Corie Barry: From Rugby Field to CEO

There’s no arguing the fitness benefits for girls playing sports — but does it really increase their likelihood of success later in life? Athletics teach values that go far beyond the court or field: cooperation, determination, discipline, and how to succeed under pressure. 

As more women enter the C-Suite, it’s notable how many laid the foundation for their success playing competitive sports early in life.

Corie Barry spent much of her career with Best Buy, having served as Chief Financial Officer before being named CEO. Before that, she played college rugby and considered a career in dance. For her, an impressive title and resume must include her husband and two kids, youth baseball games, gymnastics with her daughter, and active time spent together with her family. 

“My point of view is there is no perfect balance,” says Barry. “All you can do is figure out what works for you. I laugh because I’m always the mom who shows up at the baseball game in my heels, and that’s OK.” 

Read Corie Barry Becomes Fifth CEO in Best Buy History

Whether it’s business or sports, Barry has advice we can all use. “I’ve always felt it’s important to demand a return on your investment. If you’re going to put your time in, where you put it in and the return you get is incredibly important because there are only so many hours in a day.”

Corie’s is an inspiring success story for athletic girls in every sport.

Dragonwing Chill Weight: sports leggings, capris, fitted tops for girlsRead “Boardrooms And Ballfields: Best Buy CFO Corie Barry Talks Motherhood” 

 

Click to shop new Chill Weight Leggings and Support Tops

Misty Copeland on Finding Your Voice

Misty Copeland - Studio RehearsalResilience. Strength. Grace.

All characteristics of premier athlete and of barrier-breaker, Misty Copeland. Despite being told her form didn’t match historically accepted ballet techniques and that she was too athletic, Misty redefined what it means to be a ballerina.

Misty Copeland is the first black female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theater.

She recently spoke with Susan Jaffe, Dean of Dance at the UNC School of the Arts in Chapel Hill, NC, to share her experiences and how she found her voice through her art.

Here are our five favorite takeaways from their conversation.

  1. Evaluate the source of comments and opinions, and then decide how much weight they deserve. Negative comments might have derailed Misty’s love of ballet, but instead, she chose carefully to whom she would listen and discovered the wisdom of listening to herself.
  2. Mentors play a significant role. Mentors helped guide Misty through challenges and provided the support network needed for success. Her first dance teacher, Cindy Bradley, was instrumental in setting Misty on the course that would shape her future.
  3. Resilience is the attitude you use to overcome challenges. It’s not enough to keep trying, you have to see setbacks and failures for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow. It can be applied to how you rebound from a bad practice – you choose to focus on what went wrong, or you decide to focus on how you can do better.
  4. Love who you are because that is the source of your strength. Misty loves her muscular body, and it’s what won over critics. What most saw, in the early days, as a negative, she turned into an asset.
  5. Keep it simple, and it will inform how you control your body (and mind.) When asked how she keeps her upper body so still, Misty shared her philosophy to keep it simple and to not add anything unnecessary to a move. This dance tip can be applied to any sport and really, to any part of our lives. 

With these reflections, two more words come to mind when describing Misty Copeland.

Intelligence. Wisdom. 

Celebrating its 15th season, Carolina Performing Arts is amplifying the creative leadership of women through performances and art. Check out their schedule for upcoming events. (Keeping with ballet, Wendy Whelan is on the schedule!)

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Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

For the Dragonwing team, this video makes us emotional – especially when Jock Semple tries to pull her out. Kathrine’s quote “all of a sudden this was very important … nobody believes I can do this.. and if I don’t finish, people will think all women can’t.” she finished in 4 hrs and 20 min. KV Switzer (and whoever wears #261 -how lucky are you!)

You can watch the video here.

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

“Dear Dragonwing Girl…” Wise Words From A Bad Cookie


Dear Dragonwing Girl,

I would like to start by saying you are amazing. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you have done to get to this point right now, you’re amazing. You have unlimited untapped potential and only the sky is the limit. I’m sure you’ve heard this before from loving grandparents whilst they grab your cheeks and squeeze you in a constricting hug, but right now- at this moment- I want you to read carefully. You are all the attributes I listed before and more; you are beautiful, strong, and smart and you can do everything you want to and more.

