Of the women who hold C-Suite positions in business, 94% have a background in sport. There is an indisputable correlation between athleticism and business success. Attributes such as self-discipline, confidence and self-efficacy are born in sport and carried throughout life. But by age 17 more than half of girls — 51% — will have quit sports. These are statistics that Keely Kelleher, founder and director of Keely’s Camp, shared with me immediately as we sat down for dinner on a spring evening in Jackson.

Kelleher is a retired World Cup Alpine ski racer who specialized in super-G and downhill, the fastest disciplines in the sport, oftentimes reaching speeds exceeding 80 mph. But when I sat down with Keely and asked her about her story, she doesn’t share anything about how she was ranked 38th in the world in super-G, or about how she was the 2010 super-G national champion after overcoming seven surgeries and being sidelined for three years during recovery. Rather than sharing a story about her comeback from injury and the accomplishments of her time as a World Cup racer, Kelleher focused on the fact that she was not coached by a female until she was 19 years old and approaching the pinnacle of her competitive career.

Visionary Ventures is a monthly column written by the staff of Silicon Couloir. Brittney Ziebell is director of entrepreneurship for the nonprofit. She can be reached at britt@siliconcouloir.com.

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