Twenty years of Sarah Cook's life were devoted to rowing for Australia at the Olympic Games. But then came the time to walk away.
"Once I stopped being an athlete, there was a real moment in time where I had to think, well, 'who is Sarah?'" dual-Olympian Cook said.
"Where am I going to head and is the best time of my life done?
"Twenty years of my life, more than two thirds of my life was just focused on one identity and one pathway which was being an Olympic athlete.
"I have managed to come through that transition period over the last 10 years and start to really clarify in my mind where I'd like to head."
Her story mirrors that of so many athletes when they end their sporting career, with an abrupt finish leaving a void they can struggle to fill.
Which is why the AIS has launched two professional development programs designed to combat those problems.
The athlete accelerate program will be launched on June 1 and aims to support female athletes looking to progress their leadership skills in sport beyond their athletic careers.
The talent program is focused on advancing the development of women in sports science, technology, engineering and medical disciplines.
"We must attract and retain women in leadership roles in sport, and these programs will drive the building of a critical mass," Australian Sports Commission chair Josephine Sukkar said.
Cook is among a group of 17 women selected for the accelerate program alongside Olympic gold medallist Sally Pearson, tennis champion Casey Dellacqua, soccer star Michelle Heyman and ACT Meteor Erin Osborne.
"The calibre of people who are part of this program is really strong - I can't wait to learn from their experiences and take that into my career," Osborne said.
"To have a roomful of intelligent women who have vast experiences in the sporting world is an opportunity that I'm really looking forward to."
The program looks to break down the barriers for women in sport and provide a solution to helping athletes progress in sport beyond their career.
"We know that barriers exist for women in sport, and we know what some of those are but now it's about actually about working through how we can address some of those barriers," Cook said.
"We want to ensure that women not only want to participate in sport but want to stay in sport and pursue it as a career."
Paralympics Australia chief medical officer Rachel Harris is part of the talent program which she hopes can unlock leadership potential within women in sport.
"Sport has traditionally been fairly male dominated in leadership positions; this is about exploring opportunities for a different style of leadership," Harris said.
"Breaking down the barriers and making women realise that they can be leaders."