COMING SOON!

We're working hard to create a bigger and better CWA Summit in 2022! Details will be added as they're confirmed. Scroll down to view a sample of what we had in store in 2020.

 SAMPLE SESSIONS: 2020 CWA Summit

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EXPLORE THE 

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Click the session title to review details for each presentation that was slated to be offered at the 2020 CWA Summit.

LEADERSHIP

Beyond the Trend: Ensuring a lasting role for womxn in the climbing industry | Geneviève de la Plante & Flannery Shay-Nemirow, The Big Initiative


Description: When talking about womxn's issues, something we hear a lot is that they're "so trendy right now". But at B.I.G, we want to make sure that any changes that are brought about are real and that they have permanence. There are concrete steps that we can all take if we want to see more female route setters, head coaches and just more womxn in leadership in the climbing industry. We will talk about how positive that is for everyone, and how essential it is if we want to keep the coming generation of girls practicing sports after their teenage years. About the Presenters: Geneviève was introduced to climbing when the de la Plante family acquired Allez Up in 2003. She now co-owns Allez Up Climbing gyms in Montreal and Seven Bays Bouldering gyms in Halifax with her brothers. Geneviève is passionate about responsible management and recently founded The B.I.G Initiative, a not-for-profit project that champions for womxn in leadership roles in the climbing industry. Flannery has been climbing, sometimes competitively, for 15 years, specifically in the disciplines of sport and bouldering. While she's since stepped away from competing, she maintains contact with the scene by setting and forerunning high level national and international bouldering competitions. Flannery has gone on to gain her Level 4 USAC route setting certification, and continues to work with gyms across the country. Even though she has a deep connection to the world of plastic pulling, her focus tends to be doing hard boulders outside, where she has climbed multiple V12s. Flannery also worked coaching competitive youth teams on the west coast, and as a climbing specific bio-mechanical analyst in Boulder, Colorado.




Mentorship and Coaching: Building an Effective Team and Culture | Sam Thiara, Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting


Description: Is having an engaged work force important to you? Would you like to retain your employees? Have you gained experience in the industry that you would like to share? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the foundation to create a successful environment. The organization is a combination of your business, the culture you create and your employee wellbeing. How do you get them to all work together so that your business is thriving? Often times we hire employees, train them and then let them get to work. Selecting the right people is the start, providing the training, support and guidance is the part that sustains your business. Through stories, examples and best practices, Sam shares his insight and provides practical tools to support your business on mentorship, coaching, retaining employees, creating a strong culture and improving staff performance. About the Presenter: Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a coach, speaker, storyteller, writer, workshop facilitator, educator, and entrepreneur. His goal is to engage individuals in their personal and professional development. He has supported individuals, businesses and non-profits in how to be better placed and transformational. Presently, Sam is the Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting, a platform that engages his audience to define their path.




Employees as Stakeholders: Happy Employees = Successful Gym | Kristin Horowitz, Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing


Description: We'll cover some recommendations by luminaries such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, and the authors of Manager Tools. You'll learn how to communicate in what format and how spending time in effective meetings and on the phone instead of using email or text can transform your organization and empower your staff. We'll also cover: 1n1 meetings: who, what, and why; all-hands meetings: ground rules, format, and keeping things tight. About the Presenter: Kristin Tara Horowitz is COO of Ascent Ventures/The Pad Climbing and formerly the executive director of SLO Op Climbing. Previously famous for her tales of epics on RockClimbing.com, she now spends her days developing systems and working with her team to make them as happy and efficient as possible so that we can continue our mission of changing people's lives for the better. She believes that climbing and the accessory activities that go with it can be the key to happiness.




What Gets Measured, Recognized, Rewarded and Celebrated, Gets Done! | Andrea Bryan, Ph.D.


Description: Across industries, there is amazing commonality in the leading characteristics that make up best-in-class organizations. These companies begin with a mission statement, but ultimately their success shines through in company culture. Recognize that people are at the center of your strategy, no matter what industry you're in and that culture can be your competitive advantage to attract and retain the best talent. This session will cover the 10 Characteristics in Best-in-Class Organizations, instructions on how to kick-start your own culture program, and describe management principles that drive your team to do more and give you time for the new initiatives that may have been on the back burner for years. Come with an open mind! About the Presenter: Andrea Bryan, Ph.D., is a highly adaptable and prudent leader with a passion for leading teams through change and establishing a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Bryan has successfully led both technical and non-technical teams sized from three to 50 in situations as varied as building scientific instrumentation to global department restructuring. The leadership and culture programs she repeatedly put into practice measurably improves employee engagement and ultimately drives company value.





MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS

Beyond the Trend: Ensuring a lasting role for womxn in the climbing industry | Geneviève de la Plante & Flannery Shay-Nemirow, The Big Initiative


Description: When talking about womxn's issues, something we hear a lot is that they're "so trendy right now". But at B.I.G, we want to make sure that any changes that are brought about are real and that they have permanence. There are concrete steps that we can all take if we want to see more female route setters, head coaches and just more womxn in leadership in the climbing industry. We will talk about how positive that is for everyone, and how essential it is if we want to keep the coming generation of girls practicing sports after their teenage years. About the Presenters: Geneviève was introduced to climbing when the de la Plante family acquired Allez Up in 2003. She now co-owns Allez Up Climbing gyms in Montreal and Seven Bays Bouldering gyms in Halifax with her brothers. Geneviève is passionate about responsible management and recently founded The B.I.G Initiative, a not-for-profit project that champions for womxn in leadership roles in the climbing industry. Flannery has been climbing, sometimes competitively, for 15 years, specifically in the disciplines of sport and bouldering. While she's since stepped away from competing, she maintains contact with the scene by setting and forerunning high level national and international bouldering competitions. Flannery has gone on to gain her Level 4 USAC route setting certification, and continues to work with gyms across the country. Even though she has a deep connection to the world of plastic pulling, her focus tends to be doing hard boulders outside, where she has climbed multiple V12s. Flannery also worked coaching competitive youth teams on the west coast, and as a climbing specific bio-mechanical analyst in Boulder, Colorado.




Mentorship and Coaching: Building an Effective Team and Culture | Sam Thiara, Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting


Description: Is having an engaged work force important to you? Would you like to retain your employees? Have you gained experience in the industry that you would like to share? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the foundation to create a successful environment. The organization is a combination of your business, the culture you create and your employee wellbeing. How do you get them to all work together so that your business is thriving? Often times we hire employees, train them and then let them get to work. Selecting the right people is the start, providing the training, support and guidance is the part that sustains your business. Through stories, examples and best practices, Sam shares his insight and provides practical tools to support your business on mentorship, coaching, retaining employees, creating a strong culture and improving staff performance. About the Presenter: Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a coach, speaker, storyteller, writer, workshop facilitator, educator, and entrepreneur. His goal is to engage individuals in their personal and professional development. He has supported individuals, businesses and non-profits in how to be better placed and transformational. Presently, Sam is the Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting, a platform that engages his audience to define their path.




Employees as Stakeholders: Happy Employees = Successful Gym | Kristin Horowitz, Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing


Description: We'll cover some recommendations by luminaries such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, and the authors of Manager Tools. You'll learn how to communicate in what format and how spending time in effective meetings and on the phone instead of using email or text can transform your organization and empower your staff. We'll also cover: 1n1 meetings: who, what, and why; all-hands meetings: ground rules, format, and keeping things tight. About the Presenter: Kristin Tara Horowitz is COO of Ascent Ventures/The Pad Climbing and formerly the executive director of SLO Op Climbing. Previously famous for her tales of epics on RockClimbing.com, she now spends her days developing systems and working with her team to make them as happy and efficient as possible so that we can continue our mission of changing people's lives for the better. She believes that climbing and the accessory activities that go with it can be the key to happiness.




What Gets Measured, Recognized, Rewarded and Celebrated, Gets Done! | Andrea Bryan, Ph.D.


Description: Across industries, there is amazing commonality in the leading characteristics that make up best-in-class organizations. These companies begin with a mission statement, but ultimately their success shines through in company culture. Recognize that people are at the center of your strategy, no matter what industry you're in and that culture can be your competitive advantage to attract and retain the best talent. This session will cover the 10 Characteristics in Best-in-Class Organizations, instructions on how to kick-start your own culture program, and describe management principles that drive your team to do more and give you time for the new initiatives that may have been on the back burner for years. Come with an open mind! About the Presenter: Andrea Bryan, Ph.D., is a highly adaptable and prudent leader with a passion for leading teams through change and establishing a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Bryan has successfully led both technical and non-technical teams sized from three to 50 in situations as varied as building scientific instrumentation to global department restructuring. The leadership and culture programs she repeatedly put into practice measurably improves employee engagement and ultimately drives company value.





