Allyson Felix and Chloe Kim on Building Careers Through Womens Sports

Allyson Felix and Chloe Kim on Building Careers Through Womens Sports

Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track and field athlete in Olympic in history with seven gold medal wins from 2012 to 2021, retired from her sport earlier this year but promptly shifted her focus to a new competitive landscape: the business world.

Felix has launched a women’s lifestyle brand, Saysh, that is designed to cater to the needs of female athletes and active women. Speaking about her career transition at Variety‘s Sports and Entertainment Breakfast on July 21, Felix expressed her excitement for the growing number of opportunities that await star female athletes as media personalities, investors and entrepreneurs when they decide to come off the field.

Snowboarding star Chloe Kim, who has two gold medals to date, also appeared at the event, presented by City National Bank at the Maybourne in Beverly Hills, to discuss her burgeoning career as a content producer and the experience of growing up in the public eye as a young female athlete in an unconventional sport.

Felix emphasized that there is, as ever, many issues to scale toward gender equality in sports and business, as demonstrated by Felix’s public conflict with Nike in 2019 over the shoe giant’s lack of maternal leave policy its sponsored athletes. She called her former sponsor out publicly in a New York Times op-ed, a spur that drove the House of Swoosh to implement her proposal as general policy about five months later.

“It just shows the power of your voice and mine,” Felix said during the Q&A with Jenelle Riley, Variety‘s deputy awards and features editor. “You can bring about change and sometimes relatively quickly.”

Felix’s many years of experience with discipline, planning and execution has prepared her well for entering the competitive arena of athletic shoes with her Sasyh One line. As they prepared to launch the shoe line, she learned that the vast majority of running footwear is made from uniform shoe patterns that are almost always based on male feet. Not so for Saysh.

Felix said her that her company directly addresses the issue of women whose feet grow in size after during pregnancy and sometimes after childbirth. The company vows to a free pair of sneakers in a new size to all customers who become pregnant. “You don’t have to choose between motherhood and being a woman,” Felix said.

The decorated Olympian did not hide her enthusiasm for her new challenge of being the public face of her business and the chance to put her advocacy for female-friendly work policies into action at Saysh.

“I’m empowered go down this course,” she said. “This is such a great new challenge.”

Kim and her longtime manager Lowell Taub, of Stoked Management, spoke about Kim’s unlikely career path. From her start as an unusually talented 13-year-old snowboarder, today she is a top athlete and partner in the content production and commerce company Together with fellow athletes Sue Bird, Simone Manuel and Alex Morgan. She also made it clear that she is pursuing on-camera work.

“I enjoy acting,” Kim told Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety‘s chief correspondent. “I love being on camera and reading lines. Hopefully you’ll see me in some cool stuff.”

Kim noted her surprise at how fast her star rose as she racked up wins at the 2018 and 2022 winter Olympics. At the 2019 Oscars, best actress winner Frances McDormand called out Kim in her acceptance remarks for “3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” saying she wanted to take to the slopes with her. “Frances, I’m still waiting,” Kim quipped.

(Pictured top: Allyson Felix)

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