West Marine, America’s leading retailer of supplies for the sailing, boating, and fishing communities, continues to embrace and promote women within and to the marine industry. In a typically male-dominated sector, West Marine’s two new female executives are inspiring change by creating an environment in which women have more opportunity to participate professionally and recreationally.
Traditionally, women have represented a smaller segment participating in water sports. Recent industry studies show that the tides are changing, and women are finding passion within the world of water now more than ever with more female captains, more women boat owners and more females working in the maritime industry. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation‘s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing Report said that 19.4 million women went fishing in 2021, up from 2019.
As a brand with boaters serving boaters, West Marine recognizes the need to incorporate more diversity within the industry and is the place for any boater to go for expertise, convenience, and exceptional products. The company’s new Chief Commercial Officer Stacey Renfro, who comes to her role with a personal passion for boating, is helping to lead West Marine’s growth strategy. She is broadening the company’s omni-channel focus, redefining its customer experience, and transforming the brand – all with inclusivity in mind as part of her approach.
“For anyone who dreams of being on the water, we are making it convenient and fun for them to get involved,” Renfro said. “We are expanding our assortment of exceptional products and focusing on providing expertise that you simply cannot find anywhere else. We are hyper-focused on creating experiences that turn our customers into raving fans,” said Renfro.
West Marine is promoting diversity within the industry as well. A diving and boating enthusiast, Cheryl Miller, who was added earlier this year to West Marine’s C-Suite as chief financial officer, will be a featured panelist at the first-ever “Women in the Industry Summit” on Sept. 26, 2022 from 4:30 to 5:30pm. Cheryl will share her perspectives as a female leader in the industry alongside other executives from a variety of marine segments including boat, engine, and component manufacturers.
The Women’s Summit event hosted by Soundings Trade Only magazine is a pre-session event held in conjunction with The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference in Tampa Sept. 27-29.
“It’s thrilling to see the influx of women who are excited about boating and fishing. Reaching them is a part of our overall strategy of serving the boating community better than anyone on the planet,” Miller said. “Our mission is more water, less hassle. We want to make the water accessible to everyone, and that includes women, men, and people with diverse backgrounds from enthusiasts to pros, hobbyists, and newcomers,” said Miller.
Earlier this year, West Marine created an inaugural Women Making Waves event series in partnership with RBFF’s consumer-facing brand, Take Me Fishing. West Marine hosted free interactive classes with female “Wave Makers” to help increase female participation in fishing and boating.
About West Marine
Founded in 1968, West Marine is the leading integrated, omni-channel provider of aftermarket products and services to the boating, fishing, sailing, and watersports markets in the U.S. With 236 physical locations across 38 states and Puerto Rico and two eCommerce platforms reaching consumers and professional customers, West Marine is recognized as the leading resource for cruisers, sailors, anglers and water sports enthusiasts. West Marine uses its scale, product breadth, and expert field crew members to service all the needs of consumers seeking an exceptional on-water experience.