Women’s sports were gaining popularity before COVID but the question is, why should that matter to us? Missy Heilman’s organization offers girls a place to improve self-esteem while engaging in non-competitive physical activity.
Who is Missy Heilman?
- Sports have been an important part of Missy’s life since growing up.
- She played several sports including volleyball, basketball, and she ran track. She got a small scholarship at the University of North Dakota for track and field, and with hard work, she graduated on a full scholarship. She also earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
- She started running in meets when she was in the eighth grade. She ran the 300-meter during high school and 400-meter hurdles during college, which also became her specialty. Her favorite would be the relay and their team made it to the nationals several times.
The Importance of Sports
- Kids today are pressured to specialize so early. There is so much emphasis on winning that kids are paralyzed by the fear of failure.
- Missy wanted to create an environment or program where girls could come and truly be themselves without the pressure. This isn’t just for the girls with parents who could afford to drive them all over the place. She wanted a safe place for all kids. This was how Bio Girls started. It is a nonprofit organization in Fargo where they help second to sixth graders to improve their self-esteem through a 12-week program.
- The organization forced her to think about process, scalability, and documentation.
- Even with the pandemic last year, their organization was able to help 1,500 girls across five states in the program.
- Missy was working as a director of marketing and was paid a six-figure salary but it didn’t make her happy. It took her nine months to finally leave the job and focus on Bio Girls. They now have a staff of six and over 600 volunteers every year.
Working with Women in Sports
- The Bio Girls program trains young girls as well for non-competitive 5k runs. Physical activity is not the core of the program but they use it to reinforce life skills such as goal setting, practicing accountability, dealing with a bad day, and more.
- Missy learned that when they spent money on marketing expansion and people came to know about them, many came forward and offered their help.
- These are women who have the same passion for youth development and wanting to be a part of a community that aims to help girls become the best versions of themselves.
- The program teaches the girls kindness, respect, and it encourages them to stop treating their friends as competitors.
- Hard work pays off. Another mantra in Bio Girls is that actions conquer fear.
- While sports can be intimidating, and it’s difficult when you start, when you work hard and show up for the training, you are already winning the battle.
- If you can conquer the skills taught in sports, you can conquer most of the things you face in your life and in your career.
- Sports isn’t just about winning and losing. The important thing is being able to celebrate progress and improvement. There are always hard work and failures behind every win so celebrate not only your wins but also your growth.
“Women’s Sports Were Gaining Popularity Before Covid, and That Should Matter to Us” episode resources
Check out and follow Missy Heilman on LinkedIn.
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Audio created by Ryan Rasmussen Productions.