Despite you and I knowing these things to be true, some will doubt you. Some will doubt you without even knowing you, and some will doubt you right after seeing your name on a resume. These some will be men, but they will also be women. Most will do this unconsciously, and I implore you to not be angry at them for the ignorance and bias they hold. I implore you to fight the fight of being a career-driven girl in a world run by men.

Though it is important to not hold anger for the world being the way it is, do not conform to the need to be “pleasant” or “calm” or “collected.” You can speak out when you see small forms of misogyny in your school or workplace. Whether it be a man dominating the discussion, or a guy in your group making snide comments, you can step up. You can make your voice be heard because you won’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Because you can.

So, stay strong because it can be hard sometimes. You might be called selfish or bossy or any other number of terms people like to use for women who don’t conform to their stereotypes, but if you struggle, if you stand your ground, if you fight for what you want, then we will be one step closer to gender equality.

Sincerely,

Your friend at Dragonwing girlgear, Abby

Black History Month: Celebrating Serena Williams!

Sharing stories about women athletes matters. Equally important, hearing stories of amazing women athletes matters. One of my favorite legends is Serena Williams. To celebrate Black History Month, the artist Simone Grace is creating a coloring book with portraits of 28 amazing black women and one of the world’s greatest athletes, Serena Williams is featured.  Simone is my friend and classmate -and when I asked her if we could share this page with our community of athletic girls and their parents, she generously and ecstatically agreed. You can get a free printable coloring page here!

Check out all the illustrations of visionary black women who are luminaries in politics, arts, activism, business and sports. Coloring is a fun, empowering and relaxing activity for all the strong girls and women in your life and makes a great gift! You learn more about Simone Grace and how to get the entire printable coloring book at the GoFundMe page here.

xoxo
MaryAnne
Founder of Dragonwing girlgear

mosaic

 

The “why” of Dragonwing girlgear.

kickstart_bannerPeople often ask me why I am so passionate about sports and girls and I have a simple, important reason – we need this generation of girls, now more than ever, to reach their potential.  Sports participation at any level is one path to actualizing potential –it is established and proven – we don’t need to create a new program or study its benefits.  But social expectations and social media are getting in the way of girls.  When I realized “the underwear experience” could have an impact, I had an aha moment that I could do something about it.

Let’s take Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid.  On one level of the pyramid is community or village – we all know and accept that it takes a village to grow a strong confident girl.  We are happier with friends, family, a team, a tribe.  Belonging is important.   Connections give life meaning (Brene Brown).  Sports provide a natural community.

The next level of the pyramid is self-esteem.  Sports build self-esteem in so many ways, such as setting and achieving goals, graciously winning, building resilience, pushing your comfort zone for what you think you can do and then exceeding it – just to name a few. For more on this, check out this TedEx talk by Alisa Herr.

Unfortunately, feelings about breast development are a top reason girls drop out of sports.  According to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, “three quarters of school-aged girls report breast-related concerns regarding exercise and sports.”   75%!!!  That’s just not acceptable.  Starting and normalizing conversation about body changes can improve this.  Sports programs frequently recommend protective gear for boys, like cups, or compression shorts, but there is no comparable list recommended for girls. At Dragonwing girlgear, we provide girls that list and more.

Having an excellent-fitting, high-performance sports top – whether it is a bra, cami or thermal tee-shirt, that is designed especially for the athletic girl’s figure, can eliminate worries about underwear malfunction.  Embarrassment about changing bodies can alleviate concerns about body image.  At Dragonwing, we strive to free up emotional energy– so girls can focus on their game – and everything else they want to achieve… because when girls are confident, the possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy

 

On this day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I will take the time to read his speech from The March on Washington in 1963, often called the “I Have a Dream” speech.

As always, I am moved by the eloquence and power of his words. I am grateful for the efforts, sacrifices, and courageous acts — large and small — that have resulted in expanded civil rights for millions in our country. And I am reminded of the work that remains to be done — work that I and WE need to do — to help make Dr. King’s dream a reality.

mlk

If you would like to read Dr. King’s speech from the March on Washington or any of his other works, you can find them online at The King Center.

