In 2013, Anselm LeBourne launched the ‘Laventille to Wall Street Sports Academy Scholarship Foundation’. It forms an integral part of the work of his foundation which facilitates athletic scholarships to colleges in the USA for less fortunate student athletes.
I had my first encounter with Anselm in the most improbable place, a running track! It must have been about 33 degrees on a humid afternoon, and someone who looked not a day older than 30 was training with full vigour around the track making lap after lap while I was coaching some of my young footballers.
He finished his workout, came across and commended me on my work with my athletes as they were going through their speed and agility drills. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was in the company of a local icon, one of our many unsung heroes who through the power of sport continues to use his talent to pay it forward to young athletes deserving of international opportunities.
Professor LeBourne as he is known at his alma mater (Seton Hall University) lectures on Management, Global Business and Organisational Behaviour. However, he has come a long way.
He describes himself as the young kid from Building One, apartment 2-1, who left Trou Macaque, Laventille in 1977 for the United States, and after only one year of high school in Brooklyn, New York, he acquired a track-and-field scholarship to attend Seton Hall. “I am the first person in my family to attend university” he tells me. From 1978–1982, he welcomed the opportunity of a lifetime which allowed him to pursue both athletics and academics at SHU.
He graduated with a BSc in Accounting, pursued his MBA in Finance from Long Island University, and went on to spend 23 years on Wall Street working as a market analyst – a remarkable feat for someone who started off, not being able to afford tertiary education.
What has inspired him the most has been his philosophy that “Your background and circumstances may influence who you are but you’re responsible for who you become”. This raison d’etre has notably allowed Anselm to establish 18 world records in Master’s Track and Field for men 40 and over, and he is a ten-time gold medallist at the World Masters championships in 800 m and 1,500 m.
He describes his transition from athlete to coach as an easy one as he walks the talk. “I always knew I had the talent and abilities to inspire athletes to be the best they can be, and I can use my accomplishments as an example.”
Anselm describes his personal ethos as “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard”. He is an avid reader and recommends these two books which have shaped his entire life. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale and The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr David Schwartz.
For more information on the scholarships offered through the academy visit www.fromlaventilletowallstreetsportsacademy.com
Jamila Cross is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.