Updated: Jan 4, 2019
Her Sports Story tribe, I am so ecstatic to share the sports story of Katy Galli!
Katy and I connected over Instagram and we instantly hit it off! Not only because of her amazing spirit but also due to our missions being perfectly in alignment: helping athletes beyond sports and to KEEP MOVING FORWARD in life>>> which is the name of her podcast series that shares stories of incredible former athletes. I was so honored when Katy asked me to be on her podcast and let me tell you, I believe she is one of the best interviewers out there. Am I biased? Slightly… however, out of the hundreds of podcasts I have listened to over the years, she is right up there with the best of them – a top tier podcaster if you will. Katy’s story has so many facets and paths that unassumingly led her to where she is today. Now, I attempted to capture most all the important details of her journey over our phone call; however, I know that is almost near impossible in a short article. And because of so, I am planning to have Katy on the Her Sports Story podcast so that you can all hear this woman’s passion and appreciation of her life’s path.
So let’s start from the beginning…
Let’s just say, Katy did ALL THE THINGS sports-wise growing up. Her parents had her and her siblings in sports all through school: including soccer, basketball, and track. However, when Katy entered high school she veered towards Track & Field and Cross Country, and during this time is when she first learned how to triple jump --- a “hop, skip, and jump” as she put it! And she fell IN LOVE with this event. Her first year competing, which was also her freshman year of high school, she qualified to the New Jersey State meet and she knew she had found her niche in this event. Sophomore year she kept it up in both indoor and outdoor track and cross country, and realized during this year that maybe she could run track in college.
So the search began for colleges with track programs that would fit her levels and interests both academically and athletically as she went through her junior and senior years of high school. Katy’s mom had grown up in Georgia and recommended Oglethorpe University, a Division III school in Atlanta. Fun fact: Katy’s mom and dad had even went on a date at the university! Too cute!
So she went to give it a look…
Katy remembers her first visit there… It was a rainy day, she toured the run-down facilities, and knew… it was perfect. Katy loved the idea of being a part of the progress of a program and also she had a romantic view of the “underdog story”. As we were talking, she brought up the classic sport movies where the featured team practices in a crappy gym and has little-to-none resources yet goes on to win the championship. Yep, let’s just say Katy had a vision, and at Oglethorpe, it aligned perfectly. Oglethorpe it was!
She walked on the team and competed in both relay and the triple jump. She and her team qualified to Nationals and were National Champions both junior and senior years! Katy was a part of the immense growth and success of the track program and to this day Oglethorpe and Division III schools have a special place in her heart. She truly appreciated her collegiate athletics experience and know she wouldn’t change any aspect of it. As it put her on the path for what came next…After graduating, Katy did what most do and started the JOB search. She had no idea what she wanted to do… (anyone else felt this way before?! … I am envisioning all of the head nods). As her search continued, she still couldn’t seem to find what resonated with her soul and during this time she decided to move back home.
Fortunately her parents had entrepreneurial spirits and suggested that Katy try something she had always wanted to, while she had a “soft place to land” and while she was just starting out. How awesome is that?! Way to go Katy’s parents!
So she took their advice, embraced the family entrepreneurial veins and started Mallard-Made in the USA dog beds. Why USA? Because of her dream of always representing her country in the Olympics and being so proud to live the American Dream. And why dog beds? She loved loved loved dogs, but at the time had an old Labrador that needed a bed to dig into with its feet in order to stand up. So Katy designed a bed in order to help animals. This was her first go at production, and she learned a considerable amount on what it truly took to start a business from the ground up.
As an entrepreneur and as a recent grad, Katy discovered that there was no, “set” schedule.
Classes nor practice commanded her days and she now had to manage her own time. So while pursuing her new business, she had to design her day to stay productive. She would wake up and go to the gym to workout and then would come home to work on her venture. She found that there was only so much she could do in one day while growing Mallard-Made so she picked up the blog her sister had started called This Week at Disney. And Katy shifted her schedule to start her mornings with writing opinion-based pieces about Disney.
After writing consistently, she started to connect with those in the Disney-space online and over social media. She then came across a gal that had her own Etsy shop that made floral mickey ears. Katy decided to reach out and then craft a personal piece sharing the Etsy’s shop owner’s Disney products. And the post did incredibly well! Katy knew she was on to something and reached out to as many Etsy shops she could find because there was something special in sharing people’s stories… (sensing a foreshadowing? You may be on to something)
As she went along her Disney blogging and Mallard-Made journey, she aimed to stay ahead of the trends and attend entrepreneurial conferences and one in particular introduced podcasting. It was apparent that podcasting was a unique way to communicate stories and Katy was sold!
Thankfully her sister had equipment from her Disney blogging and vlogging days and Katy hopped right on figuring this whole podcast world out. And with her ties with Disneypreneurs she booked her first podcast. She admits she was terrified! And even right before she almost talked herself out of it! However, she took the leap and learned on the fly.
As Katy got the hang of podcasting, she had the realization that she could interview anyone with an inspiring story… including something else that was close to her heart: athletes’ stories. So eventually the Disney blog and vlog evolved into “Keep Moving Forward” – a space where former and inspiring athletes could share in life’s transitions and the pursuit of following their missions beyond sport.
And amazingly enough, one of Katy’s first athlete interview was with Rudy Ruettiger. Ever hear of the movie Rudy? About the football player who was told he was “too small” and would never play college football ---- who eventually made the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football line up during his senior year. Yep, same Rudy.
And Katy has gone on to interview former Olympians, individuals making an impact in the athlete development space, athletes that have overcome true adversity, and other notables who are chasing their dreams with the goal to serve others. The podcasts reveal how these athletes overcame retirement from their initial sport and became passionate in other areas of life --- moving on to their next chapters. Through listening to her podcasts you can tell that there is clearly power in story and in sharing how the sports journey shaped and prepped one for life after sports. And what she loves about this? Not only paying it forward to current and former athletes that will relate in these stories, but also the opportunity to CONNECT with amazing individuals who share in similar missions. (Umm YES! Insert emoji praise hands here)
And what is even cooler is that Katy not only has the opportunity to interview those on her Keep Moving Forward podcast, but also through her day-to-day job with Business Radio X which spotlights local entrepreneurs. How fitting right?!
After I heard Katy’s story, I was beyond impressed. Impressed by her ability to take new challenges and run full speed towards them and impressed with her knowing that there is growth on the other side of fear. She undoubtedly gets the “big picture” and has incredible value to share with the world and the athlete population. As for advice for former athletes, she emphasized finding where you are rooted in your values and faith --- find something bigger than sport, and that all the experiences you had as an athlete will propel you forward to your next purpose.
And what is so full circle, is that Katy now gets to coach track athletes at her alma mater, Oglethorpe! And beyond coaching the sport, I know Katy will impart so much wisdom to her athletes on life and on creating an identity beyond sport. Living and loving each moment as an athlete, yet developing a sense of knowing that this current path will serve in the journey in life!
I enjoyed talking with Katy so much and as mentioned will definitely ask her to be a guest on the Her Sports Story podcast because as you can tell from this small excerpt… she is amazing!
And one of my favorite quotes from our conversation…
“Worth is not dependent on successes or failures.”
And with that, I leave you--- to go and follow all things Katy Galli:
Podcast on iTunes:
Keep Moving Forward