Athlete Profile: Grace Luczak

A five-time world champion and Olympian, US rower Grace Luczak is recognised as one of the world’s best within her sporting discipline.

Two world records stand as career highlights for the Michigan-born athlete, who is also a six-time national champion with crews in the USA.

Grace began rowing in 2004 at Ann Arbour Pioneer High School, Michigan. Solid results at the US Rowing Youth National Championships in 2006 and ’07 were built on at Stanford University, where she won the 2009 NCAA Championship with the women’s rowing team.

By this time, Grace was also showcasing her skills on the global stage with performances that would set the tone for subsequent years. Following podium-place finishes at the junior and U23-level World Championships in 2007 and 2009 respectively, she clinched first place at the same event in 2010.

An U23 world record came at 2011 at the World Championships, and the achievement was repeated at senior level in the women’s eights at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Consistency as an elite performer was compounded by multiple gold-medal winning victories at the World Rowing Championships and the World Rowing Cup in both the women’s fours and eights between 2014 and 2016. World Rowing recognized Grace as one of the top ten rowers in the world, during the build-up to the Games. On travelling to the Rio Olympics 2016, Grace had cemented her reputation as one of the world’s true elite.

A degree in Human Biology from Stanford brings academic weight to Grace’s outstanding skillset. Having a course load in Accounting, Statistics, Computer Science and Economics, she looks set for continued success at the highest level as she steps onto the shores of her second career.

Following the Rio Olympics, Grace was one of nine female Olympians to be chosen by sports career transition specialists, Athlete Career Transition (ACT) for a business internship with EY. As part of the global service provider’s Women Athletes in Business Network (WABN) Intern Program, she began working with EY’s Americas Advisory M&A team in September 2016.

Based out of EY’s New York office, Grace was involved in the team’s core work of sourcing, executing and monitoring the performance of acquisitions within EY’s Advisory service line. She now is a senior associate in special projects for the marketing team at EY.

Life after sport is an exciting proposition for the dynamic former rower, who is approaching the next chapter in her professional life with the same drive for excellence that characterised her career in sport. Ongoing transitional support from ACT and coaching from ACT’s transitional sports psychologist, Ben Pascowec, are additional handrails as the American steps from the boat into the boardroom.

Before her internship, Grace spoke to ACT:

“Rio has been an amazing experience. I’m now looking forward to building on this during my EY internship, working with talented business people who can help me develop the transferable skills I have gained in Olympic rowing. Being part of a high-performance business team has always interested me and this is the perfect way to start”, she said.

I’ve had a great experience working with ACT; they’re continuing to give me fantastic support in my transition from sport into the corporate environment”, she added. Grace is now spring-boarding into a full time role, stay tuned for more updates on her career journey.

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