Olympic Silver-Medalist, Owner of WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Author of Course Correction (Beacon Press; 2016)
Ginny Gilder paved the way for women and rowing at large during the Title IX era. She holds a silver medal from the 1984 Olympics in LA and a bronze medal from the 1983 World Championships. During her freshman year at Yale, she participated in the now-famous Women’s Crew “Strip-in” to protest the lack of equal facilities for female athletes. Gilder currently serves as the CEO of boutique investment advisory, Gilder Office for Growth, and is an owner of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.
Much of what Ginny has learned in life, she learned through rowing. Although her days as an elite athlete are now past, Ginny credits the sport for the invaluable lessons it delivered, often with a gut punch: “Whatever positive attributes I possess, I credit my years of rowing.” Ginny’s reflections on her long and indirect path to the Olympics touch on many lessons: the power of dreaming, the imperative to claim your own life for yourself, and the hidden gifts bestowed by persistence.
Our culture’s obsession with failing fast is problematic and counterproductive. It’s one thing to recover quickly from a mistake, but for something to qualify as a true failure, by definition the experience has to burn. In this talk, Ginny will elaborate on the reason failure needs to hurt, and how to embrace it. She will explain how failure serves as an essential aid in honing and navigating dreams, and how it acts as a foundation for increasing one’s capacities for both gratitude and forgiveness.
As co-owner of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Ginny maintains that the longest running women’s professional sports league lives at the intersection of sports, business, and social change. Passionate about sports and leveling the field for women in all walks of life, Ginny brings relevant business experience from two disparate worlds: professional sports and finance, both fields overwhelmingly dominated by men. With a deep belief in the power of connection, Ginny speaks about the ability to forge strong relationships as a competitive advantage; how to use empathy, compassion, and straight talk to produce concrete results; and shares her personal stories of redesigning traditionally male domains to suit more diverse groups.
Ostensibly straight, deeply closeted, married to a man, and raising a son and a daughter adopted from the same birth mother alongside her biological son, Ginny finally yielded to her internal imperative and came out at age 40. Recently remarried to the woman she fell in love with twenty years ago, Ginny offers several vignettes of her coming out process, its effect on the five children in the combined family she and her partner wife? created, and her gradual realization of exactly how political the personal truly is. While her standard book talk of her Olympic journey and Title IX activism has been her most sought-after keynote, Ginny would infuse this lecture, for Pride specifically, with these unwritten stories of her personal life, the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned in confronting and accepting her sexual orientation.
Ginny Gilder travels from Seattle, WA.