GenZ takes over at Oberalp: Eight employees under 28 form the Oberalp Board4Next
40 out of 150 possible candidates apply for the management board

GenZ is on everyone's lips, and if you want to understand this new generation of customers and employees, you have to listen to them: that is the credo of the South Tyrolean mountain sports company Oberalp. For this reason, the "Oberalp Board4Next" was brought to life: A group consisting of eight employees under the age of 28 will consult with the company's management on strategic initiatives and work on business-relevant projects for the next two years. The creative application process - a one-minute presentation video including 10 hashtags that describe the future of the mountain sports company through their participation - was completed by a total of 40 applicants. With the Board4Next project, Oberalp wants to create a synergy between the generations according to the guiding principle of President Heiner Oberrauch - Positive attracts positive. "When I founded the company in 1981, I myself was the youngest generation. 42 years and a few generations later, we want to know what motivates this generation and how it takes decisions," says Heiner Oberrauch, President of the Oberalp management board. 

The Oberalp Board4Next is the consequence of the last Oberalp Summit. Every year, the Oberalp Group invites the most important retailers and customers to this worldwide meeting. Over the course of two days, a relevant topic of the industry will be highlighted, as well as the collections of the company's own mountain sports brands for the coming year will be presented. "The Gen Z Mountains - How the next generation is changing the outdoor industry" was the topic of the last Oberalp Summit in Zurich. "If we are to understand a new generation of potential employees and customers, we have to deal with the views, ideas and approaches of Gen-Z," says Oberalp CEO Christoph Engl. "In doing so, listening is more important than understanding". The Oberalp Group gave representatives of this generation the stage in Zurich and offered retailers and partners a deep insight into how Gen-Z sees the mountain. The project Board4Next is the consequence of this for Oberalp: A group of eight employees under the age of 28 will take on responsibility at Oberalp over the next two years and will work for the management in an advisory function.

From the 40 or so applications submitted by employees under the age of 28, the management selected four women and four men who had to undergo a creative application process. "It was very important for us to find a heterogeneous group of employees, from different areas and nations," says Ruth Oberrauch, member of the management board and sponsor of this project. "Even the expertise of the Gen-Z representatives on the Board4Next couldn't be more different, Customer Service, Product Design, Sales, Retail and Marketing as well as USA, Italy, France and Germany as a mix of nations. It's a great group with a wide variety of skills and cultures," says Ruth Oberrauch, pleased with the good choice. The Gen-Z representatives will fulfil two tasks over the next two years: they will work on a specific project (mountain and gaming industry) and they will attend the Oberalp Group's board meeting once a year.

In managing the assigned project, Board4Next members have free rein over budget and organization. "The only binding deadline we set is a project update once a year," says CEO Christoph Engl. Board4Next members are trained in design thinking, project management, and public speaking, thus qualifying for further professional development. There is no separate compensation for the extra work, however.

They have an advisory function for the top management of the Oberalp Group, but they can also put questions about the corporate strategy on the table of the top management, which can and should be critical.

ruth oberrauch
Executive Board Member
Meta Mountains - The first project on the Agenda of the Board4Next

Will the mountains of the future only be experienced physically, or soon also in virtual space? What impact will the gaming world have on mountains and mountain sports? How can mountains and the feelings they arouse in people, be transported into the metaverse? Who will be the heroes of the virtual mountains? These are only a few of the questions for the Board4Next, as a thought-provoking impulse, in order to approach their project around the Meta-Mountains.
The Oberalp Summit in May 2023 in Venice will also circle around the topic "Metaverse and Mountain Sports".