Kristin Savilia, D'91, reflects on her journey from the soccer field to the board room.
This year marks my fifth anniversary as CEO at JOOR, the world’s largest wholesale platform and data exchange for fashion, luxury, and home categories that connects brands and retailers across 150 countries. I am a female CEO in technology, an industry where fewer than 5% of CEO’s are female.
Several years ago, I stood in the Canyon of Heroes in New York City and watched as the US Women’s Soccer team celebrated their World Cup Victory. You’ve all heard the stats: first parade NY had ever had for a Women’s sports team; the championship game itself having more viewership than any Men’s soccer game ever AND 2x the viewership of the last World Series. Impressive.
As I reflected on these events, I began to think how both can surprisingly be linked to a law passed many years ago. In 1972, when I was three years old, Title IX was passed. In layman’s terms the gist of this law is that, in any federally funded program (schools, NCAA, etc.), if you offer it for boys you need to offer it for girls.
Prior to title IX, the availability of sports for women was very limited. In 1974, when I was five, with the support of Title IX, the Long Island Junior Soccer League started its first girls’ team and I was on it. Numbers were so low that girls aged 5 to 13 had to play on the same teams. When I finished elementary school, the league not only had enough girls to fill each age range, but had added a travel team. By the time I hit high school, I played on a women’s team that played in league and state championships and had girls being recruited to top colleges.
This law had a profound effect on my life. For me, it is in sports that I learned all the skills that have allowed me to succeed. I learned leadership. I learned competitiveness. I learned to push my limits, but I also learned I could not do it alone and it is TEAM that matters. I learned to win and I learned to lose. And I learned there are lessons in losing that can make you win next time.
I am excited to be celebrating my fifth year as a Technology CEO and I am thankful for that law passed so many years ago that made this all possible.