A Few Rad Women

For Women's History Month, we spoke with the inspiring women who put the power in Rad Power Bikes.

It takes a special kind of person to help guide the world’s raddest electric bike brand.

 

Luckily, Rad Power Bikes is filled with inspiring women leaders who have worked hard, conquered challenges, and created space for their voices to be heard. 

 

We sat down with a few to listen to what drives them. Wait until you hear their stories ...

 

 

  

1. Quan Ralkowski

Director of Business Operations & Technology 

 

 

 

What's a challenge you've overcome or an accomplishment you're particularly proud of?

 

As a woman of color in technology, I've learned how to make sure I have a seat at the table and my voice is heard. Knowing where I can have the biggest impact is a high priority for me. I've been deliberate and thoughtful with my career choices including, the teams I've built and the companies I choose to work for.

 

Making it onto the Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 Under 40 was an incredible honor and something I'm proud of. Being recognized for the influence I've made in companies culture, operations and technology has validated the important concept of having women and people of color at every level.

 

What's something outside of work that you’re passionate about or enjoy doing and why?

 

I can be found early mornings and weekends jumping my horse, Westie, and training for the next competition! I'm currently ranked number 4 in my division in Washington.

 

Being at the barn with my daughters is a great way to bond with them and get outside.

 

When I'm riding, I have to tune everything out and concentrate on my connection with Westie. I have to be balanced and relaxed since he can feel my moods. This forces me to get out of my head, breathe in and enjoy the moment. Plus, being competitive, I'm always working on improving my skills as I chase the next blue ribbon.

 

What words of empowerment do you have for the next generation of women?  

 

Build a village, a tribe, a gang, a band, a pack of fierce women in your life. Co-workers, family, friends, mentors -- whoever they are lean on them and let them lean on you. Help guide, support and cheer each other through challenges and when you've reached success, turn around and lend your hand to the woman behind you!

 

My mom was truly superwoman and from day one taught me the valuable lessons of giving back when you can. Her motto was always to strive for success and once you get there, reach back and help the next person. I carry that with me through my career, as I mentor other women just starting theirs.

 

 

2. Sarah Troedson Haynes 

Senior Manager, Accounting

 

 

 

What's something outside of work that you’re passionate about?

 

Making art is an outlet for me - be it writing, photography, or music.

 

Singing brings me untold joy; a sense of meeting an urgent and inherent need, and expressing myself in a way that outlets parts of who I am that I don't dig into as often in my "normal" life as a mom and a professional. It also serves as a spiritual tie to my Mama who I lost to cancer a number of years ago and who was a professional opera singer herself. 

 

I'm a vocalist in a blues band here in Seattle. Back in Minnesota, where I recently moved from, I sang in an acapella women's choir called Prairie Fire Lady Choir. We performed at local clubs, singing 3-part harmony covers of songs by artists like Bowie, Prince, Sleater Kinney, Bikini Kill, and Devo. 

 

What's a challenge you've overcome or an accomplishment you're particularly proud of?

 

I'm particularly proud of having cultivated a reputation as someone who's reliable, knowledgeable, detailed and precise. As a person willing and interested in taking on hard challenges and weird projects, that's really been helpful.

 

This has twice led me to very unique opportunities -- one being a summer my family spent in Romania when I was engaged to solve a messy foreign currency issue in the new enterprise resource planning project my employer had implemented.

 

The other was a similar 18-month project in Sao Paulo, Brazil where I helped resolve a host of financial reporting, foreign currency and process issues that were contributing to frustrating and frequent delays and inaccuracies.

 

I was humbled and honored in both cases to be identified by leaders as the person most capable in the organization to be the dedicated, boots-on-the-ground resource for these projects.

 

Ultimately, it's rewarding to be highly valued for what you enjoy and do well.

   

What recommendations or words of empowerment do you have for the next generation of women?  

 

Get it done. Don't wait for permission, from yourself, your peers, or society.

 

Be scrappy - there's always a path forward! Embrace any feelings of inadequacy, awkwardness or impostorism. Own it and use it as the fuel to prove to yourself and others that you got this. 

 

And when you know the answer, say so. Stop saying "sorry."

 

 

3. Erica Boyd

Manager of Retail Showroom Seattle

 

 

 

Who inspired you or encouraged you to chase a goal or passion?

 

My mom inspires me every day. She's my biggest cheerleader and the biggest role model in life. Being raised by a single mom, you get to see real fast what a strong woman looks like.

