Real Leaders

Leaders of Hope: Natalie portman

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Actress Natalie Portman has set out to change the conversation on women’s sports by investing in the first women majority-owned and led soccer team.

Venture capitalist Kara Nortman of Upfront Ventures and actress Natalie Portman are leading a group that will bring a National Women’s Soccer League expansion team to Los Angeles in 2022. The pair have been joined by gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, the consortium’s president in the majority-female group. Portman has a financial stake in the team along with dozens of other women entrepreneurs including actresses Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, and Uzo Aduba.

 “It’s important to have role models and heroes that are women for kids — both boys and girls — to see,” Portman said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s just such an incredible sport in that it really is a team sport. You see one woman’s success, and all the others are cheering her on because one woman’s success is the whole team’s success.”

 Portman was influenced by a speech given by Abby Wambach, a former U.S. national team forward, at a Time’s Up event, and she started considering how female athletes are viewed in society. Then, she met Becca Roux, the executive director of the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association.

“We started going to games, and we just got so into it,” recalls Portman. “It was a kind of revolution to see my son and his friends, these little 8-year-old boys, wanting to wear Rapinoe and Alex Morgan jerseys. I was like, ‘Wow, this would be a different world.′ It wasn’t unusual to them at all.”

 Sometimes hope alone is not enough — a strategic investment by like-minded people can fast-track an idea and turn it into a reality. Portman believes owning the narrative around an issue and investing in a cause that represents your values, can pay big dividends for the well-being and empowerment of future generations.

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