Athletics Department Kicks Off Leadership Training Series

GFS sports captains gathered at the Germantown Cricket Club for a leadership luncheon with Dr. Mario Moussa, for the first of 10 scheduled leadership meetings throughout the school year. The initiative was headed by Katie Bergstrom Mark, Director of Athletics.

During this first session on September 3rd, students spoke with Dr. Moussa, parent of Ella and Bix Komita-Moussa ’16, a renowned consultant for some of the world’s top leaders, and a fellow at the Wharton School, and discussed various aspects of leadership, including the difference between simply being a good athlete and being a good leader.

Students listen to Dr. Mario Moussa
Students listen to Dr. Mario Moussa

Ray Hill-Cristol ‘15, who attended the leadership luncheon as a captain of the boys’ soccer team, says, “something that stuck with me from the meeting was this difference between being talented and being a leader. I n the meeting, we talked about a tragic journey up Mount Everest, in which a group of people guided by two really good mountaineers failed because they were not good leaders.”

Bergstrom Mark echoed this sentiment, saying, “I think that there’s a misperception about leadership as someone who is the loudest, someone who has this stature, someone who’s the best player. And that is definitely not the case. There’s people who are really good leaders because they are great organizers. And then there are some people who are just inspiring.”

Each of the meetings throughout the year will feature a specific facilitator, ranging from GFS alumni and coaches to professionals who work in the field of leadership, possibly leaving room for one or two sessions where students will have the opportunity to pose their own queries for discussion. Bergstrom Mark hopes that this initiative will allow students to use athletics as a way to learn new ways to lead.

“We have always thought of our Captains’ Council as our connectors between our coaches and our athletes, but we wanted to really make this like a curriculum for these kids to get out into the wider world with some ideas of leadership philosophies,” she says.

Down the road, Bergstrom Mark has hopes of expanding this leadership initiative even further. Right now, the meetings are only for captains of sports teams; however, Bergstrom Mark hopes that in the future, these sessions can become open to all Upper Schoolers and extend beyond sports into other areas of leadership as well.

Bergstrom Mark sees the true value of sports not just on the practice field, but as a way to learn valuable life lessons. “One of the things I love about sports is that I think of it as this last safe space to fail. My hope is that sports is this place where you can miss a pass or have a bad race and pick yourself back up,” she says. Through these leadership meetings and the work of the team captains, Bergstrom Mark hopes that everyone at GFS can become a better leader.

“I really do feel like athletics is a vehicle, for not just the named captains of the team, but for pretty much anyone who does sports to learn leadership.”