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Woman of Impact: LeShonda Martin

Mompreneur, Mindset Coach, Business Consultant

Hi! I'm LeShonda Martin, a faith-filled wife, mom of two boys, business consultant and high performance coach. I founded The Sport Sorority, an online community and sports resource for the next generation of women leaders in sports. I'm originally from Indiana and moved to Georgia when I was 17 on a full scholarship to play basketball. After my hoop days, I went to grad school for Sports Administration and Business Management. I've worked in various capacities the last 10 years: Athletic Administration, Real Estate, Personal Training, and even started a fitness apparel line.

Can you briefly walk us through your story to becoming the woman you are today... *

I was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, the result of an interracial relationship. My mother and father were both blue collar workers and have worked the same job for 30 years. I come from humble beginnings where family values and hard work were instilled. My younger brother and I are 10 years apart so I was more of a babysitter than a playmate. I stayed active in multiple sports growing up including volleyball, cross country, and track but fell in love with the game of basketball. Playing basketball really changed the trajectory of my life and inspired my career path. I obtained my B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Emory University and my M.S. in Sports Administration and Business Management from Georgia State University. After college, I met and fell in love with a guy who was a professional football player. I was introduced to a community of NFL wives which inspired me to start a blog. The blog grew into a magazine and community and I've been championing women ever since!

What is the most impactful experience that has shaped who you are today? *

The most impactful experience that has shaped who I am today was my introduction to basketball in elementary school. I remember being the only girl playing basketball with the boys at recess in third grade. By the age of 11, the top two travel teams in the state were recruiting me to play. By age 12, I received my first college letter. It was addicting, to work hard at something and become the best, and then receive positive reinforcement from coaches across the country. I learned about cause and effect through my relationship with basketball. The late nights in the gym lead to my first flight, college visit, and other opportunities. Playing basketball instilled confidence, self esteem, and a sense of purpose at a young age. Sports also taught me about teamwork and leadership. My determination and focus to receive a Division I scholarship kept me away from drugs and alcohol in high school. When I became a student-athlete in college, the team had curfew, study hall, 5:00 am workouts, midday practice, and rules to abide by. There was a level of sacrifice and dedication required that has served me well in life to understand.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? *

The biggest challenge I had to overcome was having my basketball scholarship taken away in college. The sport that had impacted my life for so many years in the best ways was now breaking my heart, or so it felt. That life-changing moment was the result of other smaller betrayals. When I arrived to campus on freshman move-in day as a 17 year-old, the coaches who recruited me announced that they had accepted other jobs and would no longer be coaching at the university. Struggle #1 was realizing that the coaches I had come to know and love during the recruiting process had lied to me and my parents. Struggle #2 was adjusting to my new reality as a freshman basketball player who was 10 hours away from home without the coaches she signed on to play for. Struggle #3 was getting almost no playing time under an interim coach who I didn't have a great relationship with despite being the best at my position. Struggle #4 was the hiring of a new coach at the end of the season who brought her own players. Struggle #5 was hearing that my scholarship would not be renewed and there was nothing I could do to change my fate. Struggle #6 was having limited options since the coach's decision was made so late in the school year that I could no longer apply to most colleges. I wanted to unpack just how bumpy the road can get, even with the things we love. I overcame my disappointment with the basketball challenges at my first college by transferring and continuing to play the sport at my next one. My story didn't end with a scholarship being cut. No, instead my basketball story ended with record-breaking stats, new friendships, and travel experiences. The lesson: Persist! Don't let anyone steal your joy.

What's something that you're currently doing or working on that excites you or you're most proud of? *

I have a couple projects I'm working on that excite me. First, embarking on this journey as a high performance coach and helping women with business and mindset transformation is a thrill for me. Coaching allows me to utilize my passions and skillset while making a difference in the world. I'm also excited to continue serving and growing the membership community for The Sport Sorority. It's my job to deliver as much value as possible to our members by offering courses, mindset calls, Q&A, live workshops and events.

How does what you're currently doing now impact you?  *

Entrepreneurship impacts me in a big way by stretching my faith, challenging my commitment, and inspiring my life. Each day is a new opportunity to decide how I'm going to show up for the people who need me at my best. Each day is an opportunity for me to practice what I teach. Having a business is far from easy, but I feel deeply that it is my duty and responsibility to serve, lead and help others accomplish their dreams. It's very fulfilling to know that I'm making a difference in the lives of women who wish to break generational curses or connect with a like-minded group. I love that every day brings something new and I have the freedom to write my own story.

What advice would you give to fellow women trying to make an impact? *

Self awareness is key. You're going to have to ask yourself a series of questions and meditate on it if you want to stay committed to your goals. Lead with service. Who would you want to work with/for if you could choose anyone? Pursue what excites you. Think of a topic you could talk about every day for the next 2-3 years. That's a great place to start!

How do you create "balance" in your life with all you do? *

When I dropped the martyr mindset of having to do it all for everyone, my life changed. There's no shame in getting help. Hire the nanny. Get a housekeeper or food delivery service. Utilize companies like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99designs for freelancers. I also invest in coaching and mastermind groups which helps tremendously by keeping me accountable to the lifestyle I desire.

We as women have many superpowers, what is one of yours? *

My heart for women and my ability to galvanize people for a cause I care about.

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