From Olympian to Co-founder, Anna Lawrence knows how to overcome competitors on & off the field.

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As the snow settles from another nail-biting Olympic battle in PyeongChang and the athletes hang up their medals representing years of blood, sweat and tears, we sit down with former Olympian Anna Lawrence to talk about the journey of athlete to co-founder of Boma Marketing.

At a ripe age of 18, Anna set out to the Olympics in the Barcelona 1992 games, to represent the NZ Black Sticks. To most of us, the Olympics are the peak of your career - the ultimate display of pure performance and years of hard work. So you would think heading to the Almighty Olympics at 18 would be your peak, yet it was this was just the beginning. The beginning of her determination to challenge a personal quota, battle the mental hurdle and overcome competitors - something us fellow entrepreneurs know to be well to familiar.

Anna explains that being only 18 was just the trick to overcoming the mental games of the Olympics. 

At 18, you are naive, wide-eyed, and ready for the battle.

It isn’t until you’re older, with our creaky bones and self-doubt, that you recognise the athleticism and confidence you need to rock it on and off the field.

As she continued to play for 12 years (Captain for 5 of those years), Anna knew she had to set herself up for life after the field. Field hockey is a second tier sport in NZ, being an unpaid sport where the athletes train like professionals. She spent her uni years studying Physical Education & Geography and gained a Post Graduate degree in Commerce Marketing where she moved into a marketing role upon graduation. She was lucky enough to land a job with a base salary, allowing the flexibility for her to play during the height of her games. She went on to spend 2 years playing for Amsterdam, where her friends and family came to “visit” and got lost in the tourism that we know to be…well, Amsterdam.

The self-discipline doesn’t end on the field, or in Amsterdam. It’s something the co-founding world knows all too well. The discipline and mental struggle to overcome your own barriers and obstacles, crack down to the nitty-gritty of training and work, and constantly elevate your results. Being able to hit the games for the second time in 2000 Sydney Olympics, Anna was getting some serious practice at nailing those big moves.

Using marketing automation to grow fan bases for NZ cricket was just the ticket for the segway into the world of Boma Marketing. Anna was previously National Communications & Sponsorships Director for Lion in Sydney, and consulting to a number of small businesses, which gave her the experience to back her next big move. Taking the typical more “clunky” marketing software into a sleek and affordable approach for the small to medium business, Boma helps take the guesswork out of Digital Marketing. With their current partnership with Xero and other big ones on the horizon, Boma will continue to be the all-around marketing solution for the world of small to mid-sized businesses. And with Anna leading a team of go-getters, we know the future is golden for Boma.

In the 2004 Athens Olympics, Anna went back as Athlete Support where she inducted all the athletes and received the infinity all-access pass to the games. She was right alongside the athletes before they leapt into the competition and was popping champagne corks for the Gold medal winners - a celebration for all. Through her entire journey, Anna has learned the importance of the ever-growing industry of Sports Psychology - a journey that really is lifelong. She was the go-to athlete support for that moment right before take off - a quick-fire leadership opportunity to say the least!

Believing in yourself is key

Internally telling yourself that “you can nail this” while keeping a cool, calm, and collected facade is just the right balance. It’s about the determination to work through the highs and lows, finding coping mechanisms and diving face-first into learning new skills to get the job done.

This is a new world for Anna, and frankly, for us all. A world that shifted from the traditional marketing world of print and TV to this digitised platforms keeping us on our toes. It’s about grasping the technology, yet always innovating new approaches. Breaking down those barriers and finding solutions that work. It’s a digital game. It’s a mental game. It’s the game on and off the field.

And as we hang up our shoes from our past lives, heal through the growing pains, and lace up for our next endeavour, we know the key to success is holding your head high, aiming for the win, and keeping your mental (and physical) game strong. Game on, friends!

Passionate about building community and women being kick-ass leaders, Jessica Gasiunas is one of our talented Community Managers. Meet her and the rest of our awesome community at BizDojo Parnell.