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Donna Carpenter: First Lady of Snowboarding


Video: Burton Girls Winter Preview

Donna Carpenter is paving (or ‘boarding) the way for women in the snowboarding community. Not only is she a mother, wife, and business owner, but she is a positive role model for women who want to “tear it up” on the snowy trails.

Donna began the global operations for Burton Snowboards, the company she has owned with her husband Jake since 1982. She also functioned as the Burton CFO for three years until she took ten years off to raise the three Carpenter sons. With the assistance of her good friend the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), Donna opened a specialty food store, Harvest Market, which she owns to this day.

As a renaissance woman, Donna still finds time to empower others. In addition to pioneering Burton Girls, the creative outlet for Burton riders and employees, she championed the opening of over 30 Learn to Ride centers for women worldwide. In addition, she and Jake created the Chill Foundation in 1995 to expose less fortunate children to snowboarding.

Donna is our icon this week because she’s bold, driven, and entrepreneurial among many other valuable traits. In a New York Times autobiographical write-up from December 2012, Donna wrote that success is not about her and Jake, but it’s about the snowboarding community. If that’s not altruism, I don’t know what is.

Even though she’s older now, she still snowboards. She says, “People have this idea that snowboarding is only a young person’s sport, but that’s not true. Our older customers still snowboard and teach their children. Riders don’t stop snowboarding and become suits; they continue in the lifestyle.”

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