Here’s the beginning in 10 seconds or less: Katie Boué is an outdoor advocate, public lands representative, public speaker, freelance writer, social media expert, and a beautiful boss woman who was raised in Miami, Florida. (She can’t ever imagine living in a place that flat again.) Katie has become a powerful positive force in protecting public lands through tireless education to inspire more of us to become involved in cherishing and saving our national open spaces.
Without further ado, here’s a cool interview:
"After college, I bought a big yellow van and spent a year on the road going to places to climb. Spending a whole year climbing all over the country was the coolest thing I could have imagined. It changed my life. It was the catalyst for everything; where I found myself and my purpose.
After the road trip, I moved to Denver, Colorado and took a part-time job with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), which was really a dream come true. I was introduced to the OIA Government Affairs Team; I went to Washington DC to knock on the doors of Senators, and I had a fire lit beneath me.
I’ve since gone freelance and made a commitment a few months ago that if work isn't directly about advocacy or tying into sustainability then I'm not going to do it. That, of course, cancels out a lot of work opportunities with bigger brands, so I was nervous. But what happened was within 24 hours I had a speaking engagement and several inquiries from more sustainability-focused clients, so I took it as a direct sign."
What fires you up about policy work?
"I love being on the ground, I love being in DC. I think something I can bring to the table is that I'm a good storyteller, and stories related activism need to be told in a wider way. If you are a climber, hiker, casual camper, all the policy stuff that’s going on today is directly affecting you, and our daily life choices can be an active form of positive protest.
With every dollar you spend, you are choosing to make a statement about whatever you're supporting. When you buy your beauty products, your health care products, are they natural? Are you supporting sustainable supply chains?"
What is your most memorable experience in the advocacy realm?
"During a four-month road trip with OIA in 2016, I was in Joshua tree, sitting in this cafe with a co-worker and we got an email from the Government Affairs Team. It said, 'Hey we know you're in Cali, Obama just announced he is going to give a speech on outdoor recreation in Yosemite. Can you be there tomorrow?'
We canceled everything and drove seven hours. We just said, ‘Whatever it takes, we are going to do this.’
We were kinda brainstorming on how to cover the event on social media, and someone jokingly tossed out ‘Why don’t we call it, #ElPrezatElCap?’ And I really liked it!
We ended up making it a hashtag campaign and a number of outdoor brands joined in. We got the North Face and Adidas and heavy-hitting outdoor athlete celebrities to post about it. It was by far the biggest campaign OIA has ever had at the time. The White House caught wind of the hashtag and reached out and said, ‘We want climbers to do a take over on the White House Instagram.’ We reached out to Jimmy Chin, Sasha Diguilian, Alex Honnold, and others. I told them, ‘If you want an everyday person, as well, here's my photo for consideration,’ and they used it!
That was the first moment—standing in the meadow hearing Obama quote economic statistics about how important the outdoor industry is—that I understood the power social media can have around advocacy and outdoor policy. That was the most memorable moment.
I really feel that my purpose is to work on outdoor advocacy, build community, be a decent human that takes care of our planet, and breathe in as much fresh air as possible in the process."
You can follow Katie Boué @katieboue on Instagram, and on her blog at The Morning Fresh.
Photo cred for Cover Photo: Johnie Gall