NFL Player Turned Social Entrepreneur Shares Lessons for Success with Business and Entrepreneurship Club

After playing professional football for nine seasons, native Atlantan Leigh Torrence gives back to his community as a Social Entrepreneur. He recently visited with the Upper School’s Business & Entrepreneurship Club to discuss the impact he is making.

Torrence graduated from Marist School where he played football, ran track and won two state tennis titles. Moving on to Stanford University, he continued to play football for four years while maintaining excellent grades and was named to the Academic All-Pac-10 team and honored as an Academic All-American. Torrence enthusiastically states, “I am more proud of my academic achievements than athletic.” He adds, “I chose to go to Stanford because of their 97% graduate success for athletes.”

Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2005, Torrence eventually went on to play for the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and ultimately the New Orleans Saints, the victors of Superbowl XLIV in 2010. He has the hardware to show for it.

Combining his athletic success, a big heart, and devotion to his community, Torrence has never been in a better position to give back. He calls himself a Social Entrepreneur: making a living while making a difference. He cites Harvard Professor Allen Grossman, who describes social entrepreneurship as, “Any activity or behavior that involves the pursuit of opportunity, regardless of the resources you currently control.”

As a result of his drive and compassion, Torrence conceived the South West Atlanta Youth Foundation (SWAY). This foundation serves to provide funding and resources for programming such as the Annual 4th Down Fundamentals Camp, and other innovative initiatives in the Atlanta area.

He is making what he calls a “social impact,” by developing a money-making idea with purpose. He shares that he learned business from sports and is now applying those skills to help others. “In the NFL, there is an expectation of performance and productivity at the highest level. If you can’t cut it, there’s someone else right there, ready to take your spot.” Competition ultimately creates productivity and accountability.

Torrence left the group of 40+ students with a takeaway of the “5 P’s” required in order to be a successful Social Entrepreneur:

  • Passion
  • Purpose
  • Plan
  • Partner
  • Profit

He calls it “real world stuff.”

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