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From the Soccer Field to the Nonprofit Industry. My Executive Journey Through Passion and Purpose

Updated: Apr 25

Before stepping into the boardroom of the Hanover Area YMCA as the new Chief Operating Officer, I trained and stepped onto soccer fields in the United States and Mexico. Soccer wasn’t just a sport; it was a classroom where I learned about grit, teamwork, and the beauty of diverse cultures. I took a risk by leaving the safety and security of college after my sophomore year for an opportunity at a career in the sport I love. Life decisions were simpler at the age of 19.

Soccer gave me the opportunity to experience many different cultures. From Guadalajara, MX to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, soccer provided a unique window into human aspirations and the distinct nuances of cultural expression. Soccer, much like leadership, is about understanding people. Whether it’s anticipating a teammate’s move on the pitch or understanding the needs of a community as an executive, the core skill is the same: connection. 

The energy of stadiums not only honed my skills as a player but deepened my appreciation for diverse perspectives. This immersion in different cultures instilled in me an intuitive understanding that leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Each individual, team, or community requires a tailored approach, rooted in empathy and respect. 

Transitioning from soccer back into the classroom and now the nonprofit sector seemed like a leap, but the foundational principles remained consistent. The drive to excel, the importance of collaboration, and the commitment to a larger mission. The goal might have shifted from winning games to enacting change, but the game’s essence remained. 

Key takeaways from my journey so far: 

  • People First: Whether on the field or in a boardroom, understanding and valuing people is paramount. 

  • Adaptability: Playing in diverse environments taught me to be agile, a skill I carried into my executive roles, allowing me to navigate challenges with grace.

  • Unified Vision: Just as a soccer team thrives with a shared goal, so does an organization. Crafting and communicating that vision is a leader’s primary task. Without a clear and compelling vision, it’s nearly impossible to galvanize people and resources towards a cause. 

As I grow Loomin Solutions, I look forward to delving deeper into these lessons, sharing anecdotes from the field and the boardroom alike, and fostering a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to growth and impact. 

I invite you to be part of this journey, as we explore the synergies between sport, leadership, and purpose-driven change.

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