01 Mar 2015
3-Minute Briefing: Angela Ruggiero (MBA 2014)
Senior Management Associate, Bridgewater Associates
Four-time Olympic medalist, women’s ice hockey
President, Women’s Sports Foundation
Board Member, US Olympic Committee; Member, International Olympic Committeeby Julia HannaTopics:
The first time I stepped on the ice, I was seven years old. When I saw my younger brother, Billy, in his goalie gear I thought it looked really fun and cool and asked if I could try. It was terrifying. I was crying. But by the end of that first practice, I remember letting go of the boards and loving it. My sister played for two years. After that I was the only girl in California playing hockey in my age division. It was just me and the boys, which I loved.
When I was nine, my dad took my brother and me to try out for an all-star team. My brother made it, and I didn’t, although I was clearly strong enough to make the cut. My dad said, “Look, you can choose to give up. Or the next time, you can be the best player so there’s no way they can cut you.” After that I had focus, determination, and something to prove.
Less than 5 percent of sports coverage in the New York Times goes to female athletes. That’s crazy if you’re truly trying to represent 50 percent of the population.
One of the biggest compliments is when little boys ask me for my autograph. They respect and look up to me—hopefully that will change their perception of women when they’re adults.
When we won the gold medal in Nagano in 1998, it was the first time that women’s hockey was offered as an Olympic sport. There’s nothing like hearing the national anthem and being on top of the podium with your teammates. That’s part of why I kept playing for so long—because I wanted to repeat that amazing experience.
Donald Trump offered me a job right after he fired me on The Apprentice. That was cool. I ended up not taking it because I was still training to come back and play in one more Olympics. I played golf with him one day, and he could hit the ball. It’s an unorthodox swing, but he was getting it really close to the pin.
At the Sochi Games in 2014, I knew all the women’s hockey players and was close to the action. It felt like I was still part of the team, but obviously I wasn’t. It was so hard. Being a student at HBS helped me make the transition from being a full-time athlete. Bridgewater is a great place to evolve and grow. Right now I think I’m in an ideal place—applying management lessons from work to my duties for the IOC and Women’s Sports Foundation and using my experience in sports at the largest hedge fund in the world.
Class of MBA 2014, Section A