2018 DePreist Award of Excellence
Chairman of the Board, Columbia Sportswear Company
Gert Boyle is an innovative business leader who values excellence as a professional and is a dedicated philanthropist who also values excellence in service to our community. She is the Chair of Columbia Sportswear, a leading innovator in global apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment business with annual sales of more than $2.4 billion. Her leadership within Oregon’s community has created far-reaching impact for several decades.
At the age of 13, Gert Boyle and her family fled Nazi Germany and moved to Portland, Oregon. In 1938, her parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, purchased a small hat company and renamed it Columbia, after the river that inspired their new home. After attending the University of Arizona, Gert and her husband, Neal Boyle, returned to Oregon, where Neal joined the family business and Gert raised their three children. After the death of Gert’s father, Neal became president of the company. Six years later, at the age of 47, he died of a heart attack, and suddenly, Gert found herself at the helm of a financially struggling company. Her son Tim, while still in college, returned to Portland to help Gert run the business.
Today Columbia Sportswear is a leading global seller of outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment with annual sales of more than $2.4 billion. Now an industry icon, Gert Boyle has become 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, has been inducted into the Global Business Hall of Fame, was awarded Portland’s First Citizen Award, and received the Women of Achievement Award from the Oregon Commission for Women.