STARTUPS/BUSINESS FORMATION

Beyond the Trend: Ensuring a lasting role for womxn in the climbing industry | Geneviève de la Plante & Flannery Shay-Nemirow, The Big Initiative


Description: When talking about womxn's issues, something we hear a lot is that they're "so trendy right now". But at B.I.G, we want to make sure that any changes that are brought about are real and that they have permanence. There are concrete steps that we can all take if we want to see more female route setters, head coaches and just more womxn in leadership in the climbing industry. We will talk about how positive that is for everyone, and how essential it is if we want to keep the coming generation of girls practicing sports after their teenage years. About the Presenters: Geneviève was introduced to climbing when the de la Plante family acquired Allez Up in 2003. She now co-owns Allez Up Climbing gyms in Montreal and Seven Bays Bouldering gyms in Halifax with her brothers. Geneviève is passionate about responsible management and recently founded The B.I.G Initiative, a not-for-profit project that champions for womxn in leadership roles in the climbing industry. Flannery has been climbing, sometimes competitively, for 15 years, specifically in the disciplines of sport and bouldering. While she's since stepped away from competing, she maintains contact with the scene by setting and forerunning high level national and international bouldering competitions. Flannery has gone on to gain her Level 4 USAC route setting certification, and continues to work with gyms across the country. Even though she has a deep connection to the world of plastic pulling, her focus tends to be doing hard boulders outside, where she has climbed multiple V12s. Flannery also worked coaching competitive youth teams on the west coast, and as a climbing specific bio-mechanical analyst in Boulder, Colorado.




Mentorship and Coaching: Building an Effective Team and Culture | Sam Thiara, Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting


Description: Is having an engaged work force important to you? Would you like to retain your employees? Have you gained experience in the industry that you would like to share? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the foundation to create a successful environment. The organization is a combination of your business, the culture you create and your employee wellbeing. How do you get them to all work together so that your business is thriving? Often times we hire employees, train them and then let them get to work. Selecting the right people is the start, providing the training, support and guidance is the part that sustains your business. Through stories, examples and best practices, Sam shares his insight and provides practical tools to support your business on mentorship, coaching, retaining employees, creating a strong culture and improving staff performance. About the Presenter: Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a coach, speaker, storyteller, writer, workshop facilitator, educator, and entrepreneur. His goal is to engage individuals in their personal and professional development. He has supported individuals, businesses and non-profits in how to be better placed and transformational. Presently, Sam is the Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting, a platform that engages his audience to define their path.




Employees as Stakeholders: Happy Employees = Successful Gym | Kristin Horowitz, Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing


Description: We'll cover some recommendations by luminaries such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, and the authors of Manager Tools. You'll learn how to communicate in what format and how spending time in effective meetings and on the phone instead of using email or text can transform your organization and empower your staff. We'll also cover: 1n1 meetings: who, what, and why; all-hands meetings: ground rules, format, and keeping things tight. About the Presenter: Kristin Tara Horowitz is COO of Ascent Ventures/The Pad Climbing and formerly the executive director of SLO Op Climbing. Previously famous for her tales of epics on RockClimbing.com, she now spends her days developing systems and working with her team to make them as happy and efficient as possible so that we can continue our mission of changing people's lives for the better. She believes that climbing and the accessory activities that go with it can be the key to happiness.




What Gets Measured, Recognized, Rewarded and Celebrated, Gets Done! | Andrea Bryan, Ph.D.


Description: Across industries, there is amazing commonality in the leading characteristics that make up best-in-class organizations. These companies begin with a mission statement, but ultimately their success shines through in company culture. Recognize that people are at the center of your strategy, no matter what industry you're in and that culture can be your competitive advantage to attract and retain the best talent. This session will cover the 10 Characteristics in Best-in-Class Organizations, instructions on how to kick-start your own culture program, and describe management principles that drive your team to do more and give you time for the new initiatives that may have been on the back burner for years. Come with an open mind! About the Presenter: Andrea Bryan, Ph.D., is a highly adaptable and prudent leader with a passion for leading teams through change and establishing a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Bryan has successfully led both technical and non-technical teams sized from three to 50 in situations as varied as building scientific instrumentation to global department restructuring. The leadership and culture programs she repeatedly put into practice measurably improves employee engagement and ultimately drives company value.





