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“I really had to summon the courage to choose the life of my dreams, even in the uncertainty of not knowing where any of it was going to take me. The one thing that was glaringly certain, though, is that if I didn’t try with every ounce of my fiber to make my Olympic dream a reality, then I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life. The idea of living with “what if” was far heavier than going for it. And so I chose to swan dive right off that cliff towards my dream”…

I am a Midwestern girl born in Toledo and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an Olympian, I remember being glued to the TV as I watched every event and felt the nerves and anticipation of every athlete. My favorite part was that moment right before it all started; the moment where the athlete would stand up ready to face whatever lay ahead. I loved watching how these Olympians handled that one pivotal moment in their lives and I was inspired. Because regardless of what was about to happen (win, lose or draw), they lived their lives everyday up to that moment with discipline, passion and courage for facing their fears and challenges head on. I wanted in on that and I decided that this is how I wanted to live my life.

My whole life changed when I was ten years old and my family moved to Aspen, Colorado where I climbed 14,000-foot peaks as part of my education, had “Avalanche Danger” days that kept me from going to school and where I fell in love with snowboarding.

Snowboarding brought a sense of adventure, freedom, and creativity into my life, I was hooked far before it was considered a sport, before it was even allowed on most mountain resorts, and definitely far before it was inducted into the Olympics. This non-traditional way of being in the world attracts a certain type of person who thrives under pressure, who lives for creativity, and looks beyond rules and labels to see the full potential in things and then goes after it with an unbridled passion. Snowboarding is not just a way to get down a mountain, it’s a way of living in the world and it’s blessed me with friends for life and lessons and opportunities for growth on and off my snowboard. The fact that it was also snowboarding that became my vehicle for achieving my childhood dream of becoming an Olympian and then an Olympic Silver Medalist was really just the icing on top of the cake.

Walking the line of these two seemingly separate mindsets- “traditional & disciplined” versus “non-traditional & free spirited” has created amazing experiences and shaped my life up to this point. I love to push myself physically, mentally and emotionally. I love to learn and grow and always strive to be the best version of myself. For the past 15 years, I’ve been able to accomplish those things through my competitive snowboarding career and all of the opportunities that came with it. Since transitioning from snowboard competition in 2014, I still find myself pushing past my limiting boundaries and beliefs on my snowboard, as well as in my new found passions: speaking, writing, teaching, activism and being an entrepreneur.

Whether we realize our dreams or not, we cannot fail, because revolving our lives around what truly moves us is a life of meaning, purpose and fulfillment. Most of us are brought up believing that a leader is somebody else in the room, having the courage to listen and then chose to be the leader in your own life is how I strive to live my life every day.