The Nacra17 isn’t your father’s sailboat. Since the 2016 Rio Olympics, the high-performance, hydrofoiling multihull has tested the wills of a new generation of young sailors, eager for a shot at Tokyo’s gold in 2020. For Kilroy’s US Sailing Team effort, it’s all about building a winning combination: a diversity of talents, from a dichotomy of places. Enter the bicoastal champions Sarah Newberry of Miami, Florida and David Liebenberg of Livermore, California.
In July, the pair took part in the annual Kilroy Leadership Summit. Focused on team building, wellness and career development, the event brings together future leaders identified by Kilroy in a variety of disciplines. This year, the focus was on young champions, with the Nacra17 team invited to share their stories of working in competitive spaces and how those lessons can improve Kilroy’s best practices.
“Kilroy has been so supportive of the team,” said Newberry, who learned to sail when she was eight years old and started racing at 12. “Being able to share what we do with their incredible staff was a privilege.”
“We met so many impressive, talented folks at the event,” said Liebenberg who “doesn’t even remember life before sailing – that’s how young I was. The Kilroy event was awesome. We even put together a slideshow with ‘words to live by’ as campaigning athletes on the road to being champions.”
And their definition of “champion”?
“A champion is someone operates with integrity, passion, and grit,” states Newberry. “One needs to be totally fulfilled by the process of growth – and to always be seeking improvement.”
Not surprisingly, Liebenberg agrees, “To relentlessly pursue you goal with everything you have,” he says by way of definition: “Finding a way to overcome every obstacle no matter the size and be fully focused on the process along the way.”
As part of the process, both our Olympian hopefuls understand the importance of business partnerships such as that with Kilroy. “Business partnerships like Kilroy’s are critical to sailing,” said Liebenberg. “Having a partner with the same priorities as our sport is a huge bonus.”
“Such partnerships are essential,” continued Newberry, noting especially Kilroy’s commitment to sustainability, women in leadership, and innovation. “Olympic athletes need the support of strong partners that believe in the same things that we do. It’s a tough mission to win a medal. Not only does a partnership like this one make it possible for us to have coaching, technical support, but Kilroy’s core values are aligned with many of those that lie at the heart of our sport.”