BUSINESS GROWTH & EXPANSION

Beyond the Trend: Ensuring a lasting role for womxn in the climbing industry | Geneviève de la Plante & Flannery Shay-Nemirow, The Big Initiative


Description: When talking about womxn's issues, something we hear a lot is that they're "so trendy right now". But at B.I.G, we want to make sure that any changes that are brought about are real and that they have permanence. There are concrete steps that we can all take if we want to see more female route setters, head coaches and just more womxn in leadership in the climbing industry. We will talk about how positive that is for everyone, and how essential it is if we want to keep the coming generation of girls practicing sports after their teenage years. About the Presenters: Geneviève was introduced to climbing when the de la Plante family acquired Allez Up in 2003. She now co-owns Allez Up Climbing gyms in Montreal and Seven Bays Bouldering gyms in Halifax with her brothers. Geneviève is passionate about responsible management and recently founded The B.I.G Initiative, a not-for-profit project that champions for womxn in leadership roles in the climbing industry. Flannery has been climbing, sometimes competitively, for 15 years, specifically in the disciplines of sport and bouldering. While she's since stepped away from competing, she maintains contact with the scene by setting and forerunning high level national and international bouldering competitions. Flannery has gone on to gain her Level 4 USAC route setting certification, and continues to work with gyms across the country. Even though she has a deep connection to the world of plastic pulling, her focus tends to be doing hard boulders outside, where she has climbed multiple V12s. Flannery also worked coaching competitive youth teams on the west coast, and as a climbing specific bio-mechanical analyst in Boulder, Colorado.




Mentorship and Coaching: Building an Effective Team and Culture | Sam Thiara, Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting


Description: Is having an engaged work force important to you? Would you like to retain your employees? Have you gained experience in the industry that you would like to share? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the foundation to create a successful environment. The organization is a combination of your business, the culture you create and your employee wellbeing. How do you get them to all work together so that your business is thriving? Often times we hire employees, train them and then let them get to work. Selecting the right people is the start, providing the training, support and guidance is the part that sustains your business. Through stories, examples and best practices, Sam shares his insight and provides practical tools to support your business on mentorship, coaching, retaining employees, creating a strong culture and improving staff performance. About the Presenter: Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a coach, speaker, storyteller, writer, workshop facilitator, educator, and entrepreneur. His goal is to engage individuals in their personal and professional development. He has supported individuals, businesses and non-profits in how to be better placed and transformational. Presently, Sam is the Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting, a platform that engages his audience to define their path.




Employees as Stakeholders: Happy Employees = Successful Gym | Kristin Horowitz, Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing


Description: We'll cover some recommendations by luminaries such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, and the authors of Manager Tools. You'll learn how to communicate in what format and how spending time in effective meetings and on the phone instead of using email or text can transform your organization and empower your staff. We'll also cover: 1n1 meetings: who, what, and why; all-hands meetings: ground rules, format, and keeping things tight. About the Presenter: Kristin Tara Horowitz is COO of Ascent Ventures/The Pad Climbing and formerly the executive director of SLO Op Climbing. Previously famous for her tales of epics on RockClimbing.com, she now spends her days developing systems and working with her team to make them as happy and efficient as possible so that we can continue our mission of changing people's lives for the better. She believes that climbing and the accessory activities that go with it can be the key to happiness.




What Gets Measured, Recognized, Rewarded and Celebrated, Gets Done! | Andrea Bryan, Ph.D.


Description: Across industries, there is amazing commonality in the leading characteristics that make up best-in-class organizations. These companies begin with a mission statement, but ultimately their success shines through in company culture. Recognize that people are at the center of your strategy, no matter what industry you're in and that culture can be your competitive advantage to attract and retain the best talent. This session will cover the 10 Characteristics in Best-in-Class Organizations, instructions on how to kick-start your own culture program, and describe management principles that drive your team to do more and give you time for the new initiatives that may have been on the back burner for years. Come with an open mind! About the Presenter: Andrea Bryan, Ph.D., is a highly adaptable and prudent leader with a passion for leading teams through change and establishing a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Bryan has successfully led both technical and non-technical teams sized from three to 50 in situations as varied as building scientific instrumentation to global department restructuring. The leadership and culture programs she repeatedly put into practice measurably improves employee engagement and ultimately drives company value.





LEGAL/RISK MANAGEMENT

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.





