April 16, 2024

Innovation and Collaboration in Outdoor Media with Chez Chesak, Outdoor Writers Assoc. of America [EP 437]

Show Notes

Rick Saez
Innovation and Collaboration in Outdoor Media with Chez Chesak, Outdoor Writers Assoc. of America [EP 437]

Hey everyone, Welcome to Episode 437 of the Outdoor Biz Podcast, brought to you by ORU Kayak, manufacturer of high-performance folding kayaks for all types of paddlers.

Today, I’m talking with Chez Chesak; Chez is an award-winning adventure travel writer and 20+ year veteran of the outdoor and travel industries. He is also Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America

As a writer, his words and images have appeared in a variety of major newspapers popular magazines the websites and he also does periodic travel segments for the morning show of his local FOX affiliate and American Forces Radio.

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You can contact me here: rick@theoutdoorbizpodcast.com

Show Notes

06:13 Frequent travel for work, including long trips to Australia and South Africa, led to amazing opportunities but strained family life. Looking forward to finally bringing family to these places.

08:33 Chez highlights the irony of spending excessive time indoors managing communication, social media, and engaging with the board and members. They also mention creating job opportunities for members through posting positions and communicating about awards.

11:35 Chez talks about Looking forward to the upcoming July event in Johnson City, Tennessee, with vetted outdoor media, regional tourism boards, and brands networking. The event will feature a marketplace for networking, city tours, and professional development, offering abundant networking opportunities in the beautiful Tennessee location.

13:17 Navigating the evolving media landscape involves supporting various content creators to boost their careers.

18:18 Podcasting growth potential in outdoor space and its ability to reach people 24/7.

20:28 Chez explains maintaining the importance of OWAA‘s welcoming environment for new members while embracing the tight-knit community is a great challenge. It’s important to ensure new members feel included and connected when joining events like Fieldfast or the conference.

24:51 Encouraging young people with a passion for the outdoors and storytelling to join OWAA for resources and career support, including opportunities for those just starting out or making a career change.

26:18 OWAA offers fellowships to support the development of outdoor storytellers, and also provides a $30 student membership, available to undergraduate and graduate students from any school.

31:13 Discovering healing stories through yoga for veterans while facing challenges with traditional media outlets. An article about yoga for vets led to learning about the healing effects of yoga on veterans, including personal experiences with a medic.

33:58 Emphasizes the importance of consistent effort and perseverance in building one’s skills and career. Stressing the value of continually refining one’s craft, the speaker highlights the power of regular, persistent action in achieving recognition and opportunities.

36:40 Excited for organizational growth after focusing on internal improvements and reinventing processes with board and volunteers.

41:31 Chez is passionate about military history and acknowledges a lack of diversity in their reading habits. He tries to read other genres, particularly classics, and is reintroduced to them through a teen in the house. He is currently rereading “The Bureau of Ungentlemanly Warfare” in preparation for the upcoming movie adaptation.

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Learn More

You can follow Chez at Chez Connects

Next Steps

If you enjoy interviews devoted to the outdoor industry, find us online at ricksaez.com/listen. We love likes and comments, and if you know someone who is also an outdoor enthusiast, go ahead and share our site with them, too.


#Outdoor Writers Association of America, #OWA, #outdoor storytelling, #diversity and inclusion, #outdoor industry, #content creation, #career development, #award-winning adventure, #outdoor media, #podcasting, #traditional writers, #professional development, #media professionals, #social media influencers, #bloggers, #traditional print journalists, #storytelling, #tourism boards

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