Life is precious, and the recent passing of a former colleague reminded me of that. I was fortunate to meet Cathy Inglese when we were participating in Leadership Rhode Island’s (LRI) Strengths Coaches training during the summer of 2017. Cathy and I became fast friends, bonding over our love of working with college students and calling each other to discuss assignments for our coaches trainings. Cathy’s number one strength was “Achiever”, so it is no surprise that she is credited as the greatest coach in the history of Boston College. Our LRI Strengths Coaches cohort interviewed Cathy last summer to highlight how she saw her strengths reflected in her professional life as a college women’s basketball coach. Cathy shared the following:
“I have a deep desire to ‘make a difference’ in the lives of my players, both on and off the court. It is gratifying to observe players experience those ‘aha’ moments as a result of their hard work. A key ingredient to assist in individual player development is establishing a trusting relationship and connection with each athlete. This enables me to better understand their motivations, their individual styles of learning and for them to establish confidence to go beyond their ‘comfort zone’ to improve. Finally, they can take ownership in their roles and clearly see the significance they play in the success of the team.”
Cathy truly made a difference in the lives of others both on and off the court. When Cathy learned that I taught Public Speaking courses, she offered to come to my class to share her professional experience as a college women’s basketball coach and how she overcame her discomfort with speaking in public. Cathy visited my Roger Williams University class and delivered a dynamic presentation, encouraging students to not give up on their dreams and that anything is possible with hard work. She stayed for an hour after her talk, engaging with a student who was an aspiring professional basketball player. That was the kind of person who Cathy was; compassionate and dedicated to helping others reach their full potential. In a recent article titled Cathy Inglese’s Relentless Drive as a Coach Made Her Unforgettable written by Justin Barrasso, UCONN coach Geno Auriemma states that “No one was more passionate and more dedicated to being a coach. She lived it, everyday.” Cathy’s motivational speech to my class and willingness to offer guidance to a student who she just met, are only a few of the many examples of how she used her passion to empower others.
I often get asked to explain what it means to be a global citizen. While there is no widely agreed definition, a core concept is the belief that we can all make a difference by developing attributes in ourselves that foster active participation in our communities. Cathy was the embodiment of global citizenship. She made the world a better place by utilizing her passion for coaching to live a life focused on positive impact, bringing out the best in her players and everyone around her. In the short time that I knew Cathy, she certainly made a positive impact on my life and the lives of my students. The world needs more people like Cathy Inglese. Use your passion to make an impact.
“My belief is that everyone (my audience is college age students) is passionate about at least one thing in their life….although for some young adults this may take a while to realize. A personal goal I have is to always feel that I am growing, learning and finding the best way to excel in my role as a coach and teacher.”
– Cathy Inglese