Diversity of Views and Approaches Delivers Results – A Figure Skating Coaching Example

Both my coaches presenting me their wonderful gift – my own US Figure Skating jacket at a recent competition.

Many of you know that I am a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and trainer, and also an avid figure skating fan and competitive adult figure skater myself. Over the years I have written several blogs connecting my work with my love for skating and the ties between diversity and figure skating.

In a recent discussion with one of my coaches, she remarked that she is very pleased that I have two primary coaches instead of just one, and that when I travel the country, I try to arrange a lesson or two with a coach at that location.

In terms of having two coaches, they each focus on different aspects of my skating. I started my skating journey with Paula McKinley eight years ago, and she led me through basic skills including ice dance, and she also loves to choreograph new programs. Then four years ago I began working with Robin Harger-Harger, who also loves choreography, improving my jumping and spinning technique, and working with props for showcase events.

With my first coach Paula McKinley following one of my first competitions

My two coaches are excellent with collaborating with each other; they talk every other week or so to compare notes on what they are currently working with me on. They also often see things going on with the programs that the other may miss, and because of these two sets of eyes and expertise, my skating is stronger.

Then when I travel or attend skating camps, I can work with a variety of other coaches. Robin recent remarked that “sometimes different coaches can express or explain things in different ways and you can learn something from each one.” That is so true. I find that as I work with various coaches, I pick up a new tip or technique that further helps my skating.

My Coach Robin Harger-Quigley with two of her US Adult Nationals medalists – Rebecca Martin and myself!

And this lesson from figure skating ports to the corporate and organizational world. Diverse teams with people with different life experiences, different lenses and different ways of thinking working together can arrive at better products, services and solutions to problems. Instead of being frightened of or threatened by the increasing diversity in our country and our workplaces, we should embrace it as it leads to the best results.

* * * * * * *

Check out my dynamic 11-minute on-stage story of my adult figure skating journey at Durham, NC’s “The Monti” Storytelling event.

Check out my figure skating page for my upcoming competition schedule, links to videos, additional blogs and more!

Diversity as a Strength – A Figure Skating Example

As a huge figure skating fan who has attended almost every US Figure Skating Nationals since 2010, and now as a competitive adult figure skater myself (I have won gold medals at US Adult Nationals in 2022 and 2023), I love to feature figure skating topics that intersect with my business of diversity consulting and training.

I saw a wonderful example of the power of our nation’s diversity in the photo above taken of me with a poster that was in the lobby of the San Jose Sharks Arena, the site of the 2023 US Figure Skating Nationals. The poster features many of the US skating Olympians and national champions who hailed from the San Francisco Bay area. Just look at the fabulous diversity of these star athletes:
• Six women and four men
• World champion and third-place Olympic skater African-American Debi Thomas
• Two men who are gay, out and proud; Brian Boitano and Rudy Galindo
• Rudy Galindo is also Hispanic and HIV-positive
• Three of the skaters are Chinese-American (Karen Chen, Alysa Liu and Vincent Zhou) and one is Japanese-American (Kristi Yamaguchi)

And everyone is a valuable part of the diversity mix, which includes white women (Polina Edmunds and Peggy Fleming) and white men (Charlie Tickner and Brian Boitano)

I proudly wear my “Color My Ice” sweatshirt as two of the oldest competitors at adult nationals pose with Olympian and world medalist Ashley Wagner.  Photo courtesy of Barbara Foley

This is one unique aspect of the United States that makes us so strong – our diversity. We bring our unique skills and perspectives from all over the world and from many cultures. Too many people are frightened of diversity and are loudly trying to minimize or shut down discussions about it, crying about “being woke” (whatever the hell that means.)

Would American figure skating have been as strong as it has been if it were not for our unique combination of Black and White, Asian and Hispanic, male and female, gay and straight skaters? Absolutely not! Look at all the diverse champions who came out of the San Francisco Bay area!

The same goes for our business, educational and entertainment worlds. Diversity brings innovation, creativity and excitement. Diversity is something to leverage, celebrate and appreciate instead of fear and denigrate.

Some Resources:

US Figure Skating’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative.

The Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance. Check out their shop and their “Color Your Ice” sweatshirt like the one I am wearing in the above photo

Link to my third installment featuring out LGBTQ+ skaters (which includes links to the first and second installments.)