I’ve always been a big believer that playing team sports in childhood provides invaluable lessons that benefit you for a lifetime. I know this first hand from my years playing competitive soccer, where self-discipline and commitment to team work translated seamlessly to my professional life and career aspirations. I’m always impressed by those who use what they learn on the field to reach their life goals.
One person I’ve long admired is soccer great Brandi Chastain for her commitment to preparation and ongoing belief in the power of team. That’s why I’m excited that Citrix will host Brandi on March 8th at our Santa Clara office to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Knowing how important role modeling is to Brandi, we’ve also invited our employees to bring their children to listen to her message. Along with her athletic accomplishments, Brandi is the co-founder (along with fellow U.S. women’s national soccer team alum, Julie Foudy) of the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiatives (BAWSI) program. BAWSI is aimed at providing opportunities to girls who don’t have access to organized sports or physical education classes. These young women come from vulnerable communities where sports programming can help increase their resiliency.
We are so lucky to be living in a time of change. My question is, how can I help make change? I don’t dwell on what I’m not getting. I think about how can I help make change.
Brandi has made it her passion to use her celebrity to make change and I admire her for that. International Women’s Day — held this year on March 8 — we celebrate dedication to empowering girls and youth in general. Brandi’s perspective on helping younger generations was best captured during a 2016 Build Series interview when she said, “We are so lucky to be living in a time of change. My question is, how can I help make change? I don’t dwell on what I’m not getting. I think about how can I help make change. This is what the Women’s National Team has been doing for a long time. We’re not just advocating for the present, we’re advocating for the future for every young person out there. Not just women. So how do we resolve social norms and create new ones, even when it’s uncomfortable? If a girl’s work is on par with the male sitting next to her, why shouldn’t she be treated as an equal? We’re there. Now we need to make it happen.”
In fact, when you look back on the storied moment that made Brandi famous — removing her shirt to celebrate her winning kick in the 1999 World Cup championship final — it’s clear she’s been a catalyst of change for years. For an NBC interview she summed it up: “One of the greatest gifts that that photo has given to me is the platform to speak about embracing the situation that you’re in,” she said. “I never thought I would be the person making the last kick in the World Cup, nor did I ever think I would be an Olympic gold medalist or a World Cup champion. That was never a part of the plan. When you’re presented with an obstacle or an opportunity, you have to be able to go for it, and in preparation, you’ll be ready.” We need to invest in all generations of women to be ready for those critical moments, whether it’s the game winning goal, that competitive promotion, or a dream that didn’t seem in reach before.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I hope Brandi’s message regarding resiliency, overcoming obstacles, and sharing in team success leaves you with the sense of inspiration and confidence to take forward throughout your life journey.