Peter Roy named Chairman Of The National
Outdoor Leadership School
The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has named Peter
Roy Chairman of the school's board of trustees. Roy, who lives
in Pawley's Island, S.C., is the former President of Whole Foods
Market, Inc., the country's leading retailer of natural and organic
Roy has served on the board of the Lander, Wyo.-based non-profit
since 1999. But his ties to the school that teaches leadership
and outdoor skills in 11 different wilderness locations goes back
to 1973. In that year, Roy graduated from a NOLS Wind River Wilderness
course and met Paul Petzoldt, the famed mountaineer and outdoorsman
who founded NOLS in 1965. That experience in the mountains of
Wyoming, says Roy, changed everything.
"After reflecting back on my life and the different choices
that I've made, my NOLS course was very much a turning point,"
says Roy. "It was one of the most challenging and difficult
things I had accomplished in my life."
Shortly after his NOLS course, Roy began his freshman year at
Arizona's Prescott College, where he says he quickly put into
practice the leadership skills he'd learned in the mountains.
"I ended up almost immediately in a leadership position,"
Roy remembers of his first week at school. "And I ended up
in leadership positions for the rest of my life. A lot of the
skills I learn on my NOLS course ended up being relevant to what
I did the rest of my life. NOLS was, in many ways, my university."
Roy attended Prescott College for a year before dropping out
to work in a natural and organic food store in his hometown of
New Orleans, La. By 1978, he was president of Whole Food Company
and it had become one of the largest-volume natural product stores
in the industry. In 1984, Roy founded and became president of
the Natural Foods Network, an industry trade association that
brought together the entrepreneurs of the natural foods business.
This association led to the eventual merger of Whole Foods Market,
Bread and Circus, Mrs. Gooch's, Wellspring Grocery, Bread of Life,
Fresh Fields and Whole Food Company. He was president of Whole
Foods Market from 1993 until he left the company at the end of
1998. By that time, Whole Foods Market had opened 100 stores in
20 states and was doing over $1 billion a year in sales.
Roy's relationship with NOLS took a different turn in 1998,
when his youngest daughter attended a NOLS Semester in East Africa.
"It was a phenomenal experience for her but also on a different
level an incredibly rewarding and gratifying experience for us
as parents. There was a very significant turn around in terms
of her attitude and what she felt was possible in her life."
At that point, says Roy, "I would have said yes to virtually
anything NOLS asked me to do."
In his year as chair of the NOLS board of trustees, Roy has
some definite goals, including helping the school continue to
increase enrollment, despite a challenging economic climate and
shorter enrollment cycles.
Roy also wants the school to continue cultivating one of its
newer offerings, NOLS Professional Training, which tailors the
school's curriculum to a broader audience through custom courses,
skills seminars, leadership training and risk management consulting.
He'd also like to maintain and expand NOLS' ties to colleges and
Whatever the tasks ahead, Roy says he's excited to be at the
helm of the NOLS board. "I consider it an honor and a privilege
to lead the NOLS board of trustees. It's something I take very
seriously. NOLS made a tremendous difference in my life and my
family's life and I'm certainly willing and grateful to give back
to the school in this way."
The National Outdoor Leadership School, a non-profit organization,
is the leader in wilderness education and offers courses in the
world’s most spectacular classrooms. From two-weeks to three
months, NOLS offers over sixty-five different course types in
skill areas including backpacking, mountaineering, sea kayaking,
canoeing, skiing, caving, horsepacking and rock climbing. More
than 75,000 graduates around the world have come to NOLS to learn
outdoor skills and leadership.