Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content

Inaugural Specialty Run Career Event Forges New Connections

Published on | RIA | News & Updates

Charlotte Running Co. (CRC) partnered with the Running Industry Diversity Coalition (RIDC) to host Find Your Path: Running Industry Career Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 15. The event offered community members a chance to explore the running industry, discover its wide range of career opportunities, and potentially secure a new job.
RIDC Career Summit

The inaugural RIDC event that took place at CRC’s Dilworth location included a free morning 5K with For the Girls, sponsored by Hoka, followed by a breakfast and panel discussion featuring representatives from brands and organizations within the running industry, particularly those committed to supporting inclusion and diversity, discussing the ins and outs of starting a career in this industry. Find Your Path also included resume reviews, interview training, and networking opportunities allowing participants to learn about current job openings.

CRC Co-Owner Harry Chandler, who is an RIDC retail subcommittee member and Vice President of the RIA board, shared his insights about the event and its significance.

Why did you help make this event happen?

I believe in what it stands for. Also, I understand that I need to be a resource, not treating people just as data or numbers. Consistent efforts are necessary to shine light on the disparity of BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) representation in specialty run, and to help the unacquainted understand our industry and career possibilities in it. I also loved that it was in conjunction with Juneteenth, a holiday that honors and acknowledges the freeing of nearly 250,000 slaves on June 19, 1865.

Please describe diversity in the running industry.

The term "diversity" checks a box optically and tends to be misused. Equitable accessibility and the reworking of systems, procedures, and practices is the real work. Tell me your mission and I'll confirm it by what your organization has in print and practice. We can organically achieve well-rounded representation and create an inclusive and safe work environment in our industry by challenging the status quo and knowing that what was is not what has to be.

How did you put this event together?

The team at the RIDC dreamed this whole thing up and because of our commitment to our local community and the initiatives they saw in Charlotte, they asked Charlotte Running Company to join as a partner and co-host for the first Find Your Path Career Summit. We have so many great friends and relationships in our industry that when the call went out, the response was a resounding, "Yes, how can we help?" I was so proud of my friends locally, regionally, and nationally, and all of the brands that called and asked to help. Our planning and efforts made an impact on June 15th, 2024 and I do believe that the team at the RIDC saw the fruit of our work and that this event will take feet and travel. Stay tuned.....

What is important for retailers to know about organizing a career summit?

Start out by asking your collective: what is our goal? What is our mission? What are we looking to do? Who are we looking to affect? Be sure that you are in alignment on these things and that you consider your direct community and the bigger picture. CRC and the RIDC have so many parallel beliefs and foundational pillars that it just made sense and the process was enjoyable and one that we easily learned from. There will be some unknowns that come about; just be willing to pivot and be open to perspective, trusting that your team and planning committee understands the mission and that the end goal has not changed.

What made your event successful?

By the close of day, CRC had scheduled interviews, and attendees had made connections with brands at local, regional, and national levels. New networking opportunities were inked into calendars, and participants left with new-found inspiration, motivation, and for! One of our panelists ran her first 5K in years.

What were your biggest takeaways from the day?

Always be mindful of the community you serve and how you choose to connect with them. Consider how you intend to care for them before making any strides to do so. Is it genuine? Can it be maintained? Is my heart where it should be and am I the right person for the job? Honesty and transparency with myself about the purpose of this summit made it easy to remove myself and highlight attendees as the true resource. The industry needs new representation. It's an audience we don't have and would never be able to reach. Change is a requirement if we want to see specialty run grow and be sustained.

Will you be doing the event again next year?

If I am lucky enough to be involved in the planning and development of the Find Your Path Summit, it will happen next year, the year after and the year after that.

Some content and resources may not be visible because you're not logged in. If you are a current member, use the login form below. Not yet a member? Join today!