November 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm , by Sonia Harmon
When she was only 16 years old, Nicole DeBoom qualified for the 1988 Olympic Swimming Trials. After swimming on Yale University’s varsity team, she began a career as a triathlete, and by 2004 she won Ironman Wisconsin—all while competing in a skirt. It was a prototype for her new women’s fitness clothing line, SkirtSports. Five years later her line continues to give women the option to exercise without compromising style. Nicole also recently partnered with designer Jackie McPhee to create a new collection of SkirtSports clothing that will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Charitable and an entrepreneur—how’s that for ladylike?
What makes me a lady: I think a true lady is a woman who takes a big leap of faith to attempt something most people would consider virtually impossible. I became a lady the day I started SkirtSports with a mission to change the way women view fitness. Five years ago, running in a skirt was a big stretch to most women who didn’t understand that looking good for themselves would foster a “feel good” attitude that would ultimately lead to better performance. So in a way, being a lady is about taking chances and going after things with 100 percent conviction.
Favorite guilty pleasure: I refuse to choose just one; I am a lady of many guilty pleasures. US Weekly while traveling (not BusinessWeek or Time), jigsaw and crossword puzzles, and very strong coffee with half and half (not skim or Coffee-mate).
Three things on my life list: 1. I want to make the world a healthier place: Idealistic? Yes! Possible? Hell yes! What will it take? Collaboration among businesses and individuals who have influence and knowledge in this arena. We can accomplish a lot on our own, but we can literally change the world when we work together. 2. To have children, but my husband and I want to wait until we know we can devote our lives to raising beautiful children who will give back to their communities. 3. I want to become an “adult-onset” surfer and skier: I group these together into what I call “lifestyle-obsession sports.” I want to spend a period of time to actually embrace the surf and ski industries. People are insanely passionate about these sports, and I want to discover their secrets.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: Mind-reading!
Ladies I admire: Lara Merriken, founder of Larabar, who taught me to always listen to my gut. Michele Green, my sister, mother of four, and SkirtSports Accounts Receivable Manager (talk about balance!). My mom, Gail Molzahn—she taught me style and compassion. Mary Decker Slaney, who I know has since become embroiled in the controversy of performance-enhancing drugs, but when I was in seventh grade I idolized her talents and the way she carried herself with beauty and grace. Andrea Jung, because she has this ability to keep the bigger picture in mind while focusing on running an empire. My favorite quote of hers is, “On Friday I fire myself and on Monday I arrive at work as the ‘new’ turnaround CEO.”
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