The team player
By the time her career in the cross country trail was nearing its end, Kristin Størmer Steira had already carved out a new path for herself.
Kristin Størmer Steira
If you don't take the risk to keep ahead of development, you can quickly stagnate in sports. You see this is also very much the same in business.
«Even though I have competed in an individual sport, we very much worked as a unit and group in the national team. In athletics and business, you cannot always choose your own teammates or colleagues. That makes it important to have a high threshold for each other’s differences and various needs. This is something I think is very useful to consider in the workplace,» says Størmer Steira.
She can look back at a life with countless triumphs: Olympic champion and three-time World Cup winner in the cross country relays, an individual bronze medal in the Sochi Olympics and four National Championship gold medals, just to name a few. Still, the cross country skier had no plan to relax after her skiing career came to an end.
«Ever since retiring after the 2015 season, I have been interested in the transferable values and similarities between professional sports and business.»
Her first stop was two years as a project leader and advisor for the Active Against Cancer foundation. There, among other things, she worked with securing sponsor deals and other funding related activities.
«It was certainly different for a former professional athlete to suddenly spend most of their time in an office, but the position was very rewarding and educational for me».
More than a famous name
For the 36-year-old, it has been important that life after skiing was about being more than just a name. The planning had already started before she decided to focus on competing on a professional level. For years, she combined skiing with getting her bachelor’s degree in marketing.
«My goal was to finish my bachelor’s in good time before retiring, so that I had a foundation I could work with. My education has meant that I immediately could begin working, while having more than just a name and athletic career to show for it.»
Now, she combines being on maternal leave with daughter Asta Isabel with her position as expert commentator on Norwegian channel TV 2. In June, she completes her Executive Master of Management at BI.
«In my last year as a professional skier, I felt a need for some more executive education, so I called BI. The Executive department helped a lot and arranged for me to attend classes while still being able to compete. As an athlete, it was tremendously rewarding for me to be able to come here every five weeks and be a student rather than an athlete.»
Collaboration and leadership
As an entrepreneur with her own company, she has held lectures and worked as a consultant for businesses. Soon, she will move to Lillehammer, so she is also keeping her eyes and ears open to interesting job opportunities near the Olympic city.
She considers it a big plus that she already knows several people from the Executive network who is currently situated in the area.
«It has been fantastic having these breaks, topping up my knowledge and, perhaps most importantly, meeting so many people who become your new network»
The last few years, she has realised how so many values found in sports and business, are transferable.
«They are very much the same. Structuring work, setting goals and achieving them, but also dealing with the consequences of the goals you have set for yourself».
In the future, Størmer Steira hopes to work even closer to the intersection of professional sports and business. To her, change management is relevant in both places.
«If you are unwilling to take a chance and keep up with the latest developments, you will eventually stagnate as an athlete. This is very much the case in business, as well. »