There are high-achievers, then there is Angela Ruggiero. On the ice, she was a four-time Olympian and ranks as the all-time leader, male or female, in hockey games played for Team USA. In the boardroom, the Ivy League grad is a leader in the sports technology field.
The California native was an All-American at Harvard and national player of the year. But for all her accomplishments in hockey, which includes a gold medal from the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games, Ruggiero doesn’t want to be defined by her sports career.
“I’m actually most proud of my education.” “A lot of people say, ‘Hey, you won a gold medal and are a superstar on the ice.’ But I was the first person from my family to graduate and I have two masters’ degrees.” (sports management and business)
Using the same work ethic that helped her become a hockey legend, Ruggiero set
her sights on becoming a successful businessperson after retiring from the sport in 2011. Her athletic career helped Ruggiero make a name for herself and she used it as a springboard to her next career.
“Hockey opened so many doors in terms of meeting people from different walks of life.” “And it kind of opened my aperture in terms of what’s out there.”
Ruggiero, only the second woman inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, started her post-playing career at Bridgewater Associates, an investment firm in Connecticut, before co-founding the Sports Innovation Lab, a market research and advisory firm based in Boston.
“We essentially look at what the market is doing across sports technology and provide analysis and information to our clients to better understand this emerging world.” “Every piece of the business model from the on-field performance, venues, sponsorship, to the media – everything is evolving because of technology.”
Ruggiero, who serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee, considers sports a valuable asset to business success.
“I’m so grateful I was an athlete.” “I learned the things that many people pay to learn in educational programs. I learned to compete, how to fail, how to be a team player, and how to set goals and targets and work backwards from that.” “I learned so much from sports and it’s helped tremendously in the business world.”
Ruggiero has fought her battles on the ice and in business. She knows the competitive fire required to succeed in both and has some sage advice for those who want to get into the sports industry.
“Work as hard as you can,” “You don’t have to be an expert in something. Be very forthright in what you want to do and develop your skill set and then bring that to the sports industry.
Among her many triumphs, Ruggiero along with 7 other Hall of Famers, was named to coach a new hockey league, 3ice.
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