Nichols Institute for Women’s Leadership Hosts Conversation with Coach Pam Borton


Pam Borton, former coach of the University of Minnesota’s women’s basketball team, is an inspiring executive coach who travels the country educating others on the value of leadership.

On Jan. 30, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Borton in the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) suite at Nichols College. I took part in a discussion with her regarding women’s leadership in today’s society. After coaching 27 years of women’s basketball, she decided to switch gears and shift her coaching focus. Today, she helps companies with their professional development needs, has developed a leadership academy for girls in grades 5-12, and has established two non-profit organizations.

Ms. Borton has had an extremely successful coaching career for the Division I basketball program at the University of Minnesota. In 2002 she became the head coach of the Gophers and excelled in her career having a “236-152 regular season game record and a 305-198 total games career coaching record,” as reported by This coaching opportunity not only gave Ms. Borton the opportunity to continue to pursue her passion for basketball, but also allowed her to use her leadership skills to help other people and grow as a person herself.

Throughout our lunch, we talked about issues that are not only relevant on the Nichols College campus today, but are also noticeable within society. Ms. Borton shared that the keys to being a good leader is “confidence, resilience, voice and taking risks.” We touched on the fact that as a female in the workplace, or even in general, there are many things that women struggle with, such as sexism in and out of the workplace.

As I and five other women talked in a round-table format, one of the questions posed to Ms. Borton was, “Why do women always feel they need to say ‘yes’ to everything?”

Borton replied: “As females, we say ‘yes’ and take on too much because we always feel the need to prove ourselves.”

I appreciated and understood her answer because I think this is something a lot of females can relate to and struggle with.

Ms. Borton explained that as individuals we need to know what is important to ourselves and to understand our own wants and needs.

“We need to move toward a culture where women are supporting other women,” she said.

This statement is extremely relevant today in society because women of any age should always strive to support each other.

Here at Nichols College, we are fortunate to have the Institute for Women’s Leadership, which encourages and fosters female leadership. The IWL is extremely involved with Nichols students, both male and female., IWL staff provide knowledge, host events, and create workshops to introduce the importance of female leadership to the student body. This not only helps students thrive during their four years of college, but also allows students to gain skills and confidence for the future.

Jenna McAssey is a junior at Nichols College and an intern in the Nichols Office of Marketing and Communications.

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