Cantele Speaks in First EI Women & Leadership Lecture
By Kate Delaney, Staff Writer
On Thursday evening, and International Women’s Day, Gettysburg Women’s Lacrosse Coach Carol Cantele gave a lecture on women in leadership in Mara Auditorium, the first installment in the Eisenhower Institute’s (EI) new Women & Leadership lecture series.
While, in the past, Women in Leadership was one of EI’s expert programs in which a select group of students studied women in leadership under the direction of Jennifer Donahue, this year, the Women in Leadership program is instead hosting several events throughout the semester aimed at opening the conversation to a broader audience on campus.
Coach Cantele is currently in her 26th season as head coach of the Gettysburg women’s lacrosse program. Under her leadership, the Gettysburg Women’s Lacrosse team has won ten Centennial Conference titles, and two national titles including one last spring. She is also one of four NCAA coaches who has had over four hundred wins in her coaching career. Not only is she an award-winning coach, but she is a 1983 graduate of Gettysburg, and helped the Gettysburg women’s lacrosse team win their first nation title in 1980.
In her lecture, Coach Cantele offered “four nuggets of leadership,” outlining several tools she has used to guide her team to victory. She always has her team members create an “end of season reflection” at the beginning of the lacrosse season, asking them to write as if they were at the end of their season and highlighting what they did well in their performance that year. This way, the women know what they want to achieve before the season starts, and work throughout the year to achieve these goals.
She also asks her team to choose one word at the beginning of the season that explains how they want to act in their games and practices. Her word, she said, is “dance, because [she] not only wants to stay positive and joyful, but because [she] needs to think spontaneously and creatively throughout the season.” She urges her team members to write their own word where they can see it every day, so they are constantly reminded to behave in a way that fulfills this word.
Additionally, this year, the team read The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, which details ten ways to stay optimistic in everything you do. According to Cantele, “A positive and optimistic leader is a great one.” It is important to not feel defeated as a leader, because that limits one’s ability to problem-solve, she said. Keeping energy and positivity is the key to “self-leading,” a skill she believes is just as important as leading others.
At the beginning and end of the day, the players are asked to keep a five-minute journal. In the morning, they are asked to think about the things that will make this day great, what they plan on achieving, and one affirmative thought to encourage them. At the end of the day, they are asked to reflect on the things that they were grateful for that day, and how they could have made that day even better. One of the most important aspects of this activity, Cantele says, is to show gratitude.
“Leaders that are grateful are among the best leaders,” she said.
What Cantele stressed most of all, however is that “moments lead to momentum.” It is one thing to plan on achieving great things, but another to do them. Once one action is completed, other actions must follow, and a leader cannot give up after one simple moment of leadership. A leader must make powerful, lasting, and positive change, and Cantele suggests following her four tips to start making an impact every single day, whether that’s on the field, in the classroom, or in life.