I am grateful to Title IX and Coach Suzi D’Annolfo. Both made an important impact on my career in life sciences and personal life.
In the early 1970’s, there were not many options for girls to play sports. That all changed when I went to High School. Conard had a young, bright female coach and role model, Coach Olcott/D’Annolfo who invited everyone to join the track team. We had 100+ girls on the team, no tryouts or cuts. Instead of announcing the winners first at the conclusion of the meet, she celebrated the athletes who had beaten their personal best time or distance, followed by the athletes who had placed. She built a community of inclusiveness, de risked trying new events, taught us to compete against ourselves and celebrate all of our accomplishments. I think we where the Connecticut State Champions in Track and Cross Country every year.
When I was Captain of XC at Colby College and the future Olympian, Joan Benoit beat me, it was fun. I could celebrate my personal best and marvel at her achievements. Playing high school sports influenced and sustained my career trajectory in biotech, venture capital and executive search. It taught me how persevere, work as a team member and leader. Even if I were the only woman in an executive team, I could focus on my goals and compare myself to me not others. It also made me confident that if I could run 10 miles there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. Now I am paying it forward as a Board Member of Science Club for Girls in the Boston area to give under represented girls an opportunity in STEM – career fields traditionally not accessible to girls of color and reduced economic means. Investing in equity, diversity and inclusion is always a great idea and I am thankful to have been a beneficiary.
Sara, Anne, Coach Suzie, Esta, Mary and me - West Hartford Reservoir April 2022