Carlijn Schoutens: An Olympic Speed Skater's Take on Mentorship

Two weeks ago, Carlijn Schoutens, a speed skater for the United States of America took the line in Pyeongchang, South Korea, she probably had a number of things running through her mind: the state of the ice, her race strategy, chasing a medal. Mentorship probably wasn’t a factor in the moment and yet it played a role in helping her get to where she was standing: on the starting line of her first Winter Olympics.

Schoutens is a member of the ACE Mentor Network, one of our client platforms. The Athlete Career and Education Program (ACE) provides current and retired Team USA athletes with career, education and life skills resources to support athletic performance goals, facilitate a successful transition to post-elite competition careers and inspire long-term positive engagement with the Olympic/Paralympic movement. Visit their website to learn more about how they support past, present, and future Team USA members.

As an ACE mentee, Carlijn Schoutens was matched up with Lauryn Williams, a former Summer and Winter Olympian and founder of Worth Winning, her own financial planning company, dedicated to helping other athletes manage their careers and lives after sport. In between Schoutens training sessions leading up to the Games, we had a chance to ask her a few questions about her experience talking with Williams and the role that advisors played on her Olympic journey.

When asked about how she first got matched up with Williams, Schoutens responded, “Lauryn was recommended as a mentor for me by Elana [Meyers Taylor], because she also did a time trial sport and has been very successful athletically and professionally.”

Williams’ impressive Olympic resume includes four Olympic Games, three Olympic medals, and being the first American woman to medal at both the Winter and Summer Games. To learn more about Williams and her passion for financial planning, read her interview with the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“We first talked [before Olympic trials] when I realized that I was going to do things this year that I had never done before,” said Schoutens. “I was interested to learn about the added challenges at Olympic Trials compared to normal racing, and how best to deal with those. Lauryn told me about her many Olympic trials experiences and how she was able to race as good there as at a regular competition.”

“We talked about preparing for each challenge by making mental plans and practical arrangements. It made me feel more in control of my competition and I was able to perform well and have a lot of fun. Lauryn was available in the week of my Trials and we called and texted back and forth a lot. Thanks Lauryn!”

Schoutens and Williams’ advisor relationship helped create a support system throughout the Olympic trials and Winter Games.

Schoutens was really impressed by the different mentor relationship she’s experienced with fellow Olympian Lauryn. “I’ve mostly had coaches, teachers and parents as mentors in my career, but having a fellow athlete by my side was different and awesome.”

Congratulations to Carlijn Schoutens and the rest of Team USA at last month’s Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. To keep up with Carlijn on her Olympic journey and see what’s next, follow her on Twitter and Instagram. We look forward to cheering on the U.S. Paralympic Team which will start competing in South Korea this weekend.

Are you a company, university, or professional group looking to foster stronger advisor ties in your network? We can help you do that through our unique 1-on-1 video software. Fill out the form on our “Contact Us” page or send us an email at and start learning how you can build relationships in your community, one connection at a time.