Clearing obstacles for the next generation of female distance runners in Jamaica

about our work with Aisha Praught-Leer

Everybody knows Jamaica is a sprint nation, but middle-distance runner, Aisha Praught-Leer has a vision to change that. 2018 Commonwealth Champion, Olympic Athlete and Jamaican National Team Member, Aisha Praught-Leer, has an ultimate goal of seeing middle-distance female athletes from Jamaica recruited by and running for NCAA schools, and after one conversation with her, it’s clear she is the right leader for the cause.

Going the Distance with Aisha Praught-Leer

Well-known and easily recognizable in Jamaica and well-connected in the U.S., Praught-Leer has a unique capacity to personally grow relationships between Jamaican high school female athletes and NCAA coaches.

Aisha was connected to Ladder through a mutual friend and contact at Under Armour, Aisha’s footwear and apparel sponsor. Aisha initially reached out with a lot of ideas for how she could give back in a meaningful way, but overwhelmed with how to narrow in on a vision and make it happen. Michelle and Aisha had a brainstorming and visioning conversation that ended with a vision recap document to help guide Aisha as she started to explore opportunities and reach out to others. Weeks after their initial conversation, once Aisha determined where and how she’d like to begin making an impact, she reached back out to Michelle. This time, to develop Mission, Vision and Values for her initiative, as well as core Brand Voice work and initial event Brand Messaging. Not only is Aisha a talented athlete and joyful human, she’s also a dream client because she had the awareness to be intentional and consistent about messaging up front.

We embarked on the creation of Mission, Vision and Values statements that were specific to Aisha as an athlete. The results are focused statements that also provide some space to expand and allow her efforts to grow. The final product is a Mission that gives a nod to Aisha’s signature event, the steeplechase, where she physically clears obstacles regularly on the track; a Vision that she can bring to life and we can all imagine existing not too far in the future, a proven path to success that female distance runners can follow and an expanded reputation of track and field in Jamaica; and finally, a set of Values grounded deep in Aisha’s heritage and her personal journey.

Aisha Praught-Leer Gives Back
Aisha Praught-Leer at Hydel High in Jamaica

As previously mentioned, Aisha is a clear and natural leader for this cause. In less than four months from our initial visioning conversation, she quickly mobilized and hosted her first event. Going the Distance with Aisha Praught-Leer, a first-of-its-kind workshop for middle distance runners, was held in Jamaica in mid-February. The attendees participated in running and strength training with Aisha, a goal-setting session and had the opportunity to hear Aisha’s unique story. If these images are any indication, it’s safe to say it was a huge success.

This is just the beginning of Aisha’s efforts, be on the lookout for more.

Photos courtesy of Under Armour (Captured by RabbitWolf Creative)

Photos courtesy of Under Armour (Captured by RabbitWolf Creative)

the work

Mission: To clear obstacles and create opportunities for the future generation of female distance runners in Jamaica.

Vision: An expanded reputation of track and field in Jamaica and the existence of an obvious and proven path to success for female distance runners.


Resilience – We find strength within ourselves to take on challenges and become stronger.
Ownership – We are confident and accountable in working to be the best versions of ourselves.
One – Out of many, one people: We recognize that individual differences strengthen the whole.
Truth – We share the full story because revealing adversities makes us relatable.
Success – We believe and represent that every young woman is capable and worthy of success.

“Working with Michelle was smooth and effective. She met me where I was, passionate about making change but weighed down by too many ideas. Her methods were approachable, professional and incredibly thoughtful. Michelle has a unique ability to draw clear Mission, Vision, Values and Brand Voice work from what felt like easy conversation with a friend. I executed my first event, a running workshop in Jamaica, with ease and confidence. I hope to work with her again and again.”
— Aisha Praught-Leer, Olympic Athlete & Jamaican National Team Member