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Allyson Felix and Condoleezza Rice discuss the Importance of Wellness to Support Women

Two trailblazing women, Condoleezza Rice, the first Black woman to hold the position of secretary of state, and Allyson Felix, the most decorated track and field Olympian in American history, are now collaborating to support other women’s success by putting wellbeing first.

Rice and Felix spoke at the recent KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit in New Jersey at the Baltusrol Golf Club about their tips for reducing stress, particularly as they achieved firsts in respective fields.

“Nobody ever sets out to actually be the first,” Rice added. “I’ll never forget a chat I had with my dear friend Sally Ride, who passed away. ‘I didn’t want to be the first woman in space,’ she declared. “I merely desired to be in space. Therefore, I believe that if you focus too much on being the first, you won’t appreciate the chance in front of you.”

She laughed, “Enjoy the ride.”

The journey up wasn’t always easy. Added Rice.

In segregated Birmingham, Alabama, I grew up. And I wouldn’t be in my current position if I had given walls any thought. Don’t allow somebody else’s prejudice be your problem, as my father used to say.

Being the lone person in the room is challenging, said Felix. But I do believe that on the other side of fear is freedom. She once worried that if she didn’t conceal a portion of her truth, she would lose her job. “I was training at 4 a.m. while it was dark, so that no one would see that I was pregnant,” Felix recalled.

She claimed that her sponsor, Nike, would lower athletes’ salaries if they were unable to compete. Nike altered its stance, and Felix went on to launch her own athletic shoe business, Saysh, with the intention of empowering women, particularly moms.

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