End-of-Year Thanks in a Poem!

Wishing You a Festive Holiday Season from Dragonwing girlgear CEO & founder

A VISIT FROM DRAGONWING *

‘Twas the night before the game, when all through the town
Not a suitable girl’s sports bra or shorts could be found.
So a Mom who was fed-up with the lack of quality and fit,
Decided she could make something new – and with grit.She knew in a moment that athletic girls she must serve,

For girls are our future — from that goal she’d not swerve.
With superior gear that met their high standard of play,
Girls could compete without distraction — hooray!Now, soccer! Now, lacrosse! Now, hoops and volleyball!
On gymnastics! On skiing, on skating & all!
To the top of the conference! To the top of the league!

With Dragonwing girlgear, there’s no goal we can’t achieve!
This Mom keeps on making stylish, high-performing gear
So sports girls everywhere can play with confidence and cheer.
You can hear her exclaim, as year ends (it’s not a dream),

“Happy Holidays to all. Thanks for being part of our team!”

with best wishes and many thanks,
MaryAnne Gucciardi
Founder & CEO

* with apologies (and thanks) to Clement Clarke Moore.

My Mother Never Ceases to Amaze Me

Let me begin by saying my mother is the coolest woman I know. She is a loyal friend, dedicated teacher, and incredible parent. One of the greatest loves of her life is running, but she wasn’t always the talented distance athlete she is now. Growing up, she was an actress, French enthusiast, and a cheerleader.

When my sister and I were young, she ventured to try a running group and quickly began checking off races of shorter distances. One day, she asked to join her friends on a long run, and her dreams took off from there.

She’s finished 26.2 miles through the vibrant city of Richmond, along the beaches of Wilmington, and even across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. This year, she completed her third Boston Marathon with courage and grace — not to mention speed! She’s wearing a hat in the photo, but underneath she was wearing a Dragonwing Racer sports bra!

Celia's Mom and friend after finishing Boston Marathon 2015

I am so thankful my mom found an outlet for her powerful energy. I am also grateful she found a close circle of friends through her sport. With them, she’s completed 200-mile team relay events: the Blue Ridge Relay and Hood to Coast.

 

Blue Ridge 200 mile relay team

These women are all fantastic examples of strength, resilience, and bravery, and they support each other in running and in everything else.

Celia_RunBuddies

Next, my mama will lace up for the Berlin Marathon. The woman never ceases to amaze me.

 

Celia give Mom a post-marathon hug

Hello December…and almost January!

I know, it’s been a couple months…when I said I was a busy girl, I wasn’t kidding. But I’ve made it through the rough patch of my senior year, and, more importantly, I’ve made it through another full year.

They say that these last few days of the year are a time to reflect. We think about the milestone events that happened in the past 12 months. We think about the best days we had, the vacations we took, awards we achieved, tournaments we (almost) won, and friends we made.

However, sometimes only the biggest events (like starting senior year, or going to the Justin Timberlake concert) come to our head. Sometimes, the bad events might even overpower the good in our memories, so we can’t smile and be proud of our year.  Good or bad, that’s a lot of things to keep straight and remember about the past 12 months. Every year is a good year, it just might be tough to remember why.

So, to solve that exact problem, starting January 1st of last year, I decided I was going to write down all of the highlights from the year. After every fun day, exciting night, or memorable moment, I would write down all the details of the great day. I like to include the tiny details, like “when my friend and I smiled across the room at an inside joke that our teacher said”, or “he said these exact words to me” because they’re details that can only be remembered if they’re written down. I put them on a small piece of paper, and into a jar that doesn’t get opened until December 31st.

Last year, opening the notes was incredible. There were a lot of big events that I remembered, but there were also lots of little sayings or small moments that I had completely forgotten about, and opening all of them put a huge smile on my face.

Since I enjoyed it so much, I decided to do it again this year, and my jar is twice as full as it was a year ago. Now, just a few short days stand in between me and all of my memories and I can’t wait to reminisce, and then start all over again next year!