Tell us about Wild Diversity.
Wild Diversity builds community through outdoor adventures, day and weekend trips, and workshops for people of color and the LGBTQ+ communities.
We provide resources through outdoor skills workshops, our gear library and community partnerships.
We strive to equip the next generation by creating equitable access to outdoor adventures and education for youth of color, and queer, trans, and low-income youth.
We also work to decolonize outdoor spaces through diverse leadership development training and the Resilience Outdoor Conference.
What does a day in your work life look like?
My day could look like many things. I could be in front of the computer all day; knee-deep in gear I’m organizing, training folks all day or, on the water in a kayak scouting for our next trip.
What inspired you to found Wild Diversity?
I wanted to create a welcoming space for BIPOC & LGBTQ+ folks to thrive in the outdoors.
How did you develop your outdoors training and community building skills?
I did take some outdoor leadership training, but since supporting this community in this was fairly new, I had to carve so many new paths to get to where we are today. Being able to identify and give words to the needs of my community in the outdoors was a challenge. The vision of our organization really took shape with every step we took forward.
What do you have to sacrifice to be good at what you do?
Early on, I decided to work on Wild Diversity full time, but the funding wasn't there yet. I moved into my 10x10 storage during the winter. It wasn't a livable space yet. I slept on the floor with my cat inside my sleeping bag and used the bathroom in a bucket. There were many freezing nights, but that time allowed me to transition, focus on and build the organization to what it is today.
What did you want to be when you were growing up, or a little kid?
I wanted to travel the world as a National Geographic photographer.
What are you great at, and what do you suck at?
My strengths are organizing and dreaming everyday. Every morning, I wake up with new ideas that I would like to pursue.
My weaknesses are not having enough funding to pursue all my super brilliant ideas. Also when I am nervous, I try to be funny.*
*editor’s note: we consider this a strength, not a weakness ;)
What do you want people to know about being a woman in your field?
Create your own roles. Entering a culture that has a majority of one gender or race can sometimes feel confusing and indoctrinating.
Take a moment to imagine that space with no rules, no ‘the way it's always been.’ What would you create to better support yourself and others who most need support? Once you have envisioned that world, live in that space and follow those rules you've created.
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?
I am trying to chill as hard as possible. I have had the attention span of a butterfly since the start of COVID, and have picked up so many hobbies. Kickboxing, piano, pottery, guitar, training, writing, volleyball, singing to my cat. Kayaking and going to a beach have been constant favorites– I enjoy being by water. Also, my new puppy is a second job on its own.
How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do?
My hope is to lead by example. I hope folks see how wonderful it is to be outdoors with their community, and want to join us.
What does workwear designed for women mean to you?
It. Is. Important. This is human beings designing workwear for who you are, not who someone is trying to force you to be.
Do you have any special projects or cool things you want people to check out?
We have so many exciting events coming up!
Follow Wild Diversity here. Mercy’s pronouns are she/her.
Through June '22, we will donate $5 for each order on DovetailWorkwear.com to further Wild Diversity's work in building community through outdoor adventures, workshops, and resources for people of color and the LGBTQ+ communities.
Dovetail Workwear Disclaimer: We are not the boss of our Women At Work! They say it their way and wear it their way.