The Leadership & Legacy Forum at the Women’s Super Weekend was an opportunity to learn from and celebrate the accomplishments of four women leaders:
Angel Brunner, founder and CEO of EB5 Capital and former player for Berkeley All Blues.
Kathy Flores, coach of Brown University rugby and former coach of All Blues, and San Francisco Fog; first woman to coach US Women's National Team, World Cup player and coach.
Kris Hermanns, current chief impact officer for the Seattle Foundation; former CEO of the Pride Foundation.
Alex Williams, first USA Rugby Women’s High Performance Director and former Executive Director of Southern California Youth Rugby, Women's National Team player and forwards coach.
Alex Williams and Kathy Flores were honored for their long contributions towards growing the game as players, coaches and visionaries. Angel Brunner and Kris Hermanns were recognized for their contributions to greater social justice in the world – careers they credited to the lessons rugby taught them.
Held at Olympic Training Center at Chula Vista, the panel, moderated by WRCRA Chair Kerri Heffernan, covered topics ranging from the impact of Title IX on the development of women’s rugby, to the pull of social justice careers, athlete identity, body image, and elements of women’s leadership that rugby develops such as risk taking, decision making and fortitude. All attendees had an opportunity to engage with each other and with the panelists at a networking reception at a local brewery immediately following the session.
From panelist Angel Brunner: "What I learned as a small flanker was to capitalize when players underestimated me. I might have appeared to be a good target on the field but I was a ferocious and committed tackler. If someone was going to underestimate my value I was going to make them pay. I use that same mentality in the boardroom. I let them operate from assumptions, meanwhile I do my homework. You’d be surprised how well the lessons of rugby translate to business.”
The panelists were also treated to a cocktail reception Friday evening by Women In Rugby, an opportunity to share drinks with board members and staff from USAR as well as players in residence. The weekend culminated in two matches at the University of San Diego stadium, the 1:00 p.m. match between New Zealand and England and the 4:00 p.m. match between France and USA. While the USA outcome was disappointing, the crowds were enthusiastic and supportive.
A highlight of the weekend was a Girls Rugby Inc. flag rugby game held between matches. While tiny legs churned up the turf and the crowds cheered them on, it was clear that the future of girls and women's rugby was very bright.