USA Climbing Board Updates – 2022

At USA Climbing, our mission is to support the well-being, development, and competitive excellence of our athletes as we advance the accessibility and growth of the climbing community nationwide. In order to accomplish these goals, the organization has had the tremendous benefit of drawing on the experience and guidance offered by the members of the Board of Directors.

USA Climbing relies on the Board’s collaborative efforts, as well as their diverse backgrounds, experiences and involvement in the sport, to provide sound guidance for the organization. This remains true as we welcome two new individuals to the board and two current members step into leadership roles.

The first change comes as Bruce Mitchell concludes two terms on the board and a very successful tenure as Board President, ushering in a host of transformative changes to the organization and helping to bring Climbing into the Olympic Games for the first time. Mitchell now confidently passes the torch to Kate Felsen Di Pietro as she steps into the role of Board President.

Di Pietro began her service on the board in 2018.  She is President of Up Up Communications LLC, with clients focused on education and youth development, and Co-Founder of Feed the Frontlines NYC, which nourishes frontline workers and people experiencing food insecurity. Di Pietro had a distinguished career as a senior producer and foreign editor at ABC News: World News Tonight where she won 11 Emmy Awards.  She earned an M.A. in American foreign policy and international economics from Johns Hopkins, and a B.A., magna cum laude, in history and literature from Harvard where she was an All-American lacrosse player and captain of the field hockey team.

The second board change comes as Matthew Roberts also wraps up two terms of board service and a highly-effective term serving as Board Treasurer. Trace Harris, who has been a board member since 2021, steps into the role bringing a wealth of knowledge as a finance and strategy executive with experience in media, education, and technology.

Alice Kao joins the board with extensive experience in international marketing, sales, finance, and business development. Beginning her career in investment banking, Kao transitioned into  the toy industry, working at companies such as Mattel and MGA. Her toy career highlights include the launch of two new brands and numerous product lines in over 25 countries across Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. Kao entered the climbing industry in 2012, cofounding Sender One, one of the most well-recognized climbing facility brands in the world, and currently serves as Sender One’s CEO. Operating two full-service facilities and one bouldering gym in the Orange County / Los Angeles areas, Sender One employs nearly 150 people and has hosted a number of USA Climbing and IFSC-sanctioned competitions.

The second new addition to the board is Steve Struthers. Struthers continues more than 10 years of service with USA Climbing in a number of volunteer capacities, most recently as one of two National Coordinators acting as liaisons between USA Climbing staff and the 18 sets of volunteer Regional Coordinators across the country. He is the father of two athletes who competed in youth and adult climbing events at the national and international levels.  Struthers has also spent 25 years of his professional career serving as a strategic consultant to leaders of public and non-profit organizations, advising on ways to select, communicate and measure their intended goals through consultation with stakeholders.

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