MEET CANDICE FABRY — FOUNDER OF FEARLESS & CAPABLE
- Name: Candice Fabry
- Pronouns: She/Her
- Position: Founder and owner of Fearless and Capable
- Catchphrases/sentiments to live by: I’m fearless and capable!
What’s your favorite soccer memory?
My last college game. Strangely, it was because I knew it would be my last time playing competitively. Basically, we discovered in my freshman year of college that I had a stress fracture in my back and that injury plagued my competitive playing throughout college. I loved my time on the pitch so much that I played through the pain all those years. Although, by my senior year, the amount of time needed in an ice bath just to get me on the pitch was no longer sustainable. When that final game came around I felt pure joy and an amazing sense of peace accepting that my own time playing was up and that I’d turn everything I’d learned on the pitch into coaching others in their soccer journey.
Candice, that’s very you, putting such a positive spin on being injured. But seriously, being devastated by injuries is something many of us relate to so it’s great to hear how it presented such a powerful alternative to you as a mentor for others.
(Laughs) Accepting it wasn’t without a few tears but absolutely, I was excited to just follow the natural course that my soccer career was taking.
What do you think is the greatest thing about women’s soccer?
The game is so empowering and filled with values to live your whole life by, like working as an individual to bring a collective group to success. I think women, in general, are so much better at doing that. Women’s soccer really celebrates how the individual can benefit a whole team. For instance, Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn, and Megan Rapinoe all bring their own unique, creative style to the pitch but that’s what makes the USWNT team as a whole so incredible. Soccer teams and clubs that have good culture always respect everyone’s individual identities and talents and that’s what makes a collective so strong.
Couldn’t agree more! You’re now the founder of Fearless and Capable, a sports career mentorship business. Tell us about how you took your love of the game and turned it into an entrepreneurial career?
Coaching soccer is all about how to bring the best out of your players and yourself as a coach. I had learned a lot from mentoring the game but in terms of the entrepreneurial step, one day it suddenly dawned on me…somebody needs to use soccer lessons to help professionally mentor women and marginalized people — groups who are dying for attention and support in their careers.
And that somebody was you!
Yes! People who have marginalized identities in the sports industry have so few role models and support systems for their barrier-breaking career paths. Of course, I’ve worked with some incredible allies but throughout my career, I really needed a mentor who could relate to the specific demands of my job as a woman in soccer. I needed someone who understood what it was like to be a mother and a coach and someone who could understand the threat, or experience of, working in the space after being a survivor of sexual assault. That’s where Fearless and Capable came from: I realized how beneficial it would have been to have had that support from a professional woman in the game. So, for my business leap, I was determined to set up a reliable mentorship space for anyone who needed a safe space to feel supported and excited to be a woman or marginalized person in a male-dominated sports world.
That’s powerful stuff! Thank you for sharing and for being so open about the challenges you’ve faced to stay in the game as a professional. All I can say is that the industry was desperate for your business model and I’m so glad it’s arrived!
Thank you! I’m just excited to help others grow into their roles as leaders feeling confident and capable.
WIS and the USL are running a “Pitch It” contest for entrepreneurs who use soccer to push for positive social change. What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
(Laughs) Remember to sleep! But seriously, building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Self-care is important; don’t get sucked into a negative cycle of thinking that you need to be working on your business every second of the day. If you’re in it for the long haul, then just put in the work for a strong foundation and your business will develop naturally over time. Secondly, trust your instincts. If you believe wholeheartedly in an idea, chances are it’s a worthwhile pursuit. Then, follow up from there by getting your ideas vetted by the straight shooters. Run your business proposal by the people who will give you honest feedback on what they see as being a downfall or where there are areas for development.
These are such important reminders for everyone in the start-up space. What are the mission and aims of Fearless and Capable?
The mission is to bring consistent, reliable mentorship and resources to women and marginalized people who work in sport. The aim is to build a committed and diverse mentorship staff who are always ready to answer the call of mentorship with their own unique experiences. Basically, our mentorship programs will foster personal growth in future industry leaders.
Do your mentorship programs look to support those in soccer specifically or are they for any sport or profession?
It’s all of the above. Everyone who works for, or participates in, Fearless and Capable has strong ties to the lifelong benefits of soccer and sports but we’ve supported people in a whole range of careers—from law enforcement to sports development and, of course, soccer coaching. The other piece is that male-dominated industries not only exclude women but also house very real horror stories and abuses of power. Fearless and Capable is here to support anyone affected by injustices and inequity in their field and to offer a safe space to work through those problems until the industry reflects a place we can all be proud to work in.
Candice, we’re so hyped to partner with you and see the incredible impact your business will have on people in the game. How do you feel about your mentorship program fueling a women’s soccer network?
The Women in Soccer network is spotlighting and promoting the glass ceiling shatterers within the industry and I’m so excited that Fearless and Capable can also be a part of the solution to making the soccer world better than we found it!
WIS member spotlights are conducted and written by our content producer Pip Penman.