In our Meet the Member series, we showcase the creative professionals in The Shop’s vibrant community who are making an impact in their industry. From non-profit organizations, to software developers, design firms, and more– our members represent a diverse range of backgrounds and businesses.
Your next personal or professional connection might be working in the Commons area right next to you. We’ll help you discover them.
Meet Tiffany Aidoo, Laureus Foundation USA’s New Orleans-based Program Coordinator. The national foundation aims to tackle social inequities through the power of sport, using the activity as a “force for collaborative change.” It is through Laureus’ Sport for Good program, currently active in New Orleans, that the organization aspires to leverage their experience working in deep partnership with individual communities to propel a national movement.
Tiffany oversees the organization’s grants, management, and coalition of New Orleans, where her passion for sports as a development tool transpired through her journey as a student-athlete, as well as her past professional experience.
We caught up with Tiffany to further discuss Laureus’ mission, her experience in the athletic world, and the importance of diversity in the workplace.
How did you first become aware of and involved with Laureus Foundation USA?
Prior to my role with Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, I was working in the Mayor’s office as NOLA FOR LIFE’s Program Manager overseeing the Midnight Basketball Program. It was there that I became familiar with Laureus through Fit NOLA and a current member of the coalition, Elevate. Laureus and the coalition spoke a language about sport and social justice that was relevant to the challenging issues within New Orleans, and I believe in the power of both working in tandem.
Can you further explain the core components of Health, Employment, Education, Community and Social Cohesion, and how these factor into the NOLA community you work closely with?
First, I’d like to be very transparent that Laureus’ role is to use the power of sport to propel social change. Our coalition and grantees are at the forefront of impacting these very important core outcomes.
“Health” focuses on reducing childhood obesity and increasing physical activity. “Employment” increases the qualifications and technical skills that lead to suitable employment. “Education” focuses on more youth attending and completing school with increased attainment. And last but not least, “Community and Social Cohesion” breaks down barriers to reduce discrimination in communities while helping young leaders emerge.
Particular examples include the inclusion of youth voice and leadership that aim to lead to opportunities to develop skills and talent through employment within their respective organization or community partners.
You have an athletic background- how does that impact the work that you do with Laureus?
Sport is a connector, whether you participate or spectate. With my athletic background, I have examined the personal and impersonal benefits of sport for development. As a former Division I basketball player, I gained access to higher education, financial and social capital, as well as professional and personal development. In doing so, a great deal of financial investment was allocated to my development, mostly the athletic portion since I was fortunate to have both educational and human support.
Most importantly, I must say this experience has motivated me to understand that those same opportunities are not accessible to all through sport. It can sometimes be harmful, unhealthy, and very costly, which has challenged me to ensure that the power of sport is an intentional and equitable opportunity.
What does your day-to-day look like at Laureus? Has The Shop’s coworking environment impacted your work?
It’s an ever-changing environment—in a great way, and love it! I’m honored to be able to work with our national team on particular initiatives, while working closely with local grantees and coalition to support and develop opportunities to collectively impact our city.
A perfect but simple example of an atypical day includes a field trip to participate in a site visit to any of our current grantees programs to learn and gain feedback on how we are able to best support one another and further impact the aforementioned core outcomes.
Also, I must say this coworking space has facilitated many fruitful conversations and connections with special people doing very different work.
You’ve had a hand in planning tonight’s Celebrating Women of Color event- how did that come about? Why do you feel diversity is so important to have across industries?
The opportunity arose in conversation with The Shop after hosting a Laureus Welcome Session, and I’m sure it came up based on my quest to ensure equitable access for the New Orleans community.
As people, we are bound to use our experiences and various forms of capital as leverage in our professional careers. For that reason, it’s important for me to understand equity, as well as why diversity in race, wealth, thoughts, and so much more brings tremendous value to each individual and working space where we contribute our skills, ideas, and networks.
In learning, we develop innovative strategies. We build trust. We create teams. And most importantly, we become our best selves, both professionally and personally. This is why I value diversity.