INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Ariat’s story began nearly 30 years ago when Beth Cross pushed through initial rejection to bring a company to life that would revolutionise the boot industry. She had proposed an entirely new concept – to create riding boots infused with performance trainer technology – to a major athletic shoe company but was ultimately turned down. While this company passed on the opportunity, Beth knew the idea could have a major impact on riders. As an equestrian herself, she was aware of the crucial role that equipment can have on a rider’s performance.
Despite this initial hurdle, Beth pushed forward. This show of unbridled leadership, which is rooted in hard work and a drive to keep going, even when others say it isn’t possible, played an important role in getting Ariat off the ground and has continued to shape the trajectory of the company over the last three decades.
Beth Cross | CEO and Co-founder of Ariat
We know her as the CEO and co-founder of Ariat, but before she started the company, Beth Cross travelled around the country working a series of odd jobs including cooking on a salmon fishing boat in the Pacific Northwest and even driving a bread delivery truck. No matter the job, Beth has always approached her work with a learning mindset, which she says is essential for any leader.
The importance of keeping an open mind: Having a learning mindset is crucial. I try and learn something new every day. It is also important to seek out advice when you need it (and even when you think you don’t) and try not to dwell on things that are out of your control. Having this mindset allows you to look at things with a fresh perspective, be creative and innovative, and remain open to new possibilities.
On the best piece of leadership advice she ever received: When you fall off the horse, you get up and get right back on. What I love most about this piece of advice is that falling off the horse is inevitable. It’s not “if,” it’s “when.” There are always going to be some challenges to overcome, but what it comes down to is resilience and hard work. The only way to keep progressing and growing is to accept that failure will be a regular occurrence and to pick yourself up and keep pushing forward.
Her greatest source of motivation? The Ariat Family. Our community is made up of a diverse group of hardworking people, and they are the inspiration for everything we do at Ariat. From the products we develop, to how we select store locations, our partnerships and beyond, each of these decisions are made with our community in mind. They are the reason we have been able to grow the company into what it is today.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we recently spoke with some of the incredible women in our Ariat family about what it means to be a leader and how, like Beth, they are blazing new trails in their own careers. In these conversations, we asked questions about some of the challenges they’ve faced along the road to success, where they find motivation, and how they’ve broken through those barriers to achieve their goals. Read on to hear their stories.
Mary King MBE | Ariat Athlete and 6x Olympian
Mary King MBE, is a 6 time Olympian representing Great Britain in Eventing. During her career she has won 6 gold medals at both World and European Championships as well as multiple 5* wins including the legendary Badminton Horse Trials. Mary has also been British Champion four times, more than anyone else to date, and was appointed her MBE in 2013 after being recognised in the New Years Honours for her services to equestrianism.
What would you say is your greatest leadership attribute? Being totally dedicated to my team of horses, and being single-minded in pursuing my ambitions.
Is there a woman (family member/business leader/peer/athlete/etc.) you look up to or inspires you? Who is she and what about her inspires you? When I was a young girl I idolised Lucinda Prior- Palmer, who was the top British female event rider at the time. Her amazing flair at riding across country over huge fences making it look effortless was so inspirational for me. Plus she was so elegant, attractive and well spoken…I wanted to be her!
What was the best piece of leadership advice you have ever received? To 'follow my dreams'
What motivates you to break through a challenging obstacle? It is being competitive and wanting to “beat the rest of the world” which has motivated me.
Has there been a moment where you remember breaking through a particularly difficult challenge? (learning a new skill, learning to ride, first competition?) What did you do to overcome this challenge? Heavy falls resulting in broken bones are always a difficult challenge to get through. When I broke my neck in 2000 I did wonder if I should carry on eventing - I was married and had 2 young children. But I had some fabulous talented horses at the time, which helped me want to continue trying to win at the top level. I keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be working with such wonderful, generous, loyal animals who give us so much.
When do you feel at your most confident? When I am riding an experienced horse that I know well and on whom I have had plenty of previous success!
As a mother to a daughter, what leadership qualities of yours do you hope your daughter emulates? I hope she emulates my love of the sport of Eventing, including remembering to smile even when things go wrong! Plus the dedication and kindness needed while training and competing up through to the top level.
Caroline Müller | Ariat Athlete & Show Jumping Champion
Caroline Müller was a European young rider double gold medalist and at the age of 15 was the youngest rider ever to participate at CHIO Aachen, one of the most acclaimed showjumping venues in the world.
What would you say is your greatest leadership attribute? My determination to succeed and daily discipline. Set goals and work consistently to achieve them. Having good communication in your team.
Is there a woman (family member/business leader/peer/athlete/etc.) you look up to or inspires you? Who is she and what about her inspires you? Beezie Madden: she convinces and impresses me with her professional way of handling and building up her horses. She has proven over many years with her management, talent and feeling for them to present many different horses successfully at the very highest level in the sport. Since I was young I have wanted to work together with her to benefit and learn from her experience and knowledge.
What was the best piece of leadership advice you have ever received? Be authentic, yourself and real! Always be accessible and open to make progress. Have an open mind towards different opinions.
What motivates you to break through a challenging obstacle? Set goals and think positive. Always keeping a positive mindset and believing in your capabilities and goals will help you to challenge even the biggest obstacles.
Has there been a moment where you remember breaking through a particularly difficult challenge? (learning a new skill, learning to ride, first competition?) What did you do to overcome this challenge? Every day is a challenge! Organising business, sport, family (2 small kids aged 3 and 6 years) and personal life. To find the right balance is actually the biggest challenge!
When do you feel your most confident? When things work out according to plan!