story by Claire Miller
Sport administration master’s student Cordero Tanner has been passionate about sports since the fifth grade when he bought a whistle and wanted to be the assistant coach to the girls basketball team.
His youth coaching career began in earnest in college, when he was a volunteer coach for a fourth grade boys basketball team. He saw an opportunity to apply what he was learning in class to his work with the team – helping players improve their athletic skills and developing their personal identities and sense of self.
“My early coaching experiences were coupled with what I was learning in my sociology and public health courses and what I was seeing while working in youth development,” Tanner said. “I saw the link between social inequities and sports, and I began developing a coaching philosophy that put the player over the product and took seriously issues of bias, discrimination and access.”
Tanner founded a company called Athleaders 360 to put his coaching philosophy into practice. The company has several programs that teach coaches and organizations how to create a supportive environment for youth sports teams.
Trained coaches take what they’ve learned from Athleaders 360 to teach young athletes in the Atlanta area how to be leaders, give them a space to discuss important issues and show them how they can be successful on the court and in life.
“Coaches engage in development training to learn better ways to engage athletes, promote social justice, build relationships with parents and players, have the opportunities to collaborate with like-minded coaches, and create a positive climate and culture for their teams,” he explained.
Earlier this year, Tanner was accepted to the Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund’s third cohort. This six-month program, led by Georgia State University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, “supports underrepresented students, recent alumni and Georgia State community entrepreneurs with seed funding and mentorship to start and grow new ventures,” according to the program’s website.
As a coach, Tanner knows how valuable mentorship can be and hopes to make connections with other like-minded entrepreneurs as he continues to grow Athleaders 360.
“I want to connect with people who understand the difficulties of social entrepreneurship and have experienced those days when you don’t know what to do next, or when you lack motivation and the only person you’re accountable to is you,” he said. “This program does just that.”
To learn more about the Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund, visit https://eni.gsu.edu/msesf.