Sarah Lesko, Oiselle

Ali on the Run Show Episode 384: Sarah Lesko, Oiselle’s Leader of Corporate Development

“Sometimes you just need an advocate to kick you in the pants.”

Sarah Lesko just might be one of the most-loved women in the running industry. As the leader of corporate development for Oiselle, Sarah — or “Lesko,” as most call her — is beloved by her colleagues, by Oiselle’s elite athletes, and by the hundreds of members of the Volée team. So what is about Lesko that makes people so drawn to her? After hearing about Oiselle from countless women on this show — Lauren Fleshman, Sally Bergesen, Alison Mariella Désir, Rebecca Mehra, Kara Goucher, Courtney Carter — it’s time to hear from Lesko herself! On this episode, Sarah talks about growing up on a commune, going to (and running for) Yale, and becoming a doctor. She talks about the health issue that forced her to take an 18-year break from running, and explains what drew her back in and got her on the run again. She talks about having kids (she’s a mom to three boys) while in her medical residency, and about life as a mom and family medicine doctor. And she talks about her decision to leave the medical industry in 2015 to work for Oiselle. Today, Sarah manages Oiselle’s philanthropic efforts, its Bras For Girls program, and the elite team. In this conversation, she reflects on helping grow the brand, including the initiatives she’s proudest of, and the missteps along the way. Plus, she talks about why, at 52, she’s proud to be “faster as a master.”

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How was your run today? (4:40)
  • What’s dominating your brain right now? (5:55)
  • What Sarah’s childhood was like as a self-proclaimed “child of hippies” (9:30)
  • On med school, raising children during med school, and becoming a family medicine doctor (14:20)
  • Meeting Sally Bergesen, and the road to Oiselle (22:25)
  • Why Sarah took 18 years off of running (25:21)
  • Reflecting on where Oiselle was at when Lesko entered the picture (29:50)
  • On leaning in to internet culture, engaging with influencers in the running space, and starting to sign and sponsor professional athletes (34:35)
  • What, exactly, Lesko does all day, and all about Bras for Girls (42:45)
  • On being so loved (48:45)
  • How Oiselle has evolved over the years (52:00)
  • On hiring Alison Mariella Désir, and the brand’s goals for DEI work (58:45)
  • The role running plays in Sarah’s life right now (1:05:25)

What we mention on this episode:

Sally Bergesen on Episode 48 of the Ali on the Run Show

Lauren Fleshman on Episode 103 of the Ali on the Run Show

Bras For Girls

Oiselle Light Luxe Fabric

Alison Mariella Désir on Episode 292 of the Ali on the Run Show

Kara Goucher on Episode 86 of the Ali on the Run Show

Running Industry Diversity Coalition

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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