When Arc’teryx asked for the women of the outdoor community to share what being an active outdoor woman means to them by sharing photos, stories, and by telling them about a woman who most inspires each of us as individuals…we answered! The #defineFEMININE campaign brought in more than 1200 nominations of inspiring women to take part in a week long trip in British Columbia. And four of these incredible women were invited to Arc’teryx’s backyard to experience Quadra Island.
We’d like to introduce you to the four women who took part in the 2015 #DefineFEMININE trip, through the nominations submitted on their behalf.
I cannot think of a more inspiring, passionate, adventurous and courageous woman than Megan. In the four and a half years I have had the pleasure of getting to know her, she has never stopped surprising me with her ability to draw the very best out of people and situations. Her younger years were spent in her home town of Cranbrook, BC, where she gained a great enthusiasm for the outdoors, respect for the environment around her and a keen interest in making a difference. Her friends and family who knew her as a young girl describe her having a reckless curiosity and disregard for the ‘dolls and dresses’ stereotype. Growing up in a small town enabled her to define herself from the countless adventures available and the environment she grew so fond of. Looking to venture into the unknown, Megan enrolled at the University of British Columbia as a Biomedical Mechanical Engineer and quickly found that Vancouver was the perfect place to call home for someone as adventurous as she is. Unlike many in the program, she didn’t let her academic life get in the way of the mountains, often finding herself on the top of one of the many surrounding peaks, excited to climb, ski, hike or slide down. Near the end of her degree, she co-founded a rehabilitation science start-up company developing bracing technology to aid in recovery from traumatic, lower body injury. With the large majority of her classmates being men, Megan raised the bar both academically and recreationally while reaffirming what it means to be a woman engineer. I met Megan at UBC and haven’t had a chance to look back yet. Her enthusiasm for life took us both to Europe for 8 months to complete internships in Germany and Switzerland. It would have been easy to immerse ourselves in our work but Megan wouldn’t accept that. Each weekend brought a new adventure and the biggest smiles you can imagine. In what seemed to be a short trip, we climbed five of Switzerland’s 4000m peaks, rock climbed in four different countries, skied in four, mountain biked in two, and hiked in three. Even a full ACL rupture on a 5 day ski traverse (that ended in a shiny red helicopter) couldn’t keep her from her passion of exploring. In her mind, it just marked the transition from ski season to climbing season. I can honestly say that trip was the best experience of my life, one that would not have happened without Meg leading the charge; a sentiment I know that others share with me. Megan is now a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working to develop decentralized agricultural waste to biofuel conversion units. For us laypersons, she is using her engineering genius to make the world a better place for years to come while facilitating basic needs for people in developing areas. Even though she has found East coast life to differ geologically, she has still managed to find the very best of climbing, biking, skiing, paddling, surfing, sailing and beach volleyball. By taking advantage of the prestigious reputation of MIT, she has found herself evaluating the newest wetsuit technology surfing the waves of Taiwan, touring the Specialized bike factory in San Francisco and learning Hindu culture from the Indian farmers whom hope to benefit from her thesis project. There are few people who have had such a significant influence on my life. Her motivating, energizing attitude is infectious and has led her, and many other unsuspecting people, into many life changing experiences and places. Her enthusiasm for life and adventure is contagious and I have seen firsthand the positive influence she has on so many around her. She makes tomorrow not just another day, but another adventure that you cannot wait to take part in. So what is my definition of feminine? Inspiring, genuine, accepting, passionate, audacious, brilliant, full of life, beautiful. In a word, Megan.