnt out by the end of college that I decided I needed a year off to do what I wanted. I moved to Tahoe with a few of my close friends, I was teaching snowboarding, a snowboard patroller, just taking a step back and doing what I loved before what I considered was going into the “real world”. While I was up there, I started seeing that this lifestyle I was living and loving could turn into a career for me.
One of the events I saw was Boarding for Breast Cancer’s Shred the Love event at Sugarbowl, where I was working. I absolutely loved everything they were doing. It was this really cool feeling of feeling so attached to a non-profit that was in this industry, doing something that made an impact, with such a good cause behind it. At the same time, it was in this world I was living in. A little later, I moved back to LA and immediately reached out to them and wanted to get involved. I started volunteering and eventually it kind of grew into the position I am in now. <Podcast 15:30>
M – What’s the biggest challenge you face as a female in a male-dominated industry?
There are always challenges working in such a male-dominated industry, but I feel I am extremely lucky in the work environment we have created. Our organization is very female-focused and female driven. Although it is a male-dominated industry, a lot of individuals see us for what we are and try to elevate us. On more of a personal level, it’s harder, but I was lucky doing to participate tin action sports with my family. I see a lot of my female peers who never really had that opportunity and don’t think of action sports as an option to them. That’s challenging to see to other women feel like they don’t have the same opportunity. That’s an ongoing problem, but I feel like a lot of companies are making huge strides. B4BC works with young girls to help give them that entryway. We try to reach out to that demographic. It’s not only the lifestyle, but that passion for action sports, that really resonates over a lifetime. <Podcast 22:45>
In a world full of non-profits, it can be hard to stand out, but Boarding for Breast Cancer stays the course and delivers valuable information to people who need it most. To find out more info or to get involved, head to b4bc.org