Episode 18: Jen Gurecki - Using Business as a Tool for Radical Change

Jen Gurecki.jpg

About Jen:

Jen Gurecki is the co-founder and CEO of Coalition Snow, a women’s ski and snowboard company designed to deconstruct the status quo. Simply stated, Coalition makes women’s skis and snowboards that don’t suck. #sisterhoodofshred 

She also founded Zawadisha, a social enterprise whose mission is to provide small loans to rural Kenyan women to finance their livelihoods. Zawadisha’s model is soundly pro-poor, pro-woman, and pro-environment. #investinwomen

In 2018, Jen cycled across the continent of Africa, where the idea for Sisu Magazine was born. Jen serves as the Editor for Sisu, a quarterly mag whose mission is to uncover the untold stories of the outdoors. #gritandguts

Jen has a master’s degree from Prescott College and dropped out of their PhD program when she realized that being a CEO was more productive than being a grad student. She’s been featured in Outside Magazine, Huck Magazine, and most recently Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs. Spends her evenings recording the podcast Juicy Bits and reminiscing about the time she turned down an offer from Bodie Miller to buy Coalition Snow on the television show Adventure Capitalists.

Hey friends! Welcome back to the Balanced Pursuits Podcast! This week’s guest is Jen Gurecki, the co-founder & CEO of Coalition Snow, a women’s ski and snowboard company designed to deconstruct the status quo. We have a very raw and honest discussion with Jen about the state of the outdoor industry & how to use business as a tool for radical change.

Jen is not shy about sharing her opinion on how we, as a society, can do better for marginalized communities. She’s committed her career to this work not only through Coalition Snow, but also through Zawadisha, a social enterprise whose mission is to provide small loans to rural Kenyan women, and Sisu Magazine, a quarterly print publication whose focus is to uncover the untold stories of the outdoors.

Also, I’d like to make a special shoutout to our male listeners today. Kristi and I didn’t start this podcast with the intention of focusing exclusively on female empowerment, but it’s a theme that seems to turn up quite often. I suppose it’s because it’s the world in which we live and it’s close to our hearts. In our eyes, this is not just a conversation to have with women, but with all people. So guys, thank you for being a part of the conversation and being a part of the change.

In this episode we explore:

  • Turning a void in a market into opportunity

  • How business can be a tool for radical change

  • Why not preparing can sometimes be a key to success

  • When Jen first got the call to step into women’s advocacy

  • The difference between being “nice” and being “kind”

  • How solar lamps elevated the lives of Kenyan women

Tweetables:

“I didn’t know that much, so I just did it.”

“Being naive sometimes can be such a blessing because you do things that, if you knew everything, you wouldn’t do.”

“Business can be a tool for radical change.”

"I like to think about life as a series of choices and what’s behind the next door.”

“I never think about the practical side of things, but I think that that’s served me relatively well so far, so I’m just going to keep going with it.”

“Service is the rent you pay for life.”

“We’re having conversations about things that there’s no definitive answer to. And how interesting is that? To question the concept of fact and to question the concept of knowledge.”

“We have to be very careful and very discerning between what is a marketing message and what is true change.”

Resources: