[Passion to Purpose]: Schone Malliet Talks African American Teens, Health & Winter Sports

Name: Schone Malliet

Profession: I am the CEO of the National Winter Sports Education Foundation and the National Winter Activity Center. These are two separate nonprofit organizations focused on using winter activities to improve the health, fitness, and the lives of youth.

Age: 64

I have changed/contributed to my industry by: Creating an industry segment whose focus is on growing our market while having a positive impact on the health and lives of youth. The focus of our effort not only increases participation in a sustainable fashion but grows the fan base for the sport and the athlete pool.

Contrary to popular belief, there has always been an African American presence in the winter sports sector. Not as visible as, let’s say basketball or track and field, but according to a 2013 study by the Snowsports Industries America, black people attributed to 7.3% of alpine skiers and 10.2% of snowboarders. This is not a new finding for industry veteran Schone Malliet. As the CEO of both The National Winter Sports Education Foundation (NWSEF) and National Winter Activity Center (NWAC) his mission is simple: Encourage teens, especially teens of color, to get over the fear that was once associated with country clubs of the ‘50s and ‘60s and venture outside to incorporate fitness into their colder months regimen. “The National Winter Activity Center is a facility dedicated to improving the health, fitness, and lives of youth through winter activities. In partnership with YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, schools, and other youth-serving organizations, our program (named Elev8) delivers progressive, continuous instruction, healthy meals, equipment, and mentoring over six to seven sessions. A participant can go from “never ever” to expert and choose to compete at any level—from recreational to interscholastic or even pursue regional or national programs in skiing, snowboarding, or cross-country. What this means is that youth can experience and master skills that they can enjoy for a lifetime and share with their families. Some may even compete on an international stage like the Hortons, Ralph Green, and others.”

One would think the idea of African Americans gravitating to such a non-traditional activity is more about privilege and affluence than love for a sport. What is the drive, motivation, and inspiration? “I have been a winter sports enthusiast for over 30 years as a member of 4 Seasons West, a winter sports club that is part of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. As part of the youth leadership team, my experiences with young athletes like Andre and Suki Horton, Christian Kennedy, and so many others, I could see the positive impact the sport had on them. It became a passion of mine to find ways so that all youth could have those same opportunities, “ he tells BE Modern Man.

But what is it about combining one’s love of winter outdoor activities with ensuring our youth are sports minded during a time when video games and other forms of technology are favored over being physically active? “Making a difference in the lives of youth, my passion for winter sports, and the blessings I have received that shaped my life made it my commitment to pay it forward.” He continues, “As CEO of NWAC, an organization [dedicated] to improving the health and livelihood of our [community] through winter activity and healthy meal education, I believe there are three messages that we must champion. First, we must continue to communicate how valuable LIFE is. Second, we must remind ourselves “we are what we consume,” which spans beyond food, media, or life, and is embodied when we begin to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. And lastly, we must encourage each other to turn our energy as it comes—both positive and negative—into fuel for success, so we can triumph in the classroom, boardroom, slope, track, court, field, you name it.”

Which is why Malliet is able to successfully break through the static, not only in the field of sports, but in life, and make a tremendous impact among his peers. “It is not important to me what I have could accomplish; not my career. What is paramount is being the tangible impact on those that I encounter. Core values, ground in selflessness, linked with the PASSION necessary to pursue new things and thinking can be infectious if you can get above the noise. Things like TED talks, town hall discussions, and informal forums can provide the impetus for more learning and inspiration,” he says.

And being BE Modern Man is more than a statement..it’s a lifestyle! Malliet says, “To be an authentic, life changing, game changing individual who can enjoy life and still make a difference in the lives of others.”

“Stereotypes are the product of lack of experience and information. You can only change perspectives by being THERE. As those around me—whether they are peers, stakeholders, or members of my team—interact in solving problems, have conversations about uncomfortable topics, or just by being in the same places, these perspectives change. I encourage and start those conversations to start the process of “breaking free,” he tells BE Modern Man.

Our tagline reads “it is our normal to be extraordinary” Malliet’s body of work is the blueprint for a successful and fulfilled professional life.

“It has been a pattern of my life that I have explored opportunities that on the surface might have defied the conventional wisdom of others. From being a basketball “walk on” attending Holy Cross, as a Marine pilot, a career in technology from salesperson to CEO, an active board member at the YMCA and my roles today, I did not let the challenges/obstacles deter me from doing my very best to make a difference in the lives of others. The fact that I didn’t know that I “was not supposed to accomplish those things, left me without any limits.”

To find out more information about Schone Malliet and The National Winter Sports Education Foundation, visit www.nwsef.org and follow them on IG @nwsef

It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @blackenterprise and join the BE Modern Man conversation using #BEModernMan.