Women’s History Month Interview Series: Associate Vice President for Athletics, Kathy Meehan
As part of Double G Sports 2014 Women’s History Month Interview Series, Associate Vice President for Athletics at St. John’s Kathy Meehan (BIO) was kind enough to answer a few questions. Throughout her career it is clear she has placed and continues to place value in relationships, doing the right thing and making the lives of people around her better.
1. When did you realize that you wanted to work in sports?
When I was growing up I loved sports but there weren’t many opportunities for females unless you wanted to become a PE teacher which I didn’t want to do. I was coaching high school while playing in college and I thought my only option would be to teach and coach. So, it wasn’t until I after my senior year of college when my head coach Vicki Kresse offered me a job to come work with her.
2. Do you think playing competitive sports has helped you in your career?
Absolutely, competing from CYO in fifth grade, went on to HS the competition and then college. It helped me come out of being shy, brought me out of my shell and gave me the confidence to interact with people and help form my entire adult personality.
3. How have opportunities and perception about women in sports changed throughout your career?
The opportunities have changed completely, especially with the help of Title IX. It’s been an unbelievable growth from the 70’s to now. The perception has clearly changed. Previously, any female that used to play sports was called a tomboy, now it’s not necessarily viewed that way – you can be viewed however you want to be.
4. What was your favorite moment as a college basketball player at St. John’s?
I can’t narrow it down to one moment because I loved the entire opportunity. But, I loved playing in the postseason.
5. What are your favorite sports?
Basketball, but I and appreciate all of the talents needed to play all sports. Outside of basketball it is probably volleyball.
6. As a woman what barriers (if any) did you face as you advanced through your career?
At St. John’s not as many because it is such an accepting and open atmosphere. Our administration embraced Title IX and women’s sports quickly became fully funded women’s programs.
7. How have you and how do you currently overcome the barriers and obstacles (from Q6) that arise?
I never have tried to concentrate on the negative. I try to have a positive outlook at all time, look at any barriers in life as opportunities.
8. How would you describe your job as Associate Vice President for Athletics?
I am blessed each day to have the opportunity to have a career I love and am passionate about. I always look to have a positive impact on the younger student-athletes and those that I work with. I always ask myself ‘How can I make people’s jobs, athletes experiences better, what are the things I can do to make that happen?
9. Did you have any mentors or people that you looked towards for inspiration? How did these people impact your career/life?
A lot of people, my initial CYO coaches who helped build a program for young girls. My high school coach, my college coach Vicki Kresse, I learned so much from all of them. Throughout my career I have always looked to our former athletic director Jack Kaiser – he’s always done things the right way, has always been about the person and treats people the way he wants to be treated.
10. What have been a few of the most gratifying moments during your career?
The reason I love what I do is because I get a lot of gratification on a daily basis, from student-athletes who drop by each day, to alumni – seeing them be successful outside of athletics and continuing to pay it forward.
11. As you look forward what do you want to accomplish in your career or in life?
Career and life are about people, family and friends, the people you work with every day. If you keep your people close and build good relationships they will continue to grow throughout your career and life and make you a better person.
12. What career advice would you give women who want to pursue a career in sports?
Work hard and build strong relationships throughout your personal life and career. Don’t take anything for granted and always keep looking to improve.
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