CEO commentary: My background as a competitive dancer made me the entrepreneurial talent I am today

When I grew up, I was a Flying Danish Super Kid. I’m not kidding; it’s actually a thing. I grew up next to the place that would incubate the best gymnasts and performers of a generation. Think Cirque de Soleil meets Scandinavian noir groove. After training with them from age four, I shifted metier - to the world of competitive dancing. I stuck with it well into my teens. My high school friends would always joke that I was covered in glitter every Monday after taking part in competitions during the weekend. Glitter was something you earned the right to wear as you moved up the ranks. Needless to say, it’s hard to wash off, and I constantly looked like a walking snowglobe.

When I grew up, I was a Flying Danish Super Kid. I’m not kidding; it’s actually a thing. I grew up next to the place that would incubate the best gymnasts and performers of a generation. Think Cirque de Soleil meets Scandinavian noir groove. After training with them from age four, I shifted metier – to the world of competitive dancing.

 

Statistics tell us that there is a strong correlation between competitive sports and success in business. According to Fortune, 65 % of female CEO took part in competitive sports, and an astonishing 80 % of Fortune’s Top 500 took part in competitive sports at some stage in their lives. Competitive sports are paramount for strength (physical and mental), perseverance, and competitiveness. I made huge sacrifices to stay relevant in the world of dancing in my teenage years. No parties and no drinking, watching your diet and practicing five days per week.

 

Statistics tell us that there is a strong correlation between competitive sports and success in business. According to Fortune, 65 % of female CEO took part in competitive sports, and an astonishing 80 % of Fortune’s Top 500 took part in competitive sports at some stage in their lives.

 

More importantly, the camaraderie and lifelong friendships that competitive sports result in are unique. Today, I am committed to how we, using sports, can help change the world for the better by building stronger friendships; appreciating our differences and similarities, and being united (or uniting) behind a common goal. At sporting events, we see the spectrum from players to fans.  Professional athletes are giving their all and still face discrimination, exclusion sexism, homophobia, and racism. I am committed to change now.

 

To help combat discrimination, exclusion, sexism, homophobia, and racism, we are launching a sports cluster in our studentLAB under the headline Sports for Development and Peace. It will be our 8th area of focus alongside:

 

  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Climate & the Ocean
  • Technology, AI and Humanity
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship
  • Democracy & Human Rights
  • Mental Health and General Well-being
  • Space Exploration

 

Sports for Development and Peace is defined as ”the intentional use of sport, physical activity and play to attain specific development and peace objectives, including, most notably, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Successful Sport for Development and Peace programs work to realize the rights of all members of society to participate in sport and leisure activities. Effective programs intentionally give priority to development objectives and are carefully designed to be inclusive. These programs embody the best values of sports while upholding the quality and integrity of the sport experience”.

 

We will soon be announcing our first set of partners who will join us in launching the Sports for Development Cluster. They join over 130 existing partners of studentLAB. We have been working closely with KC Social Impact LAB in curating the founding group of organizations. Partner at KC Social Impact Lab said the following about the potential impact of Sports for Development and digital learning:

 

“Sports can be utilized as a vehicle for providing marginalized youth the tools to take optimal advantage of social and economic advancement opportunities. Results to date have demonstrated that sports can have a transformational effect in this context – improving the well-being of both youths as participants and their communities more broadly.  Sports for Development Programs place special emphasis on imparting life skills including teamwork, discipline, self-esteem, and other values that improve employability. The transformational nature of these efforts will allow CanopyLAB and its partners to achieve social and economic development benefits including conflict resolution, gender equity, violence prevention, education, health and wellness, and social inclusion.”  ~ Fabian Koss

 

Sports can be utilized as a vehicle for providing marginalized youth the tools to take optimal advantage of social and economic advancement opportunities. Results to date have demonstrated that sports can have a transformational effect in this context – improving the well-being of both youths as participants and their communities more broadly.

 

Every day, I actively leverage my experience from my days of competitive dancing in my current capacity as CEO of CanopyLAB to further develop the business, make alliances and partnerships, guide our growing team, and handle the many ups and downs. Oh, and I still dance. While I leave the hard stuff to the professionals that I frequently get to enjoy at the Royal Danish Ballet, my boys Elliott and Atlas and I dance every morning and every evening to loud music. It’s the best way to start and end the day.

 

Want to take a sneak-peak at the free courses on studentLAB, sign up here.