The Recipe for Success | The Kazmira ‘Kaz’ Krawchuk Interview

From Economics to Actions Sports Communication Manager at Monster Energy

The Luminaries Series is about shining a light on some of the most inspirational people in our industry, documenting their rise in their given professions, and sharing some of their insights from along the way.


If there’s one thing this series has highlighted so far, it’s that there’s no singular path that leads to a career in the snowboard industry. Take Kazmira ‘Kaz’ Krawchuk, for example. After graduating from university with a degree in economics, she did something many of us can probably relate to: put the career plans on hold, headed to the mountains, and snowboarded for as long as the bank balance allowed.

“There’s no singular path that leads to a career in the snowboard industry”

Fast forward to today and Kaz has now spent over a decade working for the industry, and currently heads up the action sports communications at Monster Energy. Working with some of the biggest athletes in the action sports industry, Kaz is able to help athletes realise and fulfil their goals and dreams, whilst working with some of the most empowering people out there. This is her story.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Kaz. First of all, do you want to tell us a bit about your job and what it is that you do?
I am in charge of the action sports communication at Monster Energy which entails working with our incredible athletes to produce amazing content and to build our events and our projects into credible ideas for not only the scene that already engages in action sports but show the incredible talent that we work with to a wider audience.

How did you get here?
I was a bit of a bum snowboarder when I left university. I finished my degree in Economics and all I wanted to do was snowboard. I was working with the British University Snowsport council when I left uni and I remember being on one of the trips. The sponsors of the event were Nike and Skullcandy, and I got talking with someone who worked for the agency that represented those brands. A guy called Jimmy Goodrich. He actually sort of put his boss in touch with me, a guy called, Paul Knipe who owns the agency that at the time was called Kaos and now called Kink Agency, and I thought, ‘wow, that is such a cool job to work with these amazing brands that support an industry’. That, for me, at that time, was my whole life.

“It’s just an honour to be able to work with such amazing talent across the broad and to think that I got all that just because I love snowboarding”

When I got the opportunity to try out for an internship based in London I jumped at the chance and worked for three months unpaid for Kaos. This was at the time when Kaos also worked with an agency called .Inc and Kristoffer Hansson, who manages the Helgason brothers [Halldor and Eiki Helgason] and most of the biggest Scandinavian snowboarders, or European snowboarders actually.

The Helgason brothers were just releasing ‘Sexual Snowboarding’ and it was this incredible movement of young up and coming filming crews that were, for me, the most inspiring people. I remember thinking that scene was so cool, as was the chance to work with them and the brands.

They started producing 7/9/13 when I was working with them and we did PR for Lobster Snowboards and Switchback Bindings. I worked for a couple of years in PR for these amazing brands and then I got the opportunity to join Monster Energy.

I’ve been there for 9 years now and the job just keeps on getting better and better. I get to work with world-class athletes, I get to work on global scale projects and I get to build up the most amazing events that we work with. It’s just an honour to be able to work with such amazing talent across the board and to think that I got all that just because I love snowboarding. It’s pretty cool.

What was your plan? Did you have a plan or did things just happen?
Anybody who knows me would tell you I never have a plan. I roll with the punches. I’m very much a ‘no-plan kinda gal’ and I think that’s why I haven’t stressed too much because I have no career intention.

“Anybody who knows me would tell you I never have a plan”

I’m super proud of what I get to do now and every day I get to work with incredible people. It’s a real blessing and as long as I can keep working in the industry that gives me so much joy, I hope to put as much happiness back into the industry as I get from it. That’s just my whole lifestyle, my culture, and being able to be inspired by what these guys and girls are doing on their boards is really the coolest things I can imagine doing with my life.

Did you have some sort of ‘aha’ moment when you realised that this is the industry you want to work within?
I think there was, and I think it was probably at the event. I wish I could remember what it was called because that was obviously a very pivotal moment suddenly realising that you could work within snowboarding.

This is twelve years ago. We used to do these events called the Spring Sessions, it might have been one of them. It was just when I finished university and I think it was in Tignes at the time. I met Jimmy and found out what he did for a living, being like a brand manager and doing marketing for these cool brands, and I think that’s when I realised it was a viable option to make money.

Obviously, you know, my parents were like ‘What, you’re not going to go and become an economist with your economics degree?’, and I was like ‘No, fuck that I’m going to go and work in snowboarding’. But as it turns out they’re now pretty stoked about what I did.

How has it been to work so closely with top athletes?
It’s really rad. These guys are really pushing the boundaries of what is possible in action sports. Action sports in particular has just gone meteoric in the last ten years with a change in content production so each of the athletes is now their own media because of their ability to represent themselves and promote themselves on their own social media platforms.

“I think it’s super awesome that we, the action sports team at Monster, can help them realise their dreams in a way”

I think it’s super awesome that we, the action sports team at Monster, can help them realise their dreams in a way. If they have this filming project they’ve been dreaming of, if they wanted to make an event happen with their friends, or if they want to travel somewhere to take part in something. We get to work with really cool media platforms to create a cool filming concept and it’s just so incredible that we can offer them these solutions now.

