On Sunday, April 2, the Women’s Sports Foundation hosted a Candid Conversation for female student-athletes at Georgetown University featuring Olympic gold medalist rower Esther Lofgren. Candid Conversations is a national program that matches WSF champion athletes with collegiate athletic programs to inspire, educate and provide practical counsel and professional opportunities to female student-athletes.
Esther delivered a personal talk about the intersection of her athletic career and professional life after sport. “This afternoon I want to talk to you about something that is extremely important for you, but that you may not have put a lot of thought into,” opened Esther. “As athletes you’ve developed skills and have tools you may not even be aware of or recognize. You’ve gained a wonderful education in the classroom – but you also have a sports education that will serve you just as well.”
We know girls that participate in sports have increased confidence and higher self-esteem, a more positive body image, better overall physical health and lower rates of obesity, better grades in school, a higher graduation rate and a greater likelihood to attend college. Following college, research shows that women who participated in sports make terrific hires due to skills and leadership characteristics learned through sports, such as discipline, teamwork, determination and a strong work ethic.
Throughout Candid Conversations, student-athletes are encouraged to share their own thoughts, challenges and fears on the transition from sports to a career through an open and “candid” atmosphere. Natalie Clark a junior at Georgetown on the rowing team shared, “For me it was really the first time I’ve asked myself some of those questions: who am I, what do I value, what are going to be my answers to some of these questions interviewers are going to be asking me. It’s never too early to start thinking about these things so it was kind of a wakeup call but also wonderful to hear from Esther and to really think about the ways athletics can help me in the future.”
The day was full of discussions surrounding transition and continuing to excel beyond the collegiate playing field. Candid Conversations provides the women with the knowledge and resources to best promote themselves and the understanding of just how influential their time as an athlete has been. As Esther told them, “Your experiences and capabilities are directly transferable to the workplace. Sports have given us skills and abilities employers desperately need.”
Following the learning event, Georgetown’s Senior Associate Athletics Director for Business and Finance, Sharon Brummell commented, “I think this was absolutely one of the best things we ever could have done for our women here at Georgetown. I think after speaking with a lot of them they thoroughly enjoyed the information that they were given [and] they look forward to having this again.”
The Foundation is excited to continue to grow this initiative and watch it take hold around the country. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please click here.