Growth & Comfort do not co-exist

There are few organizations attempting to harness the potential that women athletes bring to leadership roles in the corporate arena, but I know of two: Ernst & Young (EY) and the International Women’s Forum (IWF). Together, they created the Women Athletes Business Network (WABN).

According to EY and espnW, 94% of women in the C-suite played sport and 74% of executive women say a background in sport can help accelerate a women’s career. I believe that the third female member of the Augusta National Golf Club; Ginni Rometty, the Chairman, President, and CEO of IBM, may have first learned that “growth and comfort do not co-exist” through sport, and that lesson has positively contributed to her professional success.

The WABN program is designed to provide a year of support and guidance to a select group of 25 elite athletes, including world record holders, Olympians, and National Champions; to enable them execute their leadership skills in a new arena and further advance their corporate careers.

Each woman is paired with an IWF leader for a personalized mentoring and training experience. I was selected to join the 2018 cohort, and it was incredible! This year was packed with experiences to enable and accelerate my growth as a leader.

Some of the highlights, for me, included meeting with my mentor, a leader with IWF and her company; for an hour each month; and capping off the experience by spending a week with the other WABNs and 800 members of the IWF. In this final week, we were immersed in workshops, panel discussions, and networking. Most importantly, this was a year that created and dedicated space to be vulnerable and provided a time and place to be surrounded by ambitious and passionate women from around the world, that relentlessly strive for excellence.

This unique program just completed its fourth year. I believe it will unleash exceptional potential that will benefit communities around the world. It is said best by Melinda Gates, “when we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.”

If you are an elite athlete, or know a woman that is – encourage her to apply to this program before November 26th!


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