Life is a balancing act for Olympic Gold Medalist turned Grander Co-Founder, Nastia Liukin. Her Grander app connects young gymnasts to role models and mentors to help give them the tools they need to succeed athletically, personally, and professionally. The upcoming Grander Summit, hosted at the Innovation and Design Building, this Saturday, August 18 will feature a panel of successful female speakers working in fashion, fitness, business, and athletics. Do the names Shawn Johnson, Simone De La Rue, and Robyn Glaser ring a bell? Liukin opens up about the inspiration behind Grander and the importance of creating a supportive female community.
You’ve found success as a gymnast, NBC sports analyst, and as a fashion blogger. What inspired you to create Grander on top of all your other ventures?
NASTIA LIUKIN: This has been something that I've been super passionate about. Even when I was competing, there was always the importance of having a mentor in my life. Regardless of what you want to be, whatever your dreams or goals are, to get connected, to gain knowledge and inspiration from the people you look up to is so important. We wanted to give back to that next generation through the Grander app.
How do you find that having a mentor or a supportive community has helped you both in your gymnastics and professional careers?
NL: I've always believed that you never want to be the smartest person in the room. I'm always wanting to learn more from the people I surround myself with. Even with our Summit, I am so excited to hear from all of our speakers and panelists. Specifically, other women who are inspiring each other and supporting each other.
Since Grander is approaching its two year mark, how has it played out compared to your expectations?
NL: More than anything we are just trying to inspire these young women to be able to go after their dreams. You want to become a scientist? You want to become a lawyer or an olympic gymnast? It is possible. But this obviously goes way beyond sports. I think the Grander Summit gives you a little bit of a snapshot into that. It's about whatever your passions are: health and wellness, sports, business? I truly feel this brand can become something far greater than just gymnastics, or just for sports.
This is your largest Grander Summit yet, with women in fashion, fitness, business, and professional athletics coming to speak! What do you hope this kind of community gathering can do for people?
NL: I hope that people leave, truly inspired to go after their dreams and goals. I take myself back to my competitive days and, again, the importance of having those mentors in your life. Any chance that I got to hear from them inspired me and made me want to work harder. So, that’s my hope for the audience.
What does it mean to you to surround yourself in a community of smart, driven, and creative women?
NL: First of all, it’s time that we all support each other instead of competing against each other. I think that this has been so refreshing, to see so many women come together, be apart of this, and inspire others. Our hashtag is, #BeGrander and that is what it’s really about, being grander.
Photography via Facebook.com/NastiaLiukin