A competitive tennis player since childhood, Sheila Ohlsson Walker, CFA, Ph.D. knows first-hand the power of sport to embed life skills and mindsets that transfer into careers, relationships, and wellness habits that foster health and well-being across life. She knows that adults, through the relationships they form, can activate passion, possibility, and a sense of purpose in young people. Accordingly, her work is focused on parents, sport coaches, teachers and other adults who impact youth during powerful developmental chapters when lifelong habits are most seamlessly embedded. Relatedly, she seeks to empower young people with mindsets, knowledge and skills that support them in building self-narratives that catalyze holistic flourishing across life.
Dr. Walker received a B.S. in Finance at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After a career as a portfolio manager for a buy side investment firm in Denver and earning a Chartered Financial Analyst designation, she pivoted to academia. She received her doctorate in Behavioral Genetics from the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at Kings College London, where she learned that the headline of biosocial science was clear: nurture (the environment) shapes nature (DNA) across life. The scientific truth about each individual’s capacity to express their human potential when context is supportive and engaging fostered a deep interest in translation and application of cutting-edge neuroscience, genetics, psychology, quantum physics and social science to create practical, accessible content that nourishes healthy development for people of all ages, especially youth.
Dr. Walker is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She serves on the boards of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation and the Youth Performance Institute, the Kent Denver School, the Youth Performance Institute, a member of the United States Tennis Association’s Sport Science Committee, and a member of the newly formed Global Women’s Health Taskforce formed by Hologic and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). She lives in Denver, and her greatest pride and joy is being a mother to her three sons, Jack, Charlie and Wyatt.