It was super difficult in the ’90s, early 2000s, for athletes because at the time they were so dictated by their sponsors and media and now it’s really collaborative. We work with the athletes, with the content producers, with the media, and its all just sort of one organic fit to promote the athlete and essentially them doing cool shit. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the last decade when this kind of content explosion and digital explosion has given such a presence to so many people who would probably otherwise have struggled a lot harder to be seen.

So, if some of your athletes have an idea for new cool content, they can pitch it to you and Monster can try and make that happen?
Yes totally. It’s really collaborative how we work with our athletes. We have a great action sports team at Monster where we basically figure out what the athletes want to achieve in the year coming and we try and work out budget-wise how we can make it happen. We also work with huge global level events like Audi Nines, X Games, so we kind of try and schedule that the guys get time for the events, time to work on their own projects, and really try and help them to make it all happen in a year.

Have you got any favourite moments working with Monster, moments when you’ve gone ‘this is why I love what I do’?
Can I say what were my real favourite moments!? I mean there’s definitely been some crazy parties through the years. We’ve had a good time. It would be hard for you to find someone who doesn’t say that Monster throws good parties.

“The best recipe for success is to be confident, and I hope that I bring that to the table”

And working with Jamie Anderson. I think that she is one of the most inspiring people in snowboarding, and not even female snowboarding, just snowboarding. The consistency and the fire and the level that she brings to the world of snowboarding, it’s just… Every year I get to work with her, we’re doing X Games or Audi Nines and she just has this aura about her. It’s been really cool to be able to work with her over the years and see her progress in real-time.

Also, working on passion projects like The Scandalnavians Two and to work with all the sort of up-and-coming snowboarders in Scandinavia and some of the old dogs. The original Scandalnavins was so seminal back in the day and to have worked on the second one was super cool.

As a woman, have you ever come across any discrimination in your job?
I really can’t say that I have. I don’t know if I’ve been particularly lucky because I know it’s out there. I’ve definitely always been given the time and respect to be heard in my role. I mean, of course, there are people out there who are just dickheads, let’s be honest. But it’s never felt to be a gender-based form of being a dickhead, they’re just dickheads.

I’ve never felt like any part of my working world has been made worse because I’m a woman. I think women get taken pretty seriously nowadays, especially if you are good at what you do. The best recipe for success is to be confident, and I hope that I bring that to the table. But when I was young and starting out I didn’t know things and acting humble and appreciative when you don’t know much is also important.

“The way that the industry becomes equal is by paying your top athletes equally, equal representation in the media”

I have definitely been proud, and this hasn’t crossed over into snowboarding yet, but back in 2018 when WSL announced that women and men would get equal prize money. They were the first global sport to lay that down in history and I’m super proud to have been part of that and to work with female surfers who compete on the tour and who were part of gaining that momentum. The equality has only made surfing grow stronger and all I can say is: other sports, take note.

The way that the industry becomes equal is by paying your top athletes equally, equal representation in the media. The scene can become equal but only when you can look up to heroes with who you feel an association, whether it’s gender-related or not. It could be nationality, it could be the clothes they wear, the brands they support, whatever.

Finding representation that you can connect with from a young age is what is going to make equality across the board happen naturally and I think that can start with equal prize money for top athletes. I just don’t think it should be a conversation anymore. I think surfing’s done it, proving it’s a huge success and now it’s time for other sports to take note. So listen up, snowboarding.

“A double back cork is a double back cork, whether you’re a chick or a dude it’s sick as fuck”

I’ve always campaigned for equality through all the sports and representation that we get. I’ve campaigned for women to be thought of as completely equal in every part of the marketing process that I am involved in within Monster. On a personal level, I’ve always tried to, through my job and working with both chicks and dudes, represent both genders completely equally and never discriminate by thinking something would be better for a man than a woman. That’s not how it is. I kind of try and take gender out of the conversation, if possible. A double back cork is a double back cork, whether you’re a chick or a dude it’s sick as fuck.

I’m very much aware that the action sports industry isn’t female-dominated, but with the number of women coming up in the industry, working, getting high-level managerial jobs, events and so on. The sports we work in are so male-dominated and with the changes that are happening now, I’m proud that I can be part of a positive inclusion and equal compensation within Monster, with the athletes and the brands.

What changes would you like to see in the industry going forward?
Equal prize money and more inclusion in crews. Back in the days when you watched snowboard movies and you had these kinds of legends of female snowboarders that would be involved in snowboard films just for the sake of their incredible snowboarding. I hope we see a bit more of that. Even though there are pretty established crews it would be cool to see more chicks invited to have parts in the edits. It’s harder to make ways to be inclusive if we don’t see men and women snowboarding together.

Have you got any advice for the next generation that would like to get involved in the industry?
I would say, don’t be intimidated. Find the scene, a crew, a brand, a project that makes you super excited and find a way to be around it. Whether it’s interning or giving up your time for free or helping out where you can. When you find something that makes you excited that will rub off on everyone around you, and opportunities will come from you being stoked. Don’t be intimidated even when it seems like you might not have a chance to get there. If you think it’s a super exciting world to be around, just get yourself in there in whatever way you can.


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