Donna Burton Carpenter in the middle.

Donna Burton Carpenter may be best known as president and co-owner of Burton Snowboards and her work founding the European Burton sector in Innsbruck, but she also created a unique program called Women’s Leadership Initiative at Burton. Outdoor Retailer Trade Show and the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) have confirmed that Donna Carpenter will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 Winter OR OIWC Breakfast and Awards Presentation. This is a huge honor and something that brings the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show closer to action sports and vice versa.

The presentation will include some of Donna’s thoughts and ideas on women in workplace, the need for diversity, and how she has developed the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Burton. According to OR, Donna’s influence on Burton’s generous maternity and paternity policies, work-life balance and overall flexibility has helped the company grow and retain one of the most competitive and sought-after talent pools in the industry. For contributions like these, Transworld Business named her as one of Action Sports’ Most Influential Women of 2010.

Other sports should clearly take a look at how such methods have created a successful workforce, not to mention, perpetuated the industry as a whole. As we’ve noted about surfing, which struggles with sponsorship for women’s pro events, among other things, snowboarding competitions generally offer similar prize purses for top male and female competitors. In part, this is because snowboarding, a relatively “new” sport in comparison with surfing and many other sports, has always had women involved in creating and developing the industry—from the athletes to the designers, marketing and brand development.

The keynote breakfast will include an awards presentation, naming the 2011 Pioneering Woman Award and the 2011 First Ascent Award. The Pioneering Woman Award recognizes a “maven of mentoring,” and the First Ascent Award acknowledges an industry newcomer who demonstrates strong leadership potential. The breakfast and awards presentation will take place from 7 am-9 am on January 21st at the Marriott in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.