Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hi there! Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Myriam Glez, the founder of Athletes Soul. Let’s see what she is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Myriam, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is Athletes Soul addressing?
Myriam: Hi Spiffy, it's great to be here! Athletes Soul's mission is to support athletes as they transition away from sports, raise awareness about the challenges of athletic retirement, and to encourage athletes to develop their lives beyond sports. We support athletes from all sports and levels at no cost to the athletes. We offer them educational resources, coaching, and networking opportunities.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Myriam: I personally had two retirements from sports. The first one wasn't my choice and was very difficult. I have witnessed hundreds of athletes struggle with their athletic retirement and finding purpose and happiness in life beyond sports. Athletes Soul is our response and way of developing a pay-it-forward system for athletes.
Spiffy: Sports are a great way to go outdoors and see the world. How would you say that your organization is building a more equitable world?
Myriam: We offer free educational, coaching, and networking opportunities for athletes of all levels and backgrounds to ensure they are as successful in their life after sports. We believe athletes, regardless of their backgrounds, display incredible skills of resilience, determination, creativity, and hard work. We want them to thrive in life and continue to positively impact society after they retire from their sports.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone of Athletes Soul. What impact does it make?
Myriam: This year, we launched our “Beyond Sports” program, a personal development and emotional resiliency program, for competing athletes. We have already run three cohorts and are planning for eight cohorts next year to support 100 athletes.
Spiffy: That’s a lot of sports! Sports can be about winning or losing. Please share an experience when you faced a failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Myriam: As an athlete, I had many moments of failure: injuries, not making the cut, or performing poorly in competitions. One year, I made a major mistake at an international competition, and this mistake followed me for a while and impacted my ability to make the team roster. But these failures are really important because they teach you to push harder, continue to move forward, and be more creative. In each of these situations, my failure taught me that I needed to change something and couldn't achieve what I wanted by doing the same thing. It is an opportunity to truly assess what and how you are doing and make the necessary changes that will allow you to move forward.
Spiffy: What is something you've unexpectedly learned from someone recently?
Myriam: The lesson that keeps coming up is to look at people around you and truly connect with them. Try to go deeper than the usual conversation, learn about what interests them, but also how they think, what they fear, what excites them. The deeper I connect with people the more I learn. But also, the more I realize people are incredible. We are more similar than different — regarding beliefs, background, and culture. We all have dreams, fears, passions, and want the best for our families.
Spiffy: I want the best for everyone too. Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Myriam: In life, it's important to dream big and be creative. There are so many interesting things to do and a million ways to do things. So, let your mind wander, find your passion, and pursue it fiercely and creatively because each one of us will figure out our own way to do that thing.
Myriam Glez is a native of France but also a citizen of Australia and the USA. She competed in Synchronized Swimming for 20 years. She finished fourth at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with France and seventh at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She worked in the hotel industry before returning to the sports world to help the GB team at the 2012 Olympics. She was the CEO of USA Synchronized Swimming before founding Athletes Soul and more recently Coaches Soul. (Nominated by Richard Siganto of iSponsor. First published on the Ladderworks website on September 9, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jason “Jackson” Block. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.