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Inspiration. Education. Practical Counsel and Career Resources. Delivered by Champion Athletes.

The WSF hosts the first “Candid Conversations” event at Loyola University with Olympic gold medalist, rowing, Esther Lofgren
The WSF hosts the first “Candid Conversations” event at Loyola University with Olympic gold medalist, rowing, Esther Lofgren

The WSF Athlete Leadership Connection (ALC) is a signature initiative born from the idea that elite athletes can be effective change-makers inside sport and valuable business hires post- competition. The ALC initiative encompasses the Foundation’s portfolio of leadership programs for elite athletes, like Candid Conversations, that culminate in our invitation-only development conference held each October in New York City. These programs cover topics critical to collegiate athletes like personal branding and networking, advocacy in the workplace, and the transition from NCAA athletics to the start of their professional  lives.

Candid Conversations, launched in 2016, matches WSF leadership – champion athletes who made a successful transition from sports to career – with athletic departments across the country to inspire, educate and provide practical counsel and professional opportunities to female college student-athletes.


The Conversation
Champion athletes, like Olympic gold medalists Angela Hucles (soccer) and Esther Lofgren (rowing), deliver a personal talk about the intersection of their athletic careers and professional lives after sport. Their personal experience teaches student- athletes how to translate the invaluable lessons they have learned on the field to success in the workplace. Through an open and “candid” atmosphere, student-athletes are encouraged to share their own thoughts, challenges and fears  on the transition from sports to the career. The Conversation is supplemented by motivational video content featuring leaders in sports and business like Carla Harris, Michelle Kwan and Billie Jean King.

The Workshop
With support from WSF staff, the champion athlete leads student- athletes through a workshop on the identification and exploration of their unique narrative, long-term goals and personal values and assets. With this new discovery, attendees learn to shape and sell themselves to potential employers. a key aspect to making a smooth and guided step from sport to career and life.

Talent & Recruitment
The HR session of Candid Conversations connects these valuable and talented soon-to-be- graduates with leading companies and helps position them as top candidates for employment now and in the future. According to 2016 Gallup research released in partnership with the NCAA, 48 percent of female former collegiate student-athletes report feeling engaged at work, compared with 41 percent of female non-athletes. That engagement generally translates into productivity, loyalty and success.

Candid Conversations are presented to a captive audience of female NCAA student-athletes. They represent various ages – freshmen to seniors — and a spectrum of fields of study, including business, education, law and STEM. Athletes might be the first in their families to attend college; others might be preparing for graduate school or even, professional sports. With both inspiration and tactical advice, Candid Conversations answers the universal question the vast majority of student-athletes face upon graduation: what will life be like after sport?

Learn more about the Candid Conversations 2016 Pilot Program launch here.

Are you a student-athlete preparing for life after college? Check out our resources designed to help you  shape and sell yourself to potential employers, a key step to making a smooth transition from sports to career.

ALC’s Candid Conversations: Your Resume
ALC’s Candid Conversations: The Interview