Introducing Columbia’s Directors of Toughness

Columbia searched through thousands of candidates to find two employees who embody toughness. They had to be mentally tough, physically tested, and great storytellers. But more than anything, they had to be up for an unknown adventure.

We asked candidates “What makes you think you’re our Director of Toughness?” The answers were varied. Though, the motivations were universal. Each person wanted to travel the world as they put themselves and Columbia’s gear to the ultimate test; whether that’s in our backyard or the most extreme environments around the world.

And we’ve found the perfect people to do just that. Let us introduce you to Columbia’s Directors of Toughness.

Lauren Steele
Lauren Steele is a Midwestern farm girl turned migrant. She is a writer who knows that the unknowns in life make for the best stories—and for the most amazing adventures. Her career began writing and editing for publications such as OutsideMen’s JournalMen’s FitnessRolling Stone, and New York Magazine. Chasing those stories from the Atacama Desert in Chile to the Mont Blanc Massif geared her up for her latest gig as Columbia Sportswear’s Director of Toughness.

Zach Doleac
Zach Doleac is an adventure travel and sports photographer (and full-time outdoor junkie) born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After completing a degree in architecture and environmental science at Middlebury College, he headed back west, teaming up with K2 Skis as the company’s Global Team Manager, Marketing Coordinator, and Photographer. Recently, Zach accepted the position of Director of Toughness at Columbia Sportswear to travel the globe putting our gear to the test!

You can follow their journey on or across Columbia’s social channels including: