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Don Causey Note: Subscribers who saw our less-than-positive review of SHE Expeditions in the February 2012 issue of The Angling Report are urged to read the following forthright rebuttal comment from the mover and shaker behind that organization, Corinna Slaughter. Her statement makes us realize we underestimated the lady and her determination to build a booking agency that serves sportswomen who travel. Clearly, she is on her way to creating an agency that overcomes the apparent limitations we described in our February review. Subscribers who book individual or family fishing trips through SHE Expeditions are urged to file follow-up reports so we can chart the progress of the company toward success.
I grew up the daughter of a beautiful genteel southern lady, the little sister of three active older brothers, and the daughter of a father who believed in his children having very independent spirits. From the combination of all of these influences in my life came “me,” a lady who is willing to go anywhere, anytime, and under any conditions, and, yes, still be a lady in every situation. I have lived and still live the life of a world traveler to exotic destinations that included luxurious accommodations in Europe, tent camps from Alaska to Africa, jet boats up adventurous rivers, float planes to remote destinations, hiking across bear-infested rivers and hostels in Israel since I was 12 years old. Speaking for ladies all over the world who enjoy the outdoors, it is not uncommon for us to hike through the mud to find a beautiful remote fishing stream in the morning and then get dressed up for an evening dinner. We enjoy both. The stereotypical “lady” of the past is gone. There are a lot of ladies, women, females, girls (however you want to refer to the female gender) today who enjoy the fun and excitement of both worlds.
SHE Expeditions was born out of a desire to introduce more ladies to the outdoors and to encourage those already participating to go more often and to bring other ladies, their families, and their significant others with them. SHE exists to promote fantastic first and 50th experiences in the outdoors. Many women and even children have had poor introductions to the outdoors by being taken on trips that did not match their vision of that experience, often being ill equipped with the wrong clothing or gear. Their first trip quickly becomes their last trip. Every style of lodge and experience does not fit every lady’s vision of what their experience should look like. Some prefer luxury with a spa or other activities, others love being the only lady in a “rowdy” camp, and still others love the remoteness of floating down a river and camping along the way. A required criterion for every lodge that we work with is that it must encourage and cater to lady anglers or hunters but not all of them have to be glamorous destinations. We do not work with any lodge that is degrading to women, period. My job, and the job of SHE Expeditions, is to marry the correct lodge with the correct client.
When I have a client call about a fishing trip to Alaska, I must understand her goals for the trip. Opportunities in Alaska vary from fly-out fishing trips, to float trips staying in tents, to fly fishing trips, to halibut fishing trips, to luxury accommodations with spas and lots of other activities, to fixed rustic lodges on a river. I learn my clients’ goals and explore their vision of what an Alaska fishing trip might look like to them and then direct them to the best lodge for their goals. I will fail my clients every time if I stereotype them by gender and assume that because they are ladies that they want luxury every time.
And finally, I am unashamedly in love with my husband, Kevin, and we enjoy the outdoors together. He is a gentleman and a fantastic father. As wonderful as he is, I do not hide behind my husband in this business. I am the author of “What she needs to know before she decides to go on this trip” found on each destination pre-trip planner. Each is signed with my name and written from my perspective. I wrote our Web site in its entirety, including the information that is specific to women. Of course, I do lean on our outfitters for specifics pertaining to their lodges. Kevin and I are experts at finding lodges that have wonderful teaching guides, along with lodges that cater to expert anglers. Our company thoroughly checks out and visits every destination before we send clients.
Are we “repackaging” destinations for women, as you said in a footnote to your second write-up about SHE Expeditions? What we are finding is that the industry as a whole is repackaging and updating their destinations to meet the demands of women, who make up a growing segment of the industry. To me, that is very exciting. Repackage away!
To sum all of this up, the outdoor industry needs women and we as an industry need to figure out ways to give them the best introduction and experiences we can! We want them to expose their children and friends. If we want to promote fishing and the outdoors to future generations, we need to cater to every different vision and tell them the truth! No one benefits from a miserable, ill-prepared experience in the outdoors!—Corinna Slaughter, president, SHE Expeditions.
Postscript: The Web address for SHE Expeditions is www.sheexpeditions.com.