Katherine Donnelly | 08.15.2018

As part of Outdoor Project's Women In the Wild series this summer, I have had the honor of working with outdoor women from all over the industry to dig a bit deeper into who they are, how they got to where they are now, how they approach the outdoors, and more. These women are all rad in their own right, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or how "badass" they might be. Whether they're mothers, daughters, sisters, professional athletes, beginners, weekend warriors, "instafamous," or anywhere in-between, their unique stories, journeys, opinions, and perspectives are incredibly valuable and insightful as Outdoor Project - and the industry as a whole - progresses and evolves to become more inclusive to every type of outdoors person. 

Through in-depth and often thought-provoking interviews, I hope to highlight these women's stories, their work, their adventures, and so much more with an eye toward giving them their well-deserved share of the spotlight while inspiring and empowering even more women to get outside!

In this feature we talk to Josie Gutierrez.

OP: Give us the skinny on who Josie Gutierrez is.

Josie Gutierrez: A young-at-heart mom and grandmother with a passion for exploring the outdoors. I love road trips that lead to new adventures. 

OP: When did you first know that you were going to spend your life in the outdoors?

Josie Gutierrez: I knew I enjoyed spending time outside, but it wasn’t until I became an Ambassador for Latino Outdoors in 2015 that I knew I wanted and needed more. 

OP: What does it mean to you to be a woman in the outdoor industry?

Josie Gutierrez: It is exciting and empowering. It is a wonderful time to be a Woman in the Wild. Outdoor companies are highlighting the female voice, and why not use that to our advantage? “We are women, hear us roar!” 

OP: What has the outdoors done for you, and how do you pay it back?

Josie Gutierrez: The outdoors has given me a place to be fully present mentally and physically. I just recently turned 50 "over the hill," as they say. Well, why not just go “over that hill” and around it and back again. The outdoors gives me space to continue to grow, and I pay it back by making sure I provide opportunities for others any chance I get. I am a Program Coordinator for Latino Outdoors and have been since 2015. This wonderful organization has given me a bigger platform to highlight events I put together in and around San Antonio. 

OP: Conservation and protection of our public lands are central themes in today’s outdoor recreation narrative. As someone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors and on public lands, what role do you think outdoor enthusiasts should play in this evolving conversation and landscape?

Josie Gutierrez: When I first started visiting parks, I realized very quickly that it was something I needed more in my life, and I could do my part on the trails or rivers. You can’t expect people to want to protect or care about something they know nothing about. The more they understand, the more they will want to protect our parks. I think one can never have enough conversations on conservation and the outdoors.

OP: Who has inspired you along the way?

Josie Gutierrez: My daughters as little girls and my daughters as adult women. I loved seeing their little faces playing on the river and exploring trails as children. They are now the strong women who tell me how proud they are of me as I head out on a new adventure. I can’t leave out my 7-year old granddaughter, who makes me feel ageless with her never-ending energy and wonderment in the wild.

OP: What does adventure mean to you?

Josie Gutierrez: A new challenge, trail or activity in the outdoors. Heck, the next 50 years will be an adventure for me, haha.

OP: What does the term "badass" mean to you?

Josie Gutierrez: Being fearless in life and letting your voice be heard.

OP: How have you managed to align your career with your passion for the outdoors? And do you have any advice for someone who is looking to do the same?

Josie Gutierrez: My career is not the outdoors because I never knew the outdoor space was a possibility to make a career. I make sure that the young kids at our outings understand that the outdoors can be their future. I volunteer with Latino Outdoors and dedicate our group to one outdoor activity a month, and more if allowed. I fulfill my passions on given weekends with our group and on any other weekend I am usually exploring with friends, family, or solo. For anyone looking to do the same, I would say check your local outdoor events and just start attending them. You will find your tribe and maybe even more.

OP: We are seeing a shift in what the term woman or female might bring to mind (LGBTQ), both in the outdoor community and throughout the world. What does being a woman mean to you? Femininity?

Josie Gutierrez: A woman to me is like a flower. She stands out immediately in many colors and shapes.

OP: What mantra or set of words do you live by?

Josie Gutierrez: “Love what you live.”

OP: In a perfect world, what does the outdoors (the people, the places, the community as a whole, etc.) look like to you? And what can outdoor brands and media companies, such as Outdoor Project, do better to help get us there?

Josie Gutierrez: I love seeing diversity in the wild. The faces, the colors, the shapes, the sizes, the language and the the cultured clothing. In a perfect world, everyone is happy in the outdoor space. A place for all to explore with no judgments. Outdoor brands should be more aware of changing this narrative and really become more inviting in the images that are shared and the clothing they brand.

OP: What is one thing that you never leave home without?

Josie Gutierrez: Hydration.

OP: Let’s talk gear - what are your thoughts on women-specific gear? Love it, hate it? Are there any companies out there doing it right? And how so? When does it matter to you most to have gear specific to women versus unisex products?

Josie Gutierrez: I look for gear that is affordable and comfortable regardless of the brand. I can’t say I have been too happy with unisex products. I do love shopping at REI for specific gear and they do have great sales. I love how they have incorporated more diversity in the way they are marketing. 

OP: What is the greatest piece of advice or direction that you’ve ever received, and what’s the story behind it?

Josie Gutierrez: Listen to your body. I ran my first full marathon in my 40s, and I really learned how to safely challenge my mind and body to complete the run. This has helped me on longer and harder hikes. When to push myself or slow down. Knowing what your body can do is empowerment.

OP: If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you were just starting out with Latino Outdoors, what would it be?

Josie Gutierrez: I came into Latino Outdoors with an open mind and a need to feed my flame for the outdoors. 

OP: In a world seemingly run by online personas, how do you approach social media, and how does it play into your lifestyle - both work and play?

Josie Gutierrez: I do what I love. I will only share and partake in activities that I feel align with me or what I represent. My persona on social media is me both at work and play. I manage the Latino Outdoor San Antonio Facebook page and take great pride in making sure our group has access to events locally. 

OP: What’s next for you in the coming months and years?

Josie Gutierrez: I always put into the universe where I would like to travel to and what adventures are next. So, more travels and growth in the trails I keep finding myself on. 

OP: The title of your autobiography would be...

Josie Gutierrez: Fifty, Fun and Into the Wild

OP: In your next life, you will come back as...

Josie Gutierrez: A butterfly. Small, pretty and free to explore the world.

OP: Tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows.

Josie Gutierrez: I tend to be a little clumsy at times.

OP: If our readers were to take one thing from this interview, what would you like it to be?

Josie Gutierrez: Be present in your own life and take moments to breathe as you continue to always take your soul on adventures.

Learn more about Josie and her work with Latino Outdoors here!


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