Sheila Rosenblum is the owner of Lady Sheila Stable. A longtime resident of Manhattan, Rosenblum has experienced increasing success in the racing industry since becoming an owner in 2010. Since teaming up with top trainer Linda Rice last year, the duo has been a formidable pair on the racetrack. The stable's top runner, La Verdad, has become one of the best New York-breds in training, capturing the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct.
"Racing is a truly thrilling sport that has provided me with a great deal of personal enjoyment. I strongly believe that increasing interest in the sport among women is crucial to the long-term vitality of the industry," said Rosenblum. "The racing syndicate I created has provided women with the opportunity to gain exposure and experience in an often male-dominated game. I look forward to welcoming other like-minded women to join me as we create this exciting racing opportunity."
Rosenblum's passion and interest in thoroughbreds prompted her entry to racing following a successful career as a model with well-known agencies Wilhelmina and Ford. Rosenblum is also an alumna of The Royal Ballet School in London and the School of American Ballet, the associate school of the New York City Ballet. Additionally, she is a board member for March of Dimes and is an advocate for children's rights.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I've had a number of experiences in my life that have taught me perseverance, hard work and commitment. The hardest work I've ever done, and the work that has taught me the most, was when I chose to enter motherhood. Being focused and accepting change as well as learning patience, which isn't a massive strength of mine, were only a few of the life-changing things I learned in the exhilaration of motherhood, or being C.E.O. of the household as I'd like to say. It's blessed me with rewards and set me up for my next role in life.
How has your previous employment experience aided your position at LADY SHEILA STABLE?
As a former ballet dancer, I developed an iron determination to succeed. It's been an obsession for me. Ballet dancers never ask questions. We do what we are told. I was able to rebel for a bit when I started modeling for Ford. It honed my grace and further allowed me to flex my determination to succeed. I was also very fortunate to have the financial means that I do, which allowed me to start this career and stay in the game.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at LADY SHEILA STABLE?
One of the main challenges is operating in a predominantly male-oriented world. I'm a new woman on the rise and the new kid on the block in the industry. I always like to see how much we can push and how long we can keep going.
There have been lots of good and lots of bad. I've had a horse die on the track. We had to put him down right there. Through all the challenges, I've persevered for four and a half very long years. I am very adamant about making sure I have happy horses racing for me. I give my horses lots of breaks, and the relationship I have with them is worth everything I put into it.
What advice can you offer women who are looking to get into the racing business?
I never thought I'd want to be competitive again after ballet and modeling, but I did and the goal now is to bring in other women, both C.E.O.'s and mothers alike. A lot of mothers can sit next to any C.E.O. and speak as eloquently as they can. They're the C.E.O.'s of the household.
Horses are like four-legged ballet dancers with curiosity, spirit, guts, will and determination. Treat them as you would if you were training a ballet dancer. A good trainer will take the time to treat them individually...and with a lot of care.
It helps to love what you do and to have a good, strong work ethic on top of it.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I love being a mother. I have two children, Kara who is 18 and Erik who is 15, and I've had the pleasure of seeing them grow up into two wonderful and incredibly mature people. I chose to be a mother as my main job up until four and a half years ago. When I started Lady Sheila Stable, my kids were grown and I was able to give more time to the learning of horses and racing. It is a very serious business. I am always there for my family, and they want to see me succeed in this as well. It's great to have them behind me for support. Now I balance that love with my love of horses.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think women have to work just a little bit harder to prove ourselves in a male-dominated industry. I'm an all or nothing person and I passionately put my heart into everything I do, from my kids to my horses. Put your all into what you do and don't give up.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I've been a mentor to a foster daughter for the past 15 years. It has allowed me to bring more love into my life and give that love back. That extends to everything I do, from my family to my horses. I've had misfortune, but I've had some great fortune too.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I have great respect for Linda Rice, the first actual partner in Lady Sheila Stable Two. She is the most dedicated trainer I know; she doesn't know what a "sick day means," as she has maybe missed work once in the time we've been working together. Hillary Clinton is another woman I greatly admire for her pure determination, and I hope to be seeing more of her in the coming years. I named a horse after her, Hillaryinthehouse. I also love the elegance and humanitarianism of Audrey Hepburn. She was so graceful as well as a fashion icon, and that feeds into the side of me that loves glamour. I also named a horse after her, Hot Like Hepburn. Lastly, I view Jacqueline Onassis as another woman who possessed such elegance. She was surrounded by so much tragedy but dealt with it with preservation and grace.
What do you want LADY SHEILA STABLE to accomplish in the next year?
I think I'm a bit of what the industry wants and needs right now...more women...plus a little bit of glamour. I want to do the right thing. I always bet $100 on my horse to win religiously. I'm going to dream, as always, to win the Triple Crown or get a Stakes win. I am going to continue to raise sound horses. Without sound horses, there are no horses. They must stay healthy. I have three about to race. This year I'm going to continue to further my racing syndicate and go for as many wins as we can.