Today we have our second addition to our newest feature, GladiatHer Grads, and she’s a dynamic sports writer who’s taken her passion for dance and people to help carve out a growing career in the sports industry that improves on the lives of others. Meet Nicole Powell!
Nicole, what college did you attend and what sport did you play?
I attended Rider University where I was the co-captain of the women’s and men’s basketball dance team.
Dancing can be quite physically demanding. How was it essentially dancing for two teams and balancing school?
It was physically and emotionally taxing. We were a co-ed team, and I had a larger build than some of the other female dancers, so I used to beat up on myself for not being naturally thin. I’m so happy we live in an era when there are athletes who don’t fit a particular mold. I will say, I had great teammates. We built such a great camaraderie and helped each other be great dancers. We were each other’s accountability partners.
Being surrounded by good people really does make a big difference when dealing with self-image issues. So glad sports helped you be comfortable in the skin you’re in! What’s the biggest lesson you learned from being a student-athlete?
This is a no-brainer, but it really is hard work. There’s so much pressure to stay fit, get good grades, be the best at your sport, and if you can find time, be involved on campus. I didn’t even mention having a social life. My biggest takeaway was learning the importance of being organized and knowing that I couldn’t say “yes” to everything. I eventually burned out and became depressed because of the pressure. It’s ok to scale things down. Your education comes first.
What are you doing professionally these days?
Today, I’m a Health and Wellness Events Manager and also Founder of TheSportstyle.com — an aspirational sports lifestyle blog. I’m all about positivity and enriching people to realize their highest potential to be the best versions of themselves.
GladiatHers.com LOVES TheSportstyle.com!! How has being a student-athlete helped you find success in your career?
It truly helped me realize the importance of teamwork and moving as a unit. In dance, unless you’re performing a solo, everyone’s eyes are on the entire squad to see if the group is in-sync, hitting their marks, and fluid. Just like in business, the team’s performance is stronger and leaves a greater impression if everyone is tight and not trying to outshine their counterparts.
I think in this society people definitely tend to undervalue the importance of teamwork. Where would you like to be professionally in the next 5 years?
I aspire for TheSportstyle.com to be a leading multimedia destination for aspirational content on professional athletes. Additionally, I hope to successfully run my own or operate a professional athlete’s non-profit enriching the youth through sports, the arts, wellness, and technology.
You seem like you’ve got a great hold on life after college athletics, was it difficult for you to initially make that transition?
The transition for me was seamless because I realized being an athlete wasn’t my strength. Being in a position of leadership and understanding the business aspect of sports was better suited my skill set.
Knowing your strengths is so key! What advice would you give to current and upcoming female student athletes?
I encourage anyone who has a rigorous lifestyle to surround themselves with people who will serve as their cheering squad — positive friends and family who are not judgmental and want you to succeed. Being a go-getter and competing to be your personal best is tough enough and can make you feel like you’re on an island. There will be outside influences that will try to make you feel like you’re less than because you’re a woman and in many instances, a woman of color. Having that cheering squad can help you stay focused on what you came to achieve and give you the boost to get over life’s hurdles.
And lastly, don’t forget to have fun! Why make all of these huge sacrifices of your time, energy, and effort if you’re not going to enjoy it?
That’s great advice! So how can folks keep up with you on social media?
Thanks so much for your time Nicole! We love how you’re bringing a unique perspective to the sports conversation and also working to improve the lifestyles and wellness of those around you. You’re a prime example of how sports can enrich lives and provide for personal development. Keep up the great work. We’ll definitely be watching!