An interview with Constance Beverley, CEO of the Share Winter Foundation
Interview by Jeremy Lux, article written by Eric Z. Gasa
For Constance Beverley, CEO of Share Winter Foundation, snow is the gift that simply keeps on giving. Raised on winter sports, Beverley has been passionate about the outdoors and snowboarding from a young age, and now, against all odds and from humble beginnings, she now has the pleasure of calling it her career.
Beverley isn’t a professional snowboarder, but she does something just as enriching. As the head of Share Winter, Beverley is in charge of connecting disadvantaged kids with the thrilling peaks and exciting valleys of winter sports.
As the latest guest of the Life in Motion podcast, Beverley sits down with Jeremy Lux to discuss her tomboyish upbringing, the crush of working on Wall Street, and the thrilling high of helping people achieve their dreams.
Growing up in Akron, Ohio and raised by a single mom, Beverley wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in her mouth and in turn had trouble fitting in at times. A bit of an outsider, Beverley saw snowboarding as a way to hide yet pursue an alternative lifestyle. Though she enjoyed the sport she also realized that classism is especially present in winter sports as well.
“I remember boys used to throw snowballs at me from the chairlift because I was in hand-me-down gear and I was a girl. Plus, there weren’t too many girls learning to snowboard in the 90s especially in their dad’s old gear,” Beverley reminisces, “But it was the one thing I wanted so bad so I didn’t care.”
If there is one thing about Constance it is that she is unabashedly herself no matter the judgement. She quite frankly didn’t care what the rich kids on the mountain thought of her, but the financial barriers of the sport still kept her from pursing snowboarding more. Tenacious and eager to learn, Beverley hatched a plan.
It’s the stuff of teen underdog Disney Channel movies, but Beverley had her mom drop her off at the ski lodge then she would sneak off and eavesdrop on paid bunny hill lessons for free. Beverley fell even more in love with the sport from there.
“For me, the mountain was the first place where I got to be the version of myself that I wanted to be, not what everyone expected me to be,” she admits, “As a kid I was always very tense, but on the mountain, nobody knew any of that. I could bundle up in some gear and fly down the mountain and literally be whoever the heck I wanted to be.”
For Beverley, snowboarding not only just a thrill but an exercise of her expression; it was sheer freedom. Even after going to law school and working on Wall Street, Beverley never forgot her roots. She even kept a snowboard in her bustling Manhattan office.
Pursuing an environmental law program, Beverley once again beat the odds to make her way to the mantle. She didn’t come from a fancy family, didn’t have any connections, wasn’t a New Yorker, and worked hard for a full ride to her school. But what Beverley lacked in patronage she made up in savvy, moxie, and work ethic. She was determined to once again show these rich kids what this tomboy from Akron, Ohio was made of.
After paying off her student loans and grinding away on Wall Street, Beverley decided she wanted a new career path and turned her gaze upon nonprofit.
“I paid off my student loans, which was a hallmark,” she says, “but that was the moment I said, ‘So I paid off this really fancy piece of paper that now it on a wall with a guilt-free, but this isn't what I want to do anymore.’”
Luckily, the stars seemed to have aligned for Beverley when she came across Share Winter, then called National Winter Sports Education Foundation. Her experience on Wall Street, delegating with hedge funders and financial firms made her a perfect fit for the growing nonprofit.
At its heart, Share Winter Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives, health, and fitness of the youth through winter sports. The organization focuses on winter sports in particular due to its traditional financial barriers for disadvantaged folks. What Beverley seeks to do is make the mountain experience available to everybody.
Since taking up the reins as CEO in 2017, Beverley says the org has proudly served 12,000 kids through three programs while in 2020 alone, Share Winter worked with an addition 27 partners in some way funding another over 45,000 kids. It’s a huge achievement and Beverley only plans to go bigger. On average, she says Share Winter provides $1 million dollars a year with their focused and self-aware approach to nonprofit work.
“I think a lot of people run into places and try to slap a corporate solution on a community problem; or they decide what a community needs. We try to work in the reverse. We ask them what they need,” Beverley explains.
It’s a refreshing take from a CEO. While some foundations throw money at a problem, Share Winter has a more sensible approach. Beverley says the org goes at lengths to be transparent and only gives promises that they know they can keep. Resources are provided based on what people need and not what the organization wants; the end result is a dedicated and genuine approach to service.
Whether its snowboarding or law school, there’s nothing Beverley can’t do when she puts her mind to it. She often thinks about the boys that threw snowballs at her from the chairlift all those years ago; despite all the barriers and naysayers she persisted to do the thing that made her the happiest.
“It was the one thing that I wanted so bad,” she says, “So I didn’t care.”
To learn more about the Share Winter Foundation, check out their website as well as their socials on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For the full scoop on Constance, including skiing stories, life advice, and her dislike of acronyms, check out her full interview on the Life in Motion podcast with Jeremy Lux on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.