I’ll go out on a limb and say that mine is not going to be an answer you’ve heard before! One part Harvard Assistant water polo coach, one part hedge fund Research Coordinator.
I started playing water polo the summer before high school (my friend had an older sister played so we wanted to try) and then I played all through high school. I went to Cal (UC-Berkeley) to play there…until I sustained a rotator cuff injury. That’s when I turned to coaching and it turned out that I loved it. I got an opportunity to be the assistant coach at Harvard and so in less than a week I packed up my life in San Francisco and moved to Boston. I coached there for four and a half years until my fiancé (now my husband) and I decided it was time to move back across the country. I wanted a life that was somewhat more settled than coaching ever could be so I interviewed all over—including with the San Francisco 49ers!—and ultimately chose a job as a research coordinator at a hedge fund. That’s how I ended up back in the Bay Area.
We have long days here, but I spent many years starting my day at 4 am, so even a 5 am start makes me feel like I’m sleeping in! Plus, it’s a high pressure environment, similar to C> (but with C> we’re facing completely different, life-or-death stakes).
The discipline of it was a gift that has continued giving throughout my life. Learning to be successful at school along with practice and games required a very structured regimen. Controlling and maximizing my time and energy (and prioritizing staying fit and healthy) are life skills that only grow in importance as we move through life. It also taught me how to use ketchup to get out the green from chlorine out of my hair…but that has been less widely applicable!
I get to constantly learn. This industry is nothing short of revolutionary, and with Anthony [Davies, CEO] and Katy [Spink, COO] as guides, I get to learn from the best of the best. I love the energy of C-suite support because the stakes are high and every day is the best kind of challenge.
It depends on whether we’re looking at the big picture or the everyday experience. Coordinating schedules for a company with clients and employees all over the world is the sort of challenge that never ends, and I do always feel extreme satisfaction when the pieces all come together and I’ve managed to make everything work out. In a big picture sense, it’s when I realize that I’m able to add value to the life-saving work being done in the cell and gene therapy space. That’s an incredible feeling.
I’ll always value the many lifelong friends made in my years of water polo, whether as a player or a coach.