We are so excited to catch up with (Summer and Winter) Olympian and Muse Lauryn Williams! Lauryn is an entrepreneur and founder of the company Worth Winning, a financial planning company. She also serves as an athlete ambassador for WADA (The World Anti-Doping Agency), a role which recently involved a trip to the Olympics in Rio.
LESKO: I loved the Olympics, but it was my first one. How was your experience in Rio? Highlights/lowlights?
LAURYN: I attended as part of the volunteer squad for WADA. Going in, I was worried that we were in the midst of the largest doping scandal in history. But somehow the true spirit of the Olympics shone through the trouble. WADA had a booth set up right at the entrance of the dining hall — prime real estate! We administered a 10-question WADA quiz for athletes and coaches, and if they got 8/10 correct they won a cool t-shirt. People were upset they couldn’t win two!
Some athletes couldn’t read. In the moment that seemed like a lowlight, but it was a great reminder of how blessed I am, and how blessed Americans are in general. One day I watched someone have a conversation and paraphrase every single question for an athlete who couldn’t read. My heart melted at the mindfulness extended. Another day, two men from different countries worked together despite not speaking the same language. Unbelievable! There were also many Russian athletes who participated in the survey [ed: Much of the Russian Team was banned from competing, due to state-sponsored doping]. I didn’t know how to react at first. I vacillated between anger and confusion. Most of the Russians did very well on the exam, which to me meant they do know about anti doping. They also seemed oblivious to criticism about their participation.
During Track & Field, the lowlight was watching the 400m-world record get broken, and the stadium barely notice. The moment didn’t get the honor or recognition it deserved. It was the Usain Bolt show. But the highlight was being in the stadium and feeling the general excitement. I was grateful to be able to watch the sport I love without any regret or negative emotions about my not being out their competing. I think that means I have gained closure and am ready for the next phase of my life.
LESKO: Can you explain more about your work with WADA? What is the current momentum on #cleansport and how are you feeling about our sport in general?
LAURYN:I am on the WADA Athlete Committee. Our mission is to be the voice of clean athletes worldwide. I am excited about the momentum we gained during the summer, with major athletes speaking up about their intolerance for competitors who dope. It is important that we follow up with those who spoke up, and keep them talking. I also think we need to get more cheats talking. We need them to tell what they know and to share their story because it is just as important as the story of clean athletes. We sometimes ignore the cheaters and I think that is wrong. A cheater’s story could prevent someone who is thinking of cheating from acting on that thought.
LESKO: What exciting new things are you working on with your business? Can you talk about a challenge of being an entrepreneur?
LAURYN: There is a lot of positive energy on the business front. I will be in DC when the Olympians visit the White House. Although I won’t be presenting there, I hope to meet many athletes. I’m rolling out new packages for "just budgeting" and "student loan analysis.” These are two areas that seem to plague young people and prevent them from taking steps toward financial independence. I have also started traveling around the country speaking to student athletes about budgeting. And, I am excited to have been awarded a diversity scholarship from The Financial Planning Association. I am thrilled to plant my feet in this industry and help women and minorities advance in this profession. I went to a financial planning conference earlier this year, and found 3 African American women and one African American man. I didn’t notice any other “people of color” out of over 400 attendees.
No lie, the entrepreneur’s life is HARD! There are so many things one should think about before jumping off the cliff that is business ownership. Once you feel adequately prepared you are likely 15% prepared. You will never be ready enough — probably like parenthood.
LESKO: What is your workout routine these days?
LAURYN: The workout struggle is REAL! Is there a Oiselle group in Dallas? I feel like a baby elephant.
LESKO: What are you most looking forward to this fall?
LAURYN: This fall I am excited about slowing down and regrouping. I have done quite a bit of travel this year. I am trying to keep the fall clear so I have some time to create a strategy for the business, and make my health a priority again.
I’m super grateful for all the fall clothing. I’ll get out and about and start using them…soon. They have provided me with some motivation; part of my problem for awhile was workout clothes that no longer fit. Such a downer. Now I look good again. :-)