Former soccer captain to give talk on servant leadership


Nowshin Chowdhury

Founder of non-profit organization Fleece and Thank You, Nicholas Christock delivers blankets with his friend Dan Brown in November, 2015.

Former professional soccer player and Oakland University alum Nicholas Kristock chose to become homeless for a week.

Now the founder of Fleece and Thank You, a nonprofit organization that gives handmade fleece blankets to children going through cancer treatment, Kristock is coming back to OU to discuss his experiences, delving into the subject of servant leadership.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the Lake Superior A room of the Oakland Center, and will be hosted by the Leadership & Volunteer Center.

“A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong,” according to “While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the ‘top of the pyramid,’ servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”

The goal of Kristock’s lecture is to help attendees understand how to become a servant leader, as well as why diversity and emotional intelligence are important components of servant leadership.

Kristock has always been interested in leading and was captain of various sports teams, including OU’s men’s soccer team. He then went professional, playing two seasons in Australia. However, he found himself with a lot of free time while abroad and began to help multiple nonprofit organizations.

“I was working with those charities every day, and when you’re around something so much, your heart is going to get pulled towards it,” he said.

Of these nonprofits was Orange Sky Laundry, the world’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless. In order to see what areas of Australia needed the most help, Kristock and a few other members decided to actually live like they were homeless.

“We went into different shelters for meals and down alleys to see the life that gets lived behind those brick walls we often drive past,” he said. “It was one of the best experiences of my entire life, and I learned things I never could have prepared myself for.”

He eventually made the decision to leave the soccer world for good, founding Fleece and Thank You in 2015.

“It felt supernatural that I had gone and experienced other parts of the world,” he said. “It was on my heart to do more stuff. I came back to America, started that and never looked back.”

Working with these nonprofits has especially helped Kristock grow as a leader.

“I learn something new about leadership every day, whether that’s from observing other people who are leaders or just observing my own actions, talking to my followers and getting feedback,” he said. “You’re never done learning.”

A more in-depth look at his experiences and lessons learned will be presented at the lecture.

Kristock hopes the event will have an emotional impact on attendees, whether that means inspiring them to be leaders, encouraging empathy toward others or motivating them to find a cause to support.

“The point of the talk is that the room is left by a group of people who are ready to take action,” he said.

For more information about Fleece and Thank You, visit