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Dawn Berkowitz-Ader

GAALS - Girls Athletics And Life Skills

“You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up.”

Hayley Foster--2.jpg
Why did you start your business?

As a confident, independent woman whose created success in virtually every other area of my life, somehow the insecurities I felt playing sports as a child have stayed with me into adulthood.

As the wife of a sports marketing executive and mother of two girls, I knew sports would be part of our lives. Yet when my daughters started playing, it was a disaster! They both hated their classes. I was determined to figure out why.

So I watched. Their classes were simply: boys on one side, girls on the other. The lesson was identical. But the responses couldn’t have been more dissimilar.

My daughter was afraid to take the ball away from the girl on the other team because she thought the girl would be mad at her. The girls seemed to have a more mental and social mindset best described this way: “Boys need to play well to have fun, while girls need to have fun to play well.”

If girls approach and play differently, why are they being taught the same way?

I decided to create a sports program for young girls emphasizing physical skill development, communication and teamwork while building character, confidence and self-esteem.

Biggest Achievement so far.....

I am so fortunate that moms and girls are always sharing stories about how GAALS has positively affected them and/or their lives. One mom told me that her daughter has trouble identifying emotions from people’s facial expressions. One day she was shown a picture of a frustrated girl and couldn’t articulate her emotion. When asked what she would say to this girl, she replied, “I would tell her to stay positive. Don’t give up. That’s what they taught me at GAALS.” .

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Port Washington, NY
Greatest Lesson Learned....

I truly believe that every relationship and conversation can lead to great opportunities. But one of the most difficult challenges I’ve had to overcome is my reluctance to use the relationships and ask for help, not apologize for it, and not feel compelled to find some way to return the favor. It’s not easy for me, but it is critical to growing a business (and myself).

Person, Place or Thing that inspires you

I am inspired by everyone who touches my life. The age, personality or background of each person doesn’t matter. Every individual is special, bringing their own strengths and approaches to life. I try to pick on what they are - watching, listening and talking – so I can learn and grow every day.

Words to Foster others....

Don’t give up. Surround yourself with those who will help you stick to your plan. Write down all the reasons you started and all of your successes. Even a little bit of progress each day adds up to a lot.

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