Hi everyone, Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to be talking to Shelly Wilson, the founder and CEO of Sports On The Lips who is working on UN SDG 5: Gender Equality. Let’s see how she’s doing it!
Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Shelly! What challenge are you addressing with Sports On The Lips?
Shelly: Thanks for inviting me, Spiffy! At Sports On The Lips, we aim to Empower, Equip, and Elevate women and girls through sports: To help them become leaders they’ve trained their whole lives for. And, in the process, alleviate gender, wage, and wealth inequalities.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Shelly: As a young girl, sports was always part of the conversation because of my dad. I always dreamed of working in the business of sports. But like many girls today I didn’t see women role models because there were too few of them. Fast forward, today I get to use my platform to inspire future leaders.
Spiffy: That must be so fulfilling! Can you elaborate on how you and the company are working towards a more equitable world?
Shelly: Well, the landscape of the sports industry has changed drastically over the past two decades. A $90 billion industry and still growing. Yet we are still seeing few women in leadership in sport and sport-centric organizations. We aim to change this. Our concept—“Coach MVPs into CEOs”—trademark platform addresses the gender diversity gaps to ensure that marginalized women groups are included in the conversation of women in the workforce.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent company milestone or initiative and the impact it makes on your community.
Shelly: Sports On The Lips was a recipient of an Empowerment Grant and Technology from CDW, Intel, and 1871. When I started my venture I knew I needed to build an ecosystem of the right people and organizations to advance our purpose-driven mission. This grant will allow us to re-develop and bring our website in compliance and functionality for our users. We are building community and resources to advance equitable and sustainable opportunities in the world of work.
Spiffy: Congratulations! I’m sure that on your journey so far, you’ve also faced failure and setbacks. Can you tell me about such an experience and what you learned from it?
Shelly: Building a startup from scratch is very challenging. In fact, I launched Sports On The Lips in 2020 without any expertise in technology, but I knew that in order to stay in the game I had to adapt to changes and risks. I don’t like to think of all my starts and stops as failures—I prefer to call them my “wins” and “learnings.”
Spiffy: As you should! Before I let you go today, what is something you've unexpectedly learned from someone recently?
Shelly: I recently learned from my mentor that when all else fails bet on yourself!
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Shelly—it’s been an honor!
Shelly Wilson, the founder and CEO at Sports On The Lips, has been passionate about sports since the age of nine, and is now a mentor and advocate for the voiceless. (First published on the Ladderworks website on April 11, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. 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.