Week 17: Kylie Anita Roberto-Richardson
Secondary School Principal
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Mississauga Ontario. My parents believed in equal opportunities for girls and boys. Following my older brother’s example I played all kinds of sports. The more I played, the happier I became. Sports provided me with confidence in every facet of my life, on the field, in the gym, on the ice, and in the classroom. I was fortunate to have a strong faith foundation which informed my conscience, and governed my actions. I have always been compelled to use the gifts God has bestowed upon me to make myself the best I can be in all facets of my life. I played 12 different sports in High School, and 3 in University. I was honoured as a National Ice Hockey Champion in 1991. I earned both a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics and Physics) and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. Alongside my teaching career, I worked as an Ice Hockey Commentator for 10 years where I tried to be a voice for Women’s Ice Hockey. I was employed by the CBC to cover Women’s Hockey at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, which was an amazing experience.
How has sport helped you develop skills for your work today?
I won Regional, Provincial, and National Championships, but I was also cut from teams, lost championship games and was occasionally benched. In my working life I have been promoted and passed over for promotions. Sport prepares you for the battleground of the workplace and helps with the development of a growth mindset where the outcome matters less than the determination and fight.
How has sport helped you to become a better leader? How do you define leadership?
As a Catholic High School Principal leadership comes naturally to me because of my experience of leading in the classroom, the schoolyard, and the sporting world. Leadership to me is about resiliency, determination, discipline, camaraderie, morality, and ethics; battling and winning as a united front or losing with dignity. Sport taught me to look at my own responsibility for winning and/or losing, to lead by example. Sport has taught me to be a team player. There is no “I” in team. A team is like a family, a community, a nation; playing for each other, supporting one another through good and bad times. Although I lost my daughter tragically in a car accident in 2015, her spirit will always live through her relationships with her classmates, her friends, and her hockey teammates. One of my greatest leadership accomplishments is that the players (my daughter’s team-mates) I coached 12 years ago still play recreational hockey together today. On occasion they invite me to be behind the bench with them. Sport taught me about the importance of humility and compromise in a leadership role. Although as a leader you have to make the final decision, learning to honour voices and ideas that differ from your own is crucial. Collaborating and working with others toward that final decision is essential. Leadership is all about mutual respect and healthy relationships.
What is one piece of advice you would have for young female athletes today?
I believe that the greatest gifts in life are family, health, love, and relationships. My most cherished gifts are my sons and their loves, my grandchildren, the rest of my family members and my close friends. I would encourage young athletes both male and female to honour themselves and to love themselves. Your self-confidence, personal value, and self-worth are determined by your passion and effort not by the outcome, nor the opinion of another person. All that matters is that you can look in the mirror and say to yourself and God, “I gave my best shot; I held nothing back.” Do not be afraid to fail. When you fall, get back up and work harder. Follow the words of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.