I have had the incredible opportunity to take on a number of leadership roles throughout my career. This is largely due to my formative years, as my family encouraged me to play many kinds of sports. I grew up in New Zealand where sports are a national pastime – and you are expected to play – regardless of whether you are a boy or a girl.
I was never particularly great at any one sport, but I participated in them all: tennis, field hockey, skiing, sailing, swimming, you name it. I was there as a teammate, an individual and, whenever I got the chance, a captain.
There is no doubt in my mind the lessons of sport have fueled my life and my career. I learned how to win and to lose, how to both lead and work with a team toward a common goal, and how to learn and improve myself along the way. I am not alone in this experience – in fact 80% of female executives in Fortune 500 companies say they played sports as a child.
So when the opportunity was put in front of me a few years ago to become a trustee of the Women’s Sports Foundation, I knew it was critical for me to lean in to become part of a movement that helps other young girls get the same opportunities that I had. The foundation was started by Billie Jean King to support the Title IX movement and is dedicated to getting access to sports for girls who otherwise may not play. If a girl doesn’t participate in physical activity by the time she’s ten years old, she probably never will. In my mind, this is an unacceptable prospect.
My work with the Women’s Sports Foundation is a true passion. I am proud to have been a part of the team that created the “Keep Her In The Game” movement in honor of the 40th anniversary of the passing of Title IX.
The best thing you learn when you lean in is that your work is never done – there are always more leaders to be created and discovered with your support, and it’s the most rewarding work that you can do.