COACHING/TRAINING

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.





ROUTESETTING

Beyond the Trend: Ensuring a lasting role for womxn in the climbing industry | Geneviève de la Plante & Flannery Shay-Nemirow, The Big Initiative


Description: When talking about womxn's issues, something we hear a lot is that they're "so trendy right now". But at B.I.G, we want to make sure that any changes that are brought about are real and that they have permanence. There are concrete steps that we can all take if we want to see more female route setters, head coaches and just more womxn in leadership in the climbing industry. We will talk about how positive that is for everyone, and how essential it is if we want to keep the coming generation of girls practicing sports after their teenage years. About the Presenters: Geneviève was introduced to climbing when the de la Plante family acquired Allez Up in 2003. She now co-owns Allez Up Climbing gyms in Montreal and Seven Bays Bouldering gyms in Halifax with her brothers. Geneviève is passionate about responsible management and recently founded The B.I.G Initiative, a not-for-profit project that champions for womxn in leadership roles in the climbing industry. Flannery has been climbing, sometimes competitively, for 15 years, specifically in the disciplines of sport and bouldering. While she's since stepped away from competing, she maintains contact with the scene by setting and forerunning high level national and international bouldering competitions. Flannery has gone on to gain her Level 4 USAC route setting certification, and continues to work with gyms across the country. Even though she has a deep connection to the world of plastic pulling, her focus tends to be doing hard boulders outside, where she has climbed multiple V12s. Flannery also worked coaching competitive youth teams on the west coast, and as a climbing specific bio-mechanical analyst in Boulder, Colorado.




Mentorship and Coaching: Building an Effective Team and Culture | Sam Thiara, Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting


Description: Is having an engaged work force important to you? Would you like to retain your employees? Have you gained experience in the industry that you would like to share? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the foundation to create a successful environment. The organization is a combination of your business, the culture you create and your employee wellbeing. How do you get them to all work together so that your business is thriving? Often times we hire employees, train them and then let them get to work. Selecting the right people is the start, providing the training, support and guidance is the part that sustains your business. Through stories, examples and best practices, Sam shares his insight and provides practical tools to support your business on mentorship, coaching, retaining employees, creating a strong culture and improving staff performance. About the Presenter: Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a coach, speaker, storyteller, writer, workshop facilitator, educator, and entrepreneur. His goal is to engage individuals in their personal and professional development. He has supported individuals, businesses and non-profits in how to be better placed and transformational. Presently, Sam is the Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting, a platform that engages his audience to define their path.




Employees as Stakeholders: Happy Employees = Successful Gym | Kristin Horowitz, Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing


Description: We'll cover some recommendations by luminaries such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, and the authors of Manager Tools. You'll learn how to communicate in what format and how spending time in effective meetings and on the phone instead of using email or text can transform your organization and empower your staff. We'll also cover: 1n1 meetings: who, what, and why; all-hands meetings: ground rules, format, and keeping things tight. About the Presenter: Kristin Tara Horowitz is COO of Ascent Ventures/The Pad Climbing and formerly the executive director of SLO Op Climbing. Previously famous for her tales of epics on RockClimbing.com, she now spends her days developing systems and working with her team to make them as happy and efficient as possible so that we can continue our mission of changing people's lives for the better. She believes that climbing and the accessory activities that go with it can be the key to happiness.




What Gets Measured, Recognized, Rewarded and Celebrated, Gets Done! | Andrea Bryan, Ph.D.


Description: Across industries, there is amazing commonality in the leading characteristics that make up best-in-class organizations. These companies begin with a mission statement, but ultimately their success shines through in company culture. Recognize that people are at the center of your strategy, no matter what industry you're in and that culture can be your competitive advantage to attract and retain the best talent. This session will cover the 10 Characteristics in Best-in-Class Organizations, instructions on how to kick-start your own culture program, and describe management principles that drive your team to do more and give you time for the new initiatives that may have been on the back burner for years. Come with an open mind! About the Presenter: Andrea Bryan, Ph.D., is a highly adaptable and prudent leader with a passion for leading teams through change and establishing a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Bryan has successfully led both technical and non-technical teams sized from three to 50 in situations as varied as building scientific instrumentation to global department restructuring. The leadership and culture programs she repeatedly put into practice measurably improves employee engagement and ultimately drives company value.





PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.





LUNCH N LEARN SESSIONS

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.