NLN33: Vision and Strategic Corporate Partners for a Startup Nonprofit with Coach AK

headshotsmallIn this podcast, we are talking with , President and Founder of . We discuss topics relating to how to keep going when you keep hitting walls, trusting in the process, the benefits of finding strategic corporate sponsors, and differentiating yourself from other nonprofits.

Coach AK, President and Founder of Empower 2 Play, is a social entrepreneur, former professional athlete and educator who has worked with thousands of students and athletes from around the world. Through his travels to over 30 countries, he uses the power of sports to bridge communities, and identify and link next generation youth ambassadors around the world.

Athletically, as a former 4 x All-American runner from the University of Oregon, he understands the impact athletics can have on one’s life. As an educator, Coach AK served as the Associate Dean of Students at the St Paul’s School as well as the Summer School Diversity and Scholarship Director and Admissions at Phillips Exeter Academy. While at the St Paul’s School, Coach AK helped lead community building efforts during the controversial sexual assault trial in 2015.

Coach AK has appeared in advertisements for companies such as Nike, Yurbuds, Sony, Women’s Health, Fox Sports and was even a contestant on the Fox hit show, “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”. Unfortunately, he was not smarter than a 5th Grader!

Through Empower 2 Play, his team has worked with governmental agencies as well as companies such as United Airlines, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Unilever, to provide sports instruction to unite and provide cross-cultural engagement, educational scholarships and life skills development to youth. Currently, Empower 2 Play has expanded operations into Haiti and has teamed up with the State Department and Livit Now to conduct a 10-day sports diplomacy initiative using live virtual reality technology.

AK’s mission is to make a more empathetic and connected world through the power of sports. He believes everyone has the ability to make an impact on this world. The question is who are the ones willing to take the risk.

The key points covered in this podcast discussion are:

  • Difficult Tasks Seem Easy in Hindsight
  • A Big ‘Why’ Keeps You Going
  • Sometimes it’s in the ‘Bad’ Moments that the Magic Happens
  • With Corporations, Look for Strategic Partnerships
  • Know Your Strengths – and What Differentiates You

Click here to view the transcript.

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