We had the good fortune of connecting with Jared Johnston and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jared, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I believe that From Cleats to Loafers helps the community/world by being a voice that is speaking up on a topic that many others may have felt ashamed to speak about. That topic is our athletes struggling to cope with moving on from the respective sport they played for years, with the goal of playing professionally and leading to a successful life for themselves and their families. In a sense, I would say that myself and the message behind From Cleats to Loafers give a voice to those who may not be ready to speak about their experiences. Those experiences of failure, possible depression, anxiety, and much more. Whether it be the feeling of being judged or not comfortable being transparent to complete strangers. In a result, those who may be struggling, or are at a point in their life where they do not want to struggle in the future, post athletics can find a solution throughout the book and a place of comfort to see themselves through my story. This extends beyond just the athlete as well, parents and coaches will have an eye-opener into their athlete’s mind and be able to better help and guide our young athletes.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
From Cleats to Loafers stands for ensuring our athletes are successful far past the playing days of their respective sport. I would say what sets From Cleats to Loafers apart from anyone else who may have flirted with this topic in whichever form of expression they chose is the pure transparency throughout the book. I did not hold back in my truth, my successes as well as my failures. All with the purpose of being able to reach the reader in an impactful way. A few other works that I have seen related to the post-athletic transition/life usually come at the hands of an ex NFL player or another professional sport. The percentage of individuals that make it to the professional ranks is very low. Therefore that piece of work speaks to a very small population, which is also needed. However, From Cleats to Loafers speaks to the majority of our athletes, not the minority. Many of us do not make it to the NFL, NBA, WNBA, etc. So the majority of our athletes are often put into a place of uncertainty when it comes to finding a new career, passion, or true purpose beyond the playing field. The majority of athletes that do not reach the professional rank do not have a bit of a head start financially with money left over from a contract. A lot of us are forced to start over from scratch and build ourselves back up, forming a new identity and new outlook on our life. As I transitioned into real estate within the DMV I had to be able and willing to receive mentorship and instruction from those who know a lot more than me. I had to reinvent myself through reading and having a new perspective on life. It was not easy but challenging. Coming from a background in sports, I have been used to responding to challenges, this was just a different playing field and once I grasped that concept I went at it head on. Lessons that I have learned along the way is that as humans we are more than capable of adapting to any situation we are thrown into. Often we may look at situations in our life as unfortunate and may seem like we are very far off from the plan for our lives. However, having my faith in God on a daily basis has carried me thus far. That is what I would like for people to take from my story and brand.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If one of my best friends were visiting one of the first things we’re doing for sure is going to get food. I’m a big fan of oohs and ahhs in D.C. so that’s at the top of the list plus several other great restaurants in the DMV area. I would take them to Pentagon City mall and Tysons Corner mall to shop, chill and also find good food in those areas. The MGM and National Harbor would be a must as well and connect with some other friends out there and do Top Golf. Going to the museums would be on the itinerary, especially the African American Museum. A trip wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t take my best friend to Woodbridge, VA to see my fam and get some home-cooked soul food from my Aunt Ann. If we’re talking pre-Covid, then going to U street is on the list as well to go to the club/lounges out there. To wrap it all up it wouldn’t be complete without going to one of the better Sunday brunch/day parties in D.C.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout my family who has always supported me and encouraged me to do better and exceed my own expectations. That goes from my mother, brother, father, grandmother, stepfather, cousins, aunts and so many more in my family. And my best friends I consider my family so they are all included.