Next up in our "Gone Pro" series is one of our iON Fave's Olivia Ekpone! She shares how she evolved her career beyond the track by leveraging her skills and passions for health, wellness and athletics.
What are your new career endeavors?
As athletes, it’s safe to say that we somehow want to be involved with health, athletics, and sports. I graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in communications and journalism. I knew at one point in my life, I wanted to be a sports analyst or a sideline reporter. Over the summer of 2018, myself and 24 other ladies were selected out of 300 applicants to be part of Cari Champion’s Brown Girls Dream mentorship program. This program was created to help young brown women achieve their goals of being sports broadcasters. Champion and her team of mentors were there to guide us by going over our resumes/reels, teaching us how to dress the part, and discuss what makes a “badass” analyst. We also went on a mini tour of the ESPN studio in Los Angeles and had a chance to meet her makeup stylist and her long time friend, Bozoma Saint John! By the grace of God, I was able to be a part of this program and I learned so much in only a weekend! Since the summer, so many doors have opened for me to work on being in front of the camera, which is where I want to be. Recently, I started working alongside of FloTrack for the Monday Review show at 9:30am CST. I’m super excited to see how our journey unfolds and where this broadcasting adventure will take me!
Olivia with Cari Champion
I’ve also became an Arbonne Independent Consultant! Arbonne is a vegan health and wellness company that’s located in 7 different countries and has been around for 39 years. This company gives me the opportunity to help so many people live a healthier life, while helping people grow their business too. I chose to work with Arbonne because their products are pure, safe, and beneficial. Arbonnne offers vegan and plant based makeup, personal products (shampoo conditioner, lotion, etc), nutrition, multiple skincare collections, baby products, and even an anti aging skincare line that is second to none! They even have a PhytoSport (preworkouts, complete hydration, and post workout) line, which is geared toward athletes. Since using Arbonne, I’ve learned so much about living healthy (it may seem shocking to hear coming from an athlete but it’s true), gained lean muscle (I’m in love with their plant based protein and the PhytoSport line to help me get through my workouts), and have clearer and healthier skin.
Livie has an in-home tester in her bestie boyfriend, Shad!
Arbonne’s products don’t contain artificial flavors or sweetners, no soy, no whey, non gmos, PABA and Paraben free (what companies put in their products to have a 10-30 year shelf life), and no perfumes. Taking this leap of faith has changed my life and it’s so rewarding to help others.
What inspired you to pursue these new areas?
Champion, Maria Taylor, and Sage Steele are the women who inspired me to pursue my broadcasting career. I’ve always wanted to be in front of the camera interviewing coaches and athletes, finding that unique story on why athletes do what they do, and being able to ask the nitty gritty questions that people are afraid to ask. These ladies are humble, stand their ground, and have the backbone to be successful in their careers. Many ladies look up to them (myself included) and they are the close to perfect examples on how to carry yourself as a strong woman in broadcasting.
My mother inspired me to pursue Arbonne. Because of her fitness journey, I wanted to be able to help many people live healthier and also helping them make an income too! We all have so much to learn when it comes to being a healthier YOU and Arbonne’s community helped me to do that! I love anything to do with fitness so this works perfectly for me!
What was the most difficult in transitioning from full time athletics to including your new career endeavors?
Balance is something I’ve always struggled with!! My former lifting coach, Bruce Johnson, taught me that there are 24 hours in the day. 8 hours are for “work,” 8 hours are for sleeping, the other 8 hours are for whatever you decide! Time is precious and I try to use my time wisely. Nobody is too busy, it’s just a matter of priorities.
Do your find yourself drawing on your strengths that made you successful in athletics to pursue success in your new fields?
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m coachable, energetic, determined, focused, loving, and a “get the job done.” My strengths make me the person I am today. However, being coachable is so important. When it comes to my adventures of broadcasting, being in this environment is forcing and teaching me to think outside the box on how to share important information with a specific audience. I love taking advice from my mentors and the FloTrack team so I can improve. This is what I mean by being coachable! How do people expect to grow if you don’t take advice or get input from those who are successful?
Athletes often have to analyze their performance versus their goals and reassess their strategy. Does this approach apply to your business?
How do you measure and track progress toward success?
When it comes to working with Arbonne, I focus on how I can be a better and patient leader for my team. People learn and progress at different paces, which is totally fine! This is the same with track. As long as the individuals on my team are sharing Arbonne with their friends and family, and are helping people live healthier, then that’s having growth!
Of course athletes have their eyes on the prize for Olympics 2020. What are your goals for Arbonne and broadcasting for 2020?
2020 is going to be an exciting year! I’m working towards being on the broadcasting network of the Olympics to analyze the track races with Sanya Richards-Ross, Ato Boldon, and Lewis Johnson! By 2020, my Arbonne team will be helping so many people grow their wellness businesses while living a healthier life! That’s super exciting to even think about!
Olivia Ekpone 60m dash Texas A&M 2012 Indoor Invitational
What words of advice would you give to young athletes as far as planning their personal careers on and off the track?
Here’s some of the advice I would offer to young athletes who are planning their personal careers on and off the track:
1. Move in this order: why -> how -> what. Why do I want to pursue this career or why do I want to work for this company? How are you going to get there? What will you do to get there? Knowing your “why” will help you to break down and remind you on why you started a journey or a path. If you don’t have a vision board, I highly encourage to make one. These can be super creative and fun to make. They are a simple reminder on why you started a journey to begin with. I also have sticky notes in my bathroom on specific goals that I want to achieve. It’s nice to rip a sticky note off the mirror after I achieved it and replace it with a bigger goal.
2. Unfortunately, running competitively at a high caliber won’t last forever. I highly encourage young athletes to find what they want to do after track. Have a plan set in place so when you are ready to hang up your spikes, you’ll know that you have something lined up and ready for you. Baby steps towards what you want to do is ok! A little bit of exposure every other day can help you to slowly making that transition.
3. Enjoy track while you can! Have fun with it. Go where it takes you (it can take you around the world). Just tie up your spikes and go!
Check out Olivia on Flo-Track's Monday Recap Shows (every Monday at 9:30am CST)
https://www.flotrack.org/video/6337290-holloway-dixon-go-off-monday-review (Jan. 28)
https://www.flotrack.org/video/6343836-shelbys-kick-bolts-40-the-monday-review (Feb. 4)
https://www.flotrack.org/video/6356281-monday-review-millrose-american-records-speedwork (Feb. 11)
Flo-Track Athlete of the Week:
https://www.flotrack.org/video/6356291-olivias-athlete-of-the-week-feb-12-english-gardner (Feb. 11)
Check out Olivia's Arbonne’s website!
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