Ladies Offroad Network

The Faces of Jeep interview with Charlene Bower, Founder of Ladies Offroad Network 

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into offroading?”

Charlene: “I was born into an offroading family. My Dad was a ISDT gold metal motorcycle rider at the time. When my brother was born, my Dad decided to get a Jeep so we could go offroading as a family. When my brother’s and my legs got too long for the back seat of a flat fender, our family moved back to dirt bikes and quads. Riding a dirt bike 500 miles, all offroad, in a weekend was a regular occurrence from high school on. My post-college career path took me to upper management at Motorcycle Dealerships and then into the magazine world for two titles focusing on Sand, and the very new UTV market. When I started Bower Media, just under 9 years ago, I was re-introduced to the Jeep and 4×4 market. I am lucky to have had such a width of offroading variety in my personal experience! My career of 24 years has been entirely based in the offroad industry; in fact, my first job was changing tires in a dirt bike shop!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Charlene: “I am lucky enough to get to say I have been to a large percentage of the offroading locations in the United States and Baja. I will admit, there are many more parks and trails I haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit, and can’t wait for the opportunity. My favorite places so far are: Arizona (with the Buggy), Moab (with the Jeep), Reno deserts (with the Dirt Bike). They all have their unique terrain features that challenge my skills in different vehicles.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What places would you recommended to others for a great wheeling experience?”

Charlene: “I would recommend visiting your local offroad park, multiple times. Keep going. Over and over, and don’t say that you are bored with it. Try something a little different. Take the next hardest line; go in the opposite direction; get yourself stuck; get yourself unstuck. Break something. Fix something. Go when it’s raining. Do everything you can to understand your vehicle’s dynamics (without rolling it, lol). Gain as much confidence as you can while in a local environment, which you know well. Then, when an opportunity comes up for you to take an exciting trip and go to a different place, you are ready to adjust to that terrain. Every wheeling area will be a great experience if you have confidence in yourself and your vehicle. Go! Have fun!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has offroading influenced your life and what inspired the idea for the Ladies Offroad Network?”

Charlene: “Offroading has essentially defined my life, I don’t think it has necessarily influenced it. 🙂 I have never utilized the fact that I am a female while I have worked in the Offroad Industry, however I do feel that I have always taken on the role of helping guide other ladies to achieving in their offroad goals. I have always encouraged and been available for the “tough girls”, even producing our respectful clothing line I’m Not Just a Girl which is celebrating it’s 7 year anniversary this year.”

“Ladies Offroad Network happened because it was time. It happened just after I launched our inagural Ladies Offroad Challenge (then known as Ladies Co-Driver Challenge). Ladies were vocal that they want to unite, learn and meet others that have the same passion for dirt under their nails! I looked around and knew that there was a short list of people that could educate correctly with years of knowledge and experience, and be someone that could put the complete program that the ladies were demanding. I took a business risk shutting down Bower Media’s main business to 100% focus on Ladies Offroad Network. I love every day of my job!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us about the Ladies Offroad Network and its empowerment to women, core values and events?”

Charlene: “Ladies Offroad Network is dedicated to supporting ALL offroad ladies by guiding, educating, and motivating them to achieve their goals. Whether you are a driver, co-driver, racer, passenger, mother, business owner, worker, or hobbyist, you are welcome. We aim to meet the needs of every lady who loves offroad by providing a space to learn more about offroad sports, chat with other ladies from around the world, and share stories with a community that has the same passion. You do NOT need to be a member to participate in anything we do, but membership does have its advantages.”

“Online, we have created a website with a wealth of educational information and a location for ladies to share their stories. Members have the opportunity to provide information for their own webpage! Our Forum is available for conversations and interaction. We have a presence on all social channels to host conversations: Facebook, Facebook Groups, Instagram, Twitter and, of course, Pinterest. We have an online store, http://www.BowerMediaStore.com, that hosts memberships, clothes, education and more. We also have a monthly giveaway that usually exceeds $500 in value!”

“On the Ground, we host and participate in many events. The core to every event is education and building confidence for the next great offroading opportunity. The Ladies Offroad Convention is our core event where we hope every offroad lady will join for educational opportunities and networking. We also host a Ladies Offroad Challenge where ladies can enter to participate in three amazing events with me. We host Ladies Offroad Socials as we travel, some that have become hands-on interactive events. We host Ladies Offroad Garage events that are very specific to garage girls that like to work on vehicles.  Depending on the event or schedule, you will also find us hosting Ladies Offroad Trail Trainings. We attend and support multiple shows and trail rides across the country, depending on the weekend. And, I’m excited to add here, there will be a couple more significant items that we will be adding to this list VERY soon!” 🙂

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What’s your favorite part about running the Ladies Offroad Network and what is your most memorable moment?”

Charlene: “My favorite part about running Ladies Offroad Network is getting to talk to and meet all the ladies. Everyone has a different story and is on their own journey. I love learning about them! It may be a IM on SM, a phone call, an hour at an event, or multiple days spent in the same vehicle together. I cherish these opportunities. I’m the lucky one!”

“My most memorable moments to date have been the winning speech for Rebelle Rally and the opening speech of the inagural Ladies Offroad Convention. The winning speech for the Rebelle Rally didn’t just mark that amazing moment in history, but it also marked a hugely successful year of completed podium events for the first Ladies Offroad Challenge! We did it! I put us out on a diving board and all of us jumped together to make the perfect dive!”

“The opening speech to the inagural Ladies Offroad Convention was filled with emotion. I fought endlessly to get to that exact moment and at so many turns I never thought that it would actually happen. Being on that stage, looking out at friends and people I had never met before, and thanking them for believing in what we are building was a moment I will never forget. I was so humbled, yet knew I had three days of execution ahead of us that had to be amazingly perfect. We did it!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

Charlene: “Some of our biggest accomplishments aren’t realized by the general public, but internal goals that seemed somewhat unreachable but we met. I hold myself to a very high level of quality, and therefore those who work with me. We set short-term goals for content and events, we execute, and we appreciate all the stage successes.”

“I think our biggest accomplishment has been the opportunity to open up conversations with industry professionals and having them recognize (through the research that I completed and presented) that women have purchasing power in the industry. These conversations are challenging, fun and invigorating. We are making a difference!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for the Ladies Offroad Network?

Charlene: “I’m not sure I can tell you much, other than that they are a bit ridiculous. Well, the 10-year goal is anyways. But, that is how 10-year goals are supposed to be! We have two major project announcements that will be released during 2018, on top of some structure changes to make membership convenient and even more rewarding. One of these projects we have been working on for over 8 months already!”

“While some companies take the end of the year to set goals for the following year, we focus on all the details of 2018 and set the goals for 2019. We have already made decisions on our big announcements for 2019 that help create our execution plans for this year.”

“Everything that we create and implement are in response to market research that shows us what YOU, the ladies, are asking for. Please, if you have a want or need, reach out and let’s talk! I may not be able to tell you if we are already working on it, however you could be a huge asset in testing what we have planned, or you could even have the next big idea. This community is all about you. We are just hosting the party!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Charlene for sharing your offroad journey with us. We love strong women in wheeling and all the support & encouragement Ladies Offroad Network has brought to the offroading community. Best wishes for a wonderful 2018.”

Photo from Charlene Bower,Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Charlene Bower.

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