Caroline loves both the physical and mental challenges of boxing. Devotion to the sport not only changed her life, but has led her to inspire others to improve their physical and mental health through practicing sports. She believes that female role models from diverse backgrounds help inspire girls and women to pursue their passions with dedication. As a participant in the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), Caroline joined female leaders from around the world in working with mentors to develop strategies and skills for carrying out her mission of empowering underserved communities through sports.
For Caroline, the purpose of boxing is more than defeating an opponent in the ring. She believes the sport has helped her to conquer insecurity in herself. “I take lead of my own life,” she says. “I always stand behind the sentence: when there is no enemy within, there is no enemy outside that can hurt you.” Through devotion to her sport, Caroline has learned an adaptable and disciplined approach to living. She has learned that to reach life goals, “you must be able to change within you, and then it will happen for you naturally.”
One of Caroline’s most important goals is empowering others to use sports to access their own inner strength. “I believe that it is my purpose to give the same sense of focus to other people,” she explains. Through boxing, she hopes others will also learn to approach life with a positive attitude and to conquer self-doubt and negativity. “Keep in mind that your reality also creates your thoughts, “ Caroline explains. “So, if you think of yourself as amazing, you’re amazing, and you will attract amazing things.”
While boxing has given her life direction and a strong sense of self, she takes great satisfaction in helping others to engage in the same learning process. “I just really get passionate about seeing people being passionate about whatever it is they’re doing,” she says. Her participation in the month-long Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) through the U.S. Embassy in Brussels helped support Caroline’s mission to help others learn important life lessons through sports. The mentors she met there supported her own mission to mentor others: “I was surrounded by people who I looked up to, and it just confirmed my beliefs that I could do it.”
“Leading by Example”
Caroline’s athletic skills and leadership experience earned her a place in the GSMP. She appreciated being part of an exchange program that gathered female leaders from around the world united by a single purpose. They all “use sports as a tool to create change in their own environment,” Caroline explains. She also appreciated learning from others with more experience in the field. By being matched with mentors who share their vision, participants hone practical skills in business, management, and other skills that “help me give what I want to give to the world,” Caroline says. She found the GSMP experience also inspired her personally. “I really felt like I was accepted,” she explains. “Because all the women that were there, I really looked up to them despite their different backgrounds and capacities… I felt safe and challenged.”
GSMP participants develop a sports-based action plan to address a need or a challenge faced by girls, women, or people marginalized by disabilities in their home country. Caroline’s own action plan focused on supporting female role models with diverse backgrounds – a need she has observed in Belgium. Caroline herself works hard to inspire others and through promoting boxing strives “to improve and create more awareness of mental and physical health for women in my environment.”
Caroline hopes her work may offer future generations powerful and inspiring role models to “be leaders in their own life.” She hopes girls will look back at inspiring athletes today and think, “I want to be like her.”“It’s up to you to decide what you want to do.”