Ertl was formative in growing the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen Snowmass, and became its managing director in 2005, overseeing 1,100 instructors. In that role for 12 years, she took it upon herself to constantly learn: learn to manage and foster relations, learn new skills, and learn a lot about emotional intelligence, empathy, and compassion.
Tapped to head up mountain operations in 2017, Ertl found herself in a division that’s even more male dominated. And while she feels it’s important to strike a better gender balance in her field, she doesn’t have all the answers about how to get there. Noting that just three of the 52 applicants for two mountain manager positions recently were women, Ertl points out that part of the challenge is attracting more female applicants, but not just hiring quotas.
“It’s going to take a big shift in our biases to figure out what’s possible,” she says.
Aspen Skiing Company recently launched a humanity board to address diversity issues and figure out what could be done better in hiring and promoting a more diverse staff, Ertl explained. Meanwhile, she has taken seriously the responsibility of being a female role model, and is watching and learning from several female mentors (and some male ones, too).
And it may just be that her natural enthusiasm, and her proven ability to get the job done, will move things forward.
Asked how she’d encourage other women to reach for the stars, Ertl responded, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if you fail? If you have courage to step into the application or the job or the conversation, you might find that you have so much more to offer than think you do. To stay focused on those possibilities, you have to be able to say, ‘I’m ready to jump in.’”
Spoken like a true skier — and woman of Aspen.