Gert Boyle is the Chairman of the Board for Columbia Sportswear, the international outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment manufacturer. At age 13, Gert Boyle and her family fled Nazi Germany and moved to Portland, Oregon. Her parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, founded what was then called Columbia Hat Company in 1938. After attending the University of Arizona she and her husband, Neal Boyle, returned to Oregon and joined the family business.
After the death of her father, Neal became president. Six years later at the age of 47 he died of a heart attack. Gert found herself at the helm of a financially struggling company. Her son Tim, while still in college, helped run the business. After a year they were advised by a banker to sell Columbia, but they were only offered $1,400 and wisely declined.
Hard work and a helpful staff of employees made Columbia a leading global seller of outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment with annual sales of more than $1 billion. Gert Boyle has become an industry icon and she is a well respected leader in Portland and around the world. Her autobiography, One Tough Mother, was published in 2005. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Sporting Goods Association Hall of Fame and was also inducted into the Global Business Hall of Fame and the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. She has won many other awards including:
- The SBA Outstanding Business Person Award for Oregon (1977)
- The Oregon Chapter of Women’s Forum Woman of the Year Award (1987)
- A Top 50 Woman Business Owner by Working Woman Magazine (1993-96)
- Oregon Entrepreneur of the Year, Oregon Enterprise Forum (1994)
- The Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement (1998)
- Awarded the Jimmy Huega “Can Do” Award (2003)
- Member, Oregon Commemorative Coin Commission (2004)
- Granted Portland, OR’s prestigious First Citizen Award (2005)
- Women of Distinction Award, Marylhurst University (2008)
- Small Business Association Impact Award (2009)
- Outstanding Mother Award, National Mother’s Day Committee (2009)
- Women of Achievement Award, Oregon Commission for Women (2009)