Laree Mancour was born an athlete. Her father is a PGA golf professional and had her swinging clubs as soon as she could hold one. By the first grade, she played soccer and continued playing into her 40s until an injury took her out of the game. In high school, she became a cheerleader. While attending college, she obtained her ACE certification to teach aerobics and be a personal trainer.
Throughout her career, Laree became a successful businesswoman and climbed the corporate ladder. However, she never gave up her obsession with health and fitness. She is incredibly grateful and gives much credit to her father’s golf lessons, as much of her success in closing business deals often was sealed by the 18th hole.
In 2007 Laree left corporate America to launch her brand strategy, design, and marketing business. It is simply her nature to help people grow and thrive physically and professionally. Many of her clients were passionate fitness entrepreneurs or sports-oriented organizations. In 2018 she was referred to Aaron Locks, CEO and Founder of the National Academy of Athletics. The two had synergy and shared a passion for sports and developing healthy lifestyles in our youth. She instantly saw the opportunity and decided to focus her energy on expanding the organization. She became his business partner with the goal of preparing the company to expand across the nation.
“The years of working with so many different entrepreneurs taught me one thing in particular- those that truly had a passion for what they did were the most successful in achieving their goals. Aaron Locks has an abundance of passion for youth sports and the health of young children. He had dedicated his life to helping children. I have spent my entire career mentoring and encouraging adults to become better salespeople, more successful marketers, and how to build positive relationships. On my off hours, I am the motivator to stay healthy and fit at gyms or on the court or field. Joining the NAofA’s mission gave me the opportunity to start kids off on the right path to become those active, healthy adults!”
Laree is now the Managing Partner, CBO & CMO for the National Academy of Athletics. The NAofA is on a mission to bring youth sports to kids nationwide. They use sports to promote positive mental and physical development in our youth. Their goal is to diminish childhood obesity by advocating for healthy lifestyles while providing tools to boost confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and personal growth. Within the four years she partnered with Aaron, they have grown the business exponentially and already expanded into several other states.
“The majority of children playing sports will not become professional athletes. We must support and encourage children to get out there and HAVE FUN. If they are having fun, they will continue to want to play! Active kids are less likely to become obese, and this reduces a child’s risk of diabetes, cancers, and many other diseases our nation’s children are suffering from. Exercise reduces depression and boosts energy, and studies show that active kids do better in school. Children don’t even realize that their bodies and minds are benefiting from the exercise. They don’t even realize the many life lessons they are taught. Youth sports can prepare a child for their future, not as pro athletes, but as Corporate CEOs, investors, bankers, realtors, Philanthropists, or Entrepreneurs!!- Life IS a team sport!”
Helping to grow the NAofA gave her the opportunity to help children fall in love with an active lifestyle and learn the life lessons you acquire by playing youth sports. She has made a career out of her deep passion for fitness and finds fulfillment in helping both children and adults find a love for an active lifestyle as she has. In addition to her work at the NAofA, she also remains an avid indoor cycling instructor and has become certified through the USA Pickleball Association Professional Pickleball Registry to teach Pickleball. She is also an active member of the Women in Fitness Association (WIFA) and is an advocate for all women and girls involved in sports and fitness.
“Playing sports like golf taught me to be honorable, focused, and independent. I learned how to strategize and make the most out of every situation. I learned to have a strong work ethic, as you cannot improve without practice and discipline. Playing soccer taught me how to be part of a team, make sacrifices for the good of my entire team, and showed me how someone’s attitude could bring an entire team up… or down. You learn to trust and count on each other and how to lose without losing your pride, and how to persevere. Winning and losing is LIFE! Not everyone gets a trophy. Playing Pickleball is all of the above! I feel that without sports, kids would have a really hard time understanding and learning these things- You learn by doing.”
Laree is now focused on taking the NAofA nationwide and leading her fitness classes by example as she strives to stay healthy and become a competitive Pickleball player.
We congratulate Laree for her lifelong accomplishments, dedication to growing our business, and passion for the health and well-being of children everywhere while remaining a strong competitive athlete. We couldn’t do this without her!