By Ashleigh Sargent
Gail Marquis is a powerful woman in sports, business, and volunteer foundation work. She won a silver medal as a part of the 1976 U.S. Women’s Basketball Olympic Team and played basketball professionally in Europe, before taking her competitive drive and spirit to Wall Street where she worked for 25 years. Marquis was recently invited to be on the Council of Advisors for the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and this year attended the Commission on the Status of Women meetings at the United Nations as one of the Centers’ representatives.
I had the chance to talk to Gail Marquis during her most recent trip to Wellesley about her experiences as an athlete, a businesswoman, and a representative to the United Nations. I will be graduating from college soon, and she gave me advice about how to take the skills I have gained as a collegiate athlete and apply them. Here are some of her tips about building connections, expanding your influence, and figuring out where you want to go.
Network: Let people know who you are and what you want. Don’t just observe what goes on around you. Ask good questions and don’t be afraid to speak up to give your opinion. Share your name when you speak in meetings so that people learn who you are.
Get related: While getting your name out there is helpful, you also have to get related. Don’t just learn people’s names. Figure out their story, their background, and their interests. Find ways that you are somehow related to them because then they will remember you.
Use your platform: Anything can be used as a platform. Nobody is one-dimensional, especially not athletes, so use your voice. The generation of people graduating right now has already started pushing the envelope about social issues and equality. We need to continue to do that.
Hear other viewpoints: Before you can understand your own views about any issue, you have to hear what other people think. Learn why they think differently than you do. This again involves asking good questions to figure out where they come from and what is important to people who are different from you.
Ask for help: Nobody is in a vacuum. You can’t do it on your own. Use the resources around you and don’t be afraid to ask other people to help you. Use the advice you receive and the connections you make to get where you want to go.
Get involved: Take the experiences you have had and apply them. For athletes, take the desire, dedication, and discipline that you have developed throughout your life and apply it to your future – career, school, family, friends, etc. More women need to get involved in sports as coaches, administrators, or managers. Women need to speak up for themselves and be proud of their accomplishments.