Ep.022 Athlete Story Podcast

Having a mentor to start your new mission in life after sports - Athlete Story ft Pernille Vaaben Nielsen

After retiring from professional handball in Denmark, Pernille Vaaben sought professional mentorship to help her navigate life after sport. Now, she finds herself in Australia as a sports marketer, working with high profile sports brands such as Nike.

In this episode, we talk about how her sporting background has given her transferrable skills like working hard, working as a team, determination and passion. Pernille highlights how companies are actively looking to the world of sport for these kinds of skills.

We also cover Pernille’s role as a sports marketer, discussing the intricacies of marketing sports and sportspeople. How sports marketing is mostly about finding the human angle and telling motivational stories of resilience.

Most importantly, Pernille delves into what it meant for her to have a mentor to assist her in her transition from her sports career and in her professional development following retirement from handball. She details how mentorship helped her realise the assets she possesses as an ex-sportswoman. We also reinforce how it’s beneficial to have more than one mentor for different perspectives.

Pernille says that mentors are incredibly receptive. When you reach out and tell your story, they’ll rarely say no. Former athletes usually have inspiring stories, and mentors often learn a lot themselves through guiding them to their next chapter in life. 

Pernille Vaaben Nielsen

“Transitioning into employment after sports is tough. Sometimes you need a mentor to help you describe the values you have as an ex-athlete. Things like dedication, determination, resilience. These are skills that some people don’t have because they haven’t worked under the kind of pressure that athletes face. Businesses want these kinds of skills. So, if you are an athlete, reach out to mentors so you can take that next step.

Because my mentor is a former athlete, she already knew the assets that I had. She showed me my value, and why I was important to my company. There was a time that I was stressed about not wanting to say “no” to work. She explained that it’s because I was so used to pushing the limits as an athlete and taught me how to control that mentality within my job.”

Having a mentor after your sports career - ASP ft Pernille Vaaben Nielsen square

Video soundbite

About our guest

Pernille Vaaben Nielsen is a former Pro Player in team handball. SInce retiring from sports she has worked in sports marketing. She has experience both from the club side of things as a Brand & Sponsorship Manager and from managing client accounts within agencies in Australia and in Europe including some of the highest profile brands. 

Pernille Vaaben portrait Having a mentor to start your new mission in life after sports

READ the transcript of full interview by clicking here.