Rossignol, Nikita and Susie English!

Susie EnglishWe recently caught up with Susie English, marketing manager for The Endorphin Group to learn more about her position and her insight on being a woman in the industry. Susie grew up in Park City, UT. Her dad is the Director of Mountain Operations for Deer Valley Resort so she was on skis as soon as she could walk and even earlier in a chest pack under her mom’s jacket. She still loves chasing her dad around the mountain and skis and mountain bikes with him as much as possible. Susie attended the University of Denver, so that she could stay close to the mountains. She majored in Marketing and Finance and spent all of her weekends in the mountains with friends skiing, hiking, mountain biking or climbing. More with Susie below.

How did you get involved in the industry? What about Rossignol?
Growing up in the industry I knew that I wanted to make a career for myself in the ski industry. After graduating from college I headed back to Park City and started a job as the communications coordinator at Deer Valley Resort, it was a great learning experience and the perfect gateway into a career in the ski industry. A year later there were rumors that Rossignol was moving to Park City so I reached out to the Director of Marketing and was so excited to hear that there was a Sports Marketing Coordinator position open. I interviewed and started with Rossignol over 5 years ago right when they moved the US head-quarters to Park City. I was so excited to be working for such an iconic ski company, the one I grew up on. From there, my position evolved and I took on and helped with several different aspects of Marketing for Rossignol hardgoods including budgets, athletes, partnerships, press and communications.

Over a year ago, when Quiksilver sold Rossignol, the Rossignol Apparel brand was licensed to a company called The Endorphin Group. In February, I started as Marketing Manager for The Endorphin Group, managing Rossignol Apparel and Nikita Marketing for North America. My current position is the perfect combination of all my passions; skiing, fashion, and marketing. It has been great to learn the apparel side of the business and because we are such a small, tight company, I am involved with every aspect of the business.

Susie EnglishAs the Marketing Manager, what does a typical day look like for you?
Every day in my world is different, especially now with both Rossignol and Nikita, but that is what I love about this job. A typical day consists of lots of emails; pitching story ideas to journalists and editors; sending samples to magazines and photographers for photo shoots; communicating with athletes for news and updates; emailing athlete news, most recent media placements, and other pertinent information to our Sales Reps; plan upcoming sales meetings; work with SIA on details for the upcoming show; work with our partners to produce selling tools for our reps; meet with our VP of Sales for weekly update and plan; review current budgets and begin planning for next year; send our designer product to stylist for placement on celebrities and much more. I try to fit in a gym session in at lunch and then in the summer get on my mountain bike after work. That’s what is great about our industry is everyone works hard but still gets out and plays! No day is the same and most are a little crazy, but it is so much fun!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love when I see someone out of the hill wearing one of our products. It is so exciting to know that all your hard work has translated into a sale at the retail level because that’s what it is all about. There are so many options for the consumer when they walk into a store so when you see them in your brand you know they bought it because they love it. So gratifying!

The other thing that still is so thrilling is when products get media placement. No matter if it is a small or large media outlet, print or web it is exciting to know that your product was chosen to be showcased and recommended to the reader.

What are some of the biggest lessons that you have learned in your career? Personally and professionally?
I have learned so much since starting in the industry, both personally and professionally. The biggest lesson for sure has been to have confidence in my ideas and knowledge. Being a young woman coming into this industry can be intimidating. It is so male-dominated and at a company like Rossignol there are men that have been running the show for more then 30-years. They have a lot to teach and I’ve learned to really listen and take it all in, but more importantly to have confidence in what I bring to the table as well. Being young and relatively new to the industry I offer a new perspective and new ideas.

I have also learned to be flexible; some ideas won’t work or won’t be liked. Be willing and able to make changes on the fly to ensure the best outcome, don’t take it personally, and learn from the experience. Getting involved with your community and giving back to others both at work and personally….it puts things in perspective quickly and forces you out of your box. Find what makes you happy and figure out a way to fit it into your job and life.

Susie EnglishWhat advice would you give to women who are looking to get in the industry or just started in a male-dominated industry?
It is a small industry and people don’t leave often so it can be tough. Get a college degree in something that interests you; design, marketing, business. It is important to have an education to compete in the current work world. You have to start somewhere in the industry so work retail, find an internship with a ski company, teach skiing, and get to know everybody and anybody. This will also give you an idea of what part of the industry you enjoy and want to make a career out of; resort, retail, or working for a ski company. If you’re passionate, work hard, and prove yourself, you’ll move up and create something that works for you.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for women in the industry? If any.
Women are the minority in the industry, but I think that is changing. Women control 85% of household spending and generally control the family recreation budget so it is important for companies to realize the need for women to drive the women’s market. It’s also crucial to develop women’s specific gear and messaging, because there is a huge opportunity there that is being overlooked by too many companies.

Susie EnglishWho are some people (male or female) today in the areas of business and/or entrepreneurship that you consider to be a role-model?
There are so many amazing people in the industry that I have learned so much from, but there are some women that come to mind first.

As a woman in the industry one of my role-model’s is definitely Donna Carpenter. I’ve only had the honor of meeting her a couple times but what she has done with Burton as a business and with women in the industry is amazing. She created the Women’s Leadership Initiative to help women, within Burton, to move up in the company, by setting up mentoring programs, listening to needs, and really focusing on making it a priority. Donna is an amazing leader and is a very influential woman in the industry.

Lynsey Dyer is not just a ripping big mountain skier. She is pushing and mentoring woman through her organization, She Jumps. She Jumps mission is to increase female participation in outdoor activities by building upon a supportive community that inspires its member to reach their highest potential. Lynsey has encouraged countless women and girls to be fearless and follow their dreams.

Coleen Reardon, the Director of Marketing at Deer Valley Resort, was my first boss out of college. She was my first strong woman role-model in the industry and I still think back on what I learned during my time at Deer Valley every day in my job. Coleen knows her product, who her consumer is, and focuses only on that. It is easy to get distracted and try to do too many things in marketing today but if you focus on who you are as a company and what you do best then you’re always going to succeed.

Overall feelings about the 2010/11 Season (industry/company)? Lows and highs? What’s up for this year? What are you most excited about?
We are coming off a great snow year and the stats prove that when it snows, people buy product. The hardest part of the 2010/11 season was the increases in production costs, which ultimately hurt margins for everyone. The collections look great for 2012/13 and we have some exciting new products coming down the line. It’s going to be a great year and I can’t wait for the snow to start flying!