From World Cup Champions To Lifestyle Entrepreneurs: How USWNT Stars Tobin Heath + Christen Press Are Leading The Pack

Tobin Heath + Christen PressPhoto Credit: Stacy’s Rise

After founding their own business and realizing there wasn’t a lot of female mentorship going on in the business world, U.S. Women’s National Soccer team winners Tobin Heath and Christen Press wanted to give back. [The two soccer stars and Women’s World Cup winners, along with fellow players Megan Rapinoe and Meghan Klingenberg, are the founders of the purposeful lifestyle brand re-inc.] So they teamed up with the Stacy’s Rise Project, which supports female founders via mentorship programs and grants, to provide an exclusive mentorship session to the 15 winners comprising the Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2020, all of whom have incorporated social impact and philanthropy within their business plans. Here, we spoke to the soccer stars about their affiliation with the program, running a female-based business and how they refuse to let COVID-19 get them down.

Christen Press Photo Credit: Stacy’s Rise

Why did you decide to get involved with the Stacy’s Rise Project?

Tobin: I think for us, when we were approached by Stacy’s Rise Project there were so many synergies between what they were doing with our company and what they were doing with the project. It’s incredible the amount of importance that’s going into to developing these young women, these young companies, this idea of mentorship which is crucial not just with our business but for us in sport as well… We really believe that mentorship is a powerful tool. This was something we were very passionate about and something that really aligned with our values of new company, re-inc.

As female founders yourselves, what do you think are the biggest barriers that female entrepreneurs face today?

Christen: I think a lot of what Tobin said rings so true. It’s actually hard to find other businesswomen to mentor you and to share ideas because there are just not that many women CEOs or women in business at the moment. Through the Stacy’s Rise Project, we’re trying to help others that are existing in a space that wasn’t created for us. Just the act of existing in that space itself is a disruption and it is part of the revolution. With our business, re-inc, part of that is to have different leadership and have more diverse leadership. Just that in itself starts to create change. I think the Stacy’s Rise project is about investing in more diversity at the top and creating a space that does exist for you when it doesn’t normally.

What will be your role in the program?

Tobin: We get to mentor the 15 winners, which we’re really looking forward to… We’ve had a lot of learnings within a year, a lot of challenges of starting your own company that have been super life-giving and challenging. When you come from a background of sports you really embrace challenges and you really embrace failure, so we’ve had a lot of learnings.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as co-founders you’ll share with the mentors?

Christen: I think the greatest lesson that I’ve learned – and I’ve been lucky to have female mentors myself – the lesson that I learned from them and on my own is that nobody really knows how to run a business, you kind of just do it. my personality, my background, I’m very studious and I like to be an expert. With soccer, I’m an expert, but as a businesswoman, I had to learn how to do this. I was told ‘you just do it’… and everybody does it differently and it will look different. Especially with the nature of our business, we’re trying to reimagine everything, the status quo way of doing things is actually out the window. With that, with embracing the unknowns and the challenges, there’s definitely another lesson that there is going to be struggle at every corner. And if you are doing things differently if you are reimagining everything if you are a disruptor, it’s going to be very, very challenging. The beautiful lesson that I love to share is that as you push forward and as you’re going in the right direction, as you’re climbing up the mountain the air gets thinner. So embracing the hardship and struggle is a sign that you’re pushing in the right direction is something I’m looking forward to passing along to these female entrepreneurs.

Re-inc
re-inc founders Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe and Meghan Klingenberg

Photo Credit: Simon Forbes Keough

How have your lives changed since winning the World Cup?

Tobin: It’s probably easier to say how it hasn’t. so many things have changed. So many things continue to change. Maybe everybody went through a brief period of I want to back to that, whatever was before… In order to move forward, I really had to start thinking from the perspective of that’s gone and what’s in front of us now. For us with having re-inc, having a young company is fun because it’s so green, you can change so much. I feel like really lucky because we have been able to support our community, support the times in a real way that’s set up for some big change… For sport, obviously it’s extremely difficult to understand what sports are going to look like. For somebody that absolutely loves sports and has made their whole life out of it, it’s really changing. Putting aside the wants and needs of myself we all have to come to a place where we come to a place where we feel safe and comfortable in our environment, and specifically in our work environment. I’m looking forward to that time… really embracing what’s in front and the things we can do in this moment now and not getting hung up on what could have been or what we want to have happened. Understanding that life is out of our control sometimes and instead of waiting or things to change, getting out there and continuing to change things yourself.

