Interview: Ken Lubin of Executive Athletes

May 5th, 2011 in Articles by 1 Comment

Ken Lubin, from the Boston area, is an executive recruiter with ZRG Partners. He is also a kick-ass mountain biker, downhill skier, and endurance athlete that founded a very popular (and growing) group on LinkedIn for business executives who remain competitive in their sport of choice; it’s called Executive Athletes, and if you belong to LinkedIn and have an interest in joining Ken’s most-excellent group, you can click here.

FTF: First and Foremost, Executive Athletes seems like such an obviously good idea. What prompted you to form this group?

KL: I figured that there had to be other professionals like me who were passionate in sport but didn’t really have anyone to network with.  Many people are part of clubs, but this doesn’t typically bring together the passion of sport and business.  Most office environments are made up people who are not active, and many professionals who are still athletes can have a hard time to relating to them. I thought that this would be a good place to begin.

FTF: The number of Masters runners – a group to which many Executive Athletes likely belong – has grown roughly 40% in the last 10 years (to more than 4.1 million people in the United States, by our estimates). Based on your experience as an executive recruiter – or as the group manager for Executive Athletes – what are you seeing that might be causing this growth?

KL: It is amazing to see how many active people are doing more and more.  I am also seeing a lot more people have a work-life balance. With technology we can get more done faster, and it frees up some time to train.  I also think that this recession was a real eye opener, it allowed people to take some stock in their health, priorities and balance.

FTF: Many groups on LinkedIn get overwhelmed with posts from people looking for jobs or trying to sell their products – sometimes to the point where the group is no longer useful. That doesn’t seem to happen much on Executive Athletes, and even when it does, the manner in which people do their self-promoting isn’t so intrusive. Why do you think that is? Are you taking specific steps as group leader to prevent it?

KL: Most of the people that are part of the group are passionate individuals, and for the most part I only allow professionals into the group after I look at their profiles to see if athletics are part of their life. If I don’t see what they have done or know who they are, I will ask them to detail their sport.  In regards to posts, if I see a post that isn’t relevant, I will delete it.  Also [the group] is self policed. If someone sees something they don’t think is appropriate they will notify me and I will take care of it. 

FTF: How would you describe the growth arc of your group? It seemed to really explode earlier this year, and now growth is back to a more moderate clip. Did you do anything to spark the growth or slow it down? Do you have a membership target?

KL: I think that this comes down to time for me. Earlier this year I was actively inviting people and then professionally my workload picked up substantially and my training picked up as well, which slowed [my involvement with the group] down  It spreads very quickly, and it is amazing how many people join every day.  The network is tremendous and truly global. 

FTF: One of the more interesting discussions you started invites people to brag about their athletic accomplishments – and some of the stories are truly humbling. Did any particular response make an impact on you?

KL: They are all amazing!!! I just love see what people have done and that they are very proud of their accomplishments.  I don’t think any one stands out more than any other.  To that person, it is the pinnacle of their athletic career, and it should be respected by all. 

FTF: As a recruiter, starting a group that attracts thousands of educated, motivated people has to be good for business. Do you think the stereotype is true, that athletes make better leaders? If so, why?

KL: I completely think it is true. In order to do what we do, we all need to be extremely disciplined, focused and passionate about what we do.  There is no way anyone could accomplish what they have done without that.  I think it translates into business success, athletic success, and personal success.  I am a big fan of seeing what I can do and push the limits of personal growth. And it is great to see that there are so many people that have the same beliefs that I do.

FTF: Any closing remarks?

KL: I would just like to thank you for taking the time to interview me and talk about the group. It is something that I am passionate about, and it seems that there are many others who are as well. 

Once again, if you are a business professional still competing in your sport of choice, and you have an interest in joining Executive Athletes, you can click here.

Author: Rick Miller

One Comment

I know Ken Lubin both professionally and personally and he is a devoted athlete as well as a devoted professional and husband/father. He is an inspiration to all of us in that he never makes excuses…he just does it! In New England the weather is always a challenge and he proves everyday that no matter what the weather or obstacle in your life, you can always make time to work out, compete, and challenge yourself. His passion is contagious and inspiring. The Executive Athletes Group he created on Linked In helps to motivate you to continue to ‘sharpen the saw’!

Tracy Heller


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