 

She's also the reason why I'm so passionate about bikes. After jumping into the industry 30 years ago, she's now a partner at the oldest bike store in Eugene, Oregon.

 

Had it not have been for her bravery, I don't know know if I would have never been exposed to cycling. Now I want to let every little girl or kid of color know you can be a part of this! This is accessible to you, to anyone really! Don’t be afraid to take that leap even if it is into something that you have never seen anyone who looks like you do before. You can be the first and I guarantee if you are, you definitely won't be the last.

 

What's a challenge you've overcome or an accomplishment you're particularly proud of?

 

I've been in the retail game for over 20 years, most of which was spent in consumer electronics, which is predominantly a male-dominated field. As a woman, a woman of color, a queer woman of color, I've faced a lot of adversity in my career.

 

What I hang my hat on is that I never gave up! The more I was passed up for positions, projects or even knowledgeable interactions with customers, the more I was fueled to prove that I'm the best person for the job. It's strengthened my inner confidence, forcing me to grow outside of my comfort zone and be okay with so-called "failure." I'm a better manager, teammate, and person because I know that giving up is not an option, nor is taking the easy way.

 

What's something outside of work that you are passionate about?

 

Sneakers! I'm a sneakerhead. Collecting brings back such nostalgia and joy for me, especially when a rework Retro style from the ’80s and 90’s come back into rotation.

 

In the last decade, the industry has finally started to provide sneakers in women's sizes. We still have work to do but now you have some major sneakerhead women out there showing they're just as influential as their male counterparts.

 

The fact that it's more inclusive now than ever before is a testament to women fighting to be seen, heard and included in places, companies, sports that we never were able to occupy space in before. 

 

 

4. Mary Fenton

Senior Manager, Content Marketing

 

 

 

What's a challenge you've overcome or an accomplishment you're particularly proud of?

 

Before coming to Rad Power Bikes, I spent a decade at ESPN. I'm proud that I brought "real" journalism to action sports by fighting for and finding them a home across channels and platforms. That introduced a large, new audience to incredible athletes and their stories.

 

What's something outside of work that you are passionate about?

 

Snowboarding has been a big part of my life for almost 30 years. It's taught me humility, perseverance, survival, and perspective above all else -- I go into the mountains to lose my mind and find my soul. John Muir said that. I can't take credit, but damn it's good.

  

Who inspired you or encouraged you to chase a goal or passion and why?

 

Aside from my family, who are my biggest champions through thick and thin, I've always looked up to a bunch of weirdos and OG content creators like Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Jarmusch, and Stanley Kubrick. Writers, filmmakers, musicians, and the like for whom there is no substitute.

 

What recommendations or words of empowerment do you have for the next generation of women?

 

Work hard. When it gets tough, work harder. But always do you.

 

 

5. Sunny Delaney

Email Marketing Manager

 

 

What's something outside of work that you’re passionate about?

 

I love running and travel, and often combine both.

 

It’s great to experience new places and take on new challenges. My husband and I hiked the Inca Trail in 2014, climbed Kilimanjaro in 2017 and Mount Fuji in 2019, and I’m 37 states into a 50-state half marathon challenge. Someday I’ll get out to Maine!

 

Summits and finish lines are big goals, but you soon realize that the planning and training leading up to them are key. I love pushing myself and trying new things.

 

Who inspired you or encouraged you to chase a goal?

 

The list is huge, but one key inspiration is my undergraduate advisor at the University of Washington, George Behlmer. He’s smart, funny, humble, a great teacher, and a fierce competitor. He inspired me to go to grad school, and to try running (though I resisted it for years!).

 

What's a challenge you've overcome or an accomplishment you're particularly proud of?

 

When I was at T-Mobile I moved from writing and editing the website copy to helping manage the look and feel of the US brand. I managed photoshoots, weighed in on signage, coordinated a brand refresh, and, yes, knew a lot about magenta.

 

I’ve never had a single career path, but rather stretched myself to keep learning new skills.

 

What recommendations or words of empowerment do you have for the next generation of women?

 

Don’t be afraid to try new things and stretch yourself. Don’t feel you need to have a clear career path. Look for what you can learn from every situation, and keep yourself open to new ideas and experiences.

 

 

 

Want to hear the story of another Rad woman? Marley Blonsky is an activist fighting cycling's body image problem.

Subscribe and follow along.

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