Christen: Personally during this time I think there was a moment where I wanted to pause and just wait and see how things were going to go. I had to make a decision to really live during this time and in the last three months of a COVID world. Each day cannot be waiting for tomorrow to be better. It has to be the best day today. I try to wake up now with this refreshed, present moment awareness. Today is the day that we have. We might be sheltering in place today, we might not have a game In soccer today, but what do we have and how do we make the most of that? It’s been a blessing for me, stepping out of this I think that’s the way you should live your life every day. I personally get caught up in all my goals and ambitions preparing for the Olympics. When those long term goals are shaken and taken away from you it was restorative moment of needing to come back to what this moment is. As Tobin said we’ve been really lucky to be able to enjoy this time on a business sense from being able to feel powerful. From a football perspective it’s an amazing time for growth. It’s not easy to be training and staying TK for a long period of time but what a challenge, what an opportunity to get better and be your best self. It really has shown me how much I love my job and love what I do.

How has your training changed since COVID started?

Christen: There was a while where I couldn’t’ get on a field. I had nowhere to train. I feel very lucky that I have a safe facility. The difference is that I’m training every day individually. I’m missing my teammates. I feel that the nature of our season has always been on season off season I’ve been prepared training on my own. The biggest difference is the goal setting. I’m usually training for my next camp or next camp and now I’m just training for some news of when that might be.

Tobin: I think it was really humbling in the beginning when you were like I need a field and people were like no you can’t’ have a field. It was really, really hard, and really humbling especially being a professional athlete when you’re completely taken care of with your job and all of a sudden you have to find these resources for yourself, to play soccer in the house, find a small piece of grass where there’s no people, and it was extremely difficult. It brings you back to where you started which in a lot of ways for me makes you super thankful for everything you’ve been given. As a professional athlete you kind of expect things and COVID has taken away all expectations. For me, that humbling part of redefining what training looks like.- obviously we train by ourselves and in small groups all the time – but as Christen said not having an idea of what’s next. Even if you want to look far out to next summer that’s still undecided as well. It’s having that present moment awareness… staying in the moment, staying present an understanding that there’s a lot to get done regardless of the situation.

Tobin Heath + Christen Press Photo Credit: Stacy’s Rise

In terms of re-inc, what are your different roles within the company?

Christen: I’m the CEO, so I’m very hands-on. I make a lot of the day to day decisions. I get to work across all the departments of the company. I love my role because it’s very well suited for my personality. It’s about leadership and for me leadership is about service. I try to approach my job every day as what can I do for my team. I think supporting an uplifting a team is something I really love and enjoy.

Tobin: I don’t think CEO would be that fun honestly. I think I have the best job. I’m the creative director. I get to story-tell and create which for me is so much fun, it’s limitless. Everyone gets to translate all my crazy thoughts and dreams into a reality. We have such a beautiful team that complements the four of us in general. All of us founders in general come at the business from a different angle which is why the four of us are so strong and we have a lifelong sport connection. We’ve seen each other in all situations… For me I’m lucky because I really feel like I get to express myself in a way that I haven’t been able to with this company and I’m supported by people that believe in my values missions and dreams for what we’re trying to create… in the overall effect on the world. We always say we’re a small team, but we’re a mighty team, and I’m really lucky that I get to work with such incredible people.

When you’re faced with opposition, how do you deal with it?

Christen: I’ve always been very solution-oriented. When I see a problem immediately think about solutions. It’s a strength but also a weakness in that it’s an anxious response. What I’m working on is actually pausing and recognizing that maybe my first solution isn’t the best solution. Maybe somebody else knows better. Slowing down and taking problems a touch more thoughtfully and peacefully. The second wave of what I’m working on is embracing the struggle. Tobin has taught me this a lot. Struggle are a sign that you’re going in the right direction. Instead of thinking any problem has to be solved today it’s actually embracing the problem because it’s generally a sign that you’re doing something new.

Tobin: I think it might be my superpower. I think problems… kind of just excite me. failing, problems, I always think that any kind of change, any kind of significance that happens in the world, has happened through a time of tension… I don’t want a perfect life, I don’t want an easy life, I want to live life to the fullest. To me that feels like conquering as many things as possible. I think I do get excited by challenges and I do find a sense of motivation and purpose within those.

What to each of you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Tobin: I think quarantine has showed me more than anything that I would love to just have someone that cooked for me. really good food. I think to have really good food that someone prepares for you is the greatest luxury in life… and to have someone clean up too!

Christen: as a brand we’re actually discussing redefining luxury and thinking f lit less as exclusive high-end products but more as a state of self-love. In thinking about our future product line we’re like let’s make everything luscious, soft on the body because when you put it on it will be a reminder that luxury is you loving yourself and caring yourself. I think that’s a beautiful way to redefine the word.

WATCH OUR CHAT WITH CHRISTEN +TOBIN BELOW

Follow Christen and Tobin on Instagram HERE and HERE 

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