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Olympian Turned Executive Angela Ruggiero Refuses to Accept the Status Quo

Photo: Courtesy of Angela Ruggiero

Angela Ruggiero is no stranger to success. A member of the 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame, she medaled in four Olympics with the U.S. Olympic ice hockey team. During her career with the U.S. women’s national hockey team, she wore the USA jersey in more games than any other man or woman in America’s hockey history.

Reaching the top

Without hesitation, Ruggiero says her greatest accomplishment was bringing home the gold in 1998.

“It was about having that ambition, surrounding yourself with great people, having a support network and making hard decisions. You think about all the sacrifices made, and doing it as a team representing your country and being at the pinnacle of your sport.

“I learned life lessons, like what it means to fall and get back up.”

Hitting the books

Growing up in a blue-collar family, Ruggiero recognized the importance of education.

“Through sport and hard work in the classroom, I earned a degree from Harvard undergrad and went on to get a master’s from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Harvard Business School. I’m very proud of that.”

Says Ruggiero, “Sports and education set you up for success in the real world.”

Empowering young women

Having excelled in a male-dominated sport, Ruggiero is a firm believer in gender equality.

“Girls deserve the same opportunities and rights as boys. One of my favorite quotes is from Billie Jean King: ‘If you can see it, you can be it.’ The more visibility we have, the more young women are going to stand up and say ‘I want to be like her.'”

Starting daughters in sports early on is also beneficial. “Get them involved, but make it fun. Figure out what they love, because they’ll actually work a lot harder.”

Getting physical

For athletes wanting to get back into shape, Ruggiero stresses finding the right activity. “Try out lots of things. Make it something you enjoy.”

She adds, “Know what’s good for your heart, mind and productivity.”

New challenges

Ruggiero recently helped launch the Sports Innovation Lab, which she believes will revolutionize the industry.

“With the research we’re doing, we’re trying to really understand market trends and analysis, so we can push the industry forward and use sport as a platform to tell stories and what’s possible.”

“Through my experiences in sports, I had to put my hand up. You have to take the same kinds of risks off the field as you do on the field. Be ambitious. Go out and try to change the world.”

Cindy Riley, [email protected]

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