Risa Shimoda is a Stanford University-educated product design engineer turned stakeholder choreographer for businesses and organizations through The Shimoda Group. She trained as a consumer products marketer at Procter & Gamble, M&M/Mars and Coca-Cola USA before directing marketing, sales and product development for kayaks and paddlesports accessories at Perception, the world’s largest kayak manufacturer. She has served twice as Executive Director of American Whitewater, initially helping the nationwide river advocacy group grow from a dwindling core of about 30 members to thousands of members today. In this role, she represented river users in the relicensing of hydropower projects and pursued the right of public access on precedent-setting cases. She pioneered corporate support for AW and developed its first event-based business model for what is still the largest river-based fundraising event in the United States.
Risa contributes to engineering design solutions for river restoration and enhancement projects. She organizes and facilitates public meetings, serves as the stakeholder liaison, and helps project advocates develop funding strategies and plans. As Executive Director for the River Management Society, has transformed an organization and program designed by and for federal and state agency staff into one that provides products and services for private industry, educators, river trails and watershed professionals and the stakeholders they serve. For the RMS, she coordinates national symposiums and regional workshops.
Risa has also spearheaded new programs that include:
Risa also helped found the Cross Watershed Network, an innovative collaborative of watershed partnerships that facilitates peer learning among watershed practitioners.
Risa chairs the USA Freestyle Kayaking Committee, the International Whitewater Hall of Fame Board of Governors, and chaired the Potomac Whitewater Festival for six years. She has helped teach whitewater boating to severely wounded veterans with Team River Runner for ten years. She has served on numerous outdoor industry and conservation organization boards from 1991 to the present, and has competed on the US Whitewater Freestyle Team at eight World Freestyle Kayaking Championships (1993-2015).
Publications and Press
Ms. Shimoda has published articles and been profiled for her work in Canoe & Kayak, Paddler, Kayak, Paddle Dealer, Paddlesports Business, Kayak Session, Southern Living, Blue Ridge Outdoors, Rapid Magazine, Paddlinglife, River Management Journal, and Outdoor Life Network. Events she has produced have been covered by The Today Show, The Washington Post, Washington Times, Washington DC’s Metro Sports Gazette, World Kayak, Comcast, The New York Times, and USA Today.