Coach Pam Borton Inspires Nichols Female Students, Faculty, Staff


Pam Borton, the winningest women’s basketball coach for University of Minnesota and current president and CEO of Borton Partners visited Nichols College this week. She discussed her experiences as a coach and how we all can be successful—no matter what obstacles we face.

Borton attended a lunch earlier this month with faculty and staff, including Rachel Ferreira, director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership; Charlie Robert, visiting assistant professor for sports management; Beth Gionfriddo, assistant director of student involvement; and Lorraine Martinelle, director of public relations and social media.

To kick off the conversation, Ferreira asked Borton if she noticed any specific patterns or trends that hold women back from advancing in their careers.

“Ourselves,” Borton replied.

“As I have coached both men and women, I have seen that women lack confidence, don’t take as many risks as men, and are scared of challenging themselves in fear of making a mistake,” she added.

Using her 27 years of coaching experience, Borton has made it her mission to develop leaders as well as empower women to reach their full potential. She has two non-profit “passion projects” that inspire, encourage, and develop tomorrow’s female leaders. TeamWomenMN and Empower were created in hope of building an environment where women are supporting each other—from grade school to boardroom.

Resilience is the capacity to quickly recover from difficulties—or, in other words, toughness. Borton said that resilience is the key to getting out of your comfort zone, which is how we grow as individuals. During the discussion, she touched on how women tend to say “yes” to requests of them, and she admitted that one of her resolutions was to say “no” more often.

“Women tend to feel like they have to say ‘yes’ because it is in our DNA to want to help and improve ourselves,” she said. “We have to learn what is important to us and ask ourselves why we are doing something.”

Borton explained that figuring out our “why” is important to a woman’s success. When she is working with clients, she refers herself to their “thought partner.”

“My clients have the answers; I just ask the right questions, which in turn makes them critically think,” she said.

Everything that was discussed at that lunch resonated with every person there whether they realized it or not. Toward the end of the discussion, Professor Robert said,” I think life skills are needed alongside the reading, writing, and arithmetic they teach today.”

Borton was inspiring, and everything she said to the group was comforting.

Yes, comforting is not the first word you would describe Borton—she is strong, respected, and was feared on the court—but she let her audience know that they are not alone. She let them know that there is a reason behind all of their struggles, feelings, and mindsets. And before women put the blame on someone else, they need to first look at inward. Women need to love themselves and know that they can do anything they set our minds to.

Ashley Dallaire is a Nichols College senior and a public relations intern in the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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