After a one year COVID hiatus, one of the most unique and valuable gatherings of the run specialty industry took place earlier this month in Santa Barbara, CA, when empowerun welcomed 115 women – including retailers, vendors, advocates and guests – for the fourth edition of a meeting aimed at, as its website says, “Forging relationships and amplifying our point of view.”

“empowerun is a retreat that brings women together from across the run specialty industry for leadership training, networking and creating ideas to advance the channel,” explains Kathy Dalby, of Pacers Running and one of the organizers of the event. “The gathering serves as an opportunity for women in leadership to connect and discuss their unique experiences and seek ways to amplify our point of view in our organizations and industry.”

Panel discussions such as this allowed empowerun attendees to create ideas to advance the run specialty channel: (left to right) Megan Searfoss, Ridgefield Running; Melissa Worth, New Balance; Alison Mariella Desir, Oiselle, RIDC + Author; Anne Cavassa, Saucony; and Joy Hunt, Elite Feet. Photo: Baron Spafford/empowerun)

Over two days, these women from all aspects of the run specialty business engaged in workshops, panels and team-building exercises. What makes empowerun unique, Dalby points out, is that these attendees included everyone from young retail staffers to seasoned vendor presidents.

Photo: Baron Spafford/empowerun