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Business Review - From the Field to the Boardroom

The experience Ilka Gregory gained by playing the demanding and aggressive sport of rugby has provided her with valuable business advice. Gregory shares how the sport equipped her with the skills to handle fast paced and challenging environments.

RUGBY IS ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING AND AGGRESSIVE SPORTS. BUT, DESPITE THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF THE GAME, ILKA GREGORY, HEAD OF WEALTH ADVISORY AT HQ DIGITAL, DIDN'T LET THAT DETER HER FROM PLAYING.

I definitely didn't follow the sport. I'm very athletic and I was very fast. A lot of times these girls were much bigger than me and much stronger than me and that can be kind of a scary intimidating thing. But I was like, well…At least I can outrun them, right?

GREGORY SAYS HER EXPERIENCE ON THE FIELD TAUGHT HER SOME VALUABLE LESSONS FOR THE WORKPLACE.

First and foremost you're not expect to know everything…people put too much pressure on themselves and it's not realistic. Number two, embrace diversity. As an organization, we better serve our clients. The third point is mentor don't manage. A good coach helps you succeed on a field. A great coach helps you succeed off the field.

Be a connector, not just a networker. There's the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship. Sometimes you must be tough…when you go down your career path, there will be some bumps along the way and don't be afraid to get knocked down. My career has had some bumps, but I've gotten back up.

”Be bold, be unexpected.” When people see rugby on my resume, there's an element of surprise. I'm not like a huge person and I don't think that I give off a very kind of rough and tough demeanor. I tried out for that team because I love team sports. It's really about being a team player and trying something completely new and not being afraid to put myself out there.

THE BUSINESS REVIEW IS A PRODUCTION OF LIVINGSTON AND MCKAY AND THE HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY.

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C.J. Jackson drives on sunshine and thrives on family, NPR and PBS. She is the assistant dean of communications and marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and host of public radio’s “Business Review.” Previously, she was director of marketing communications for a large, multinational corporation. C.J. has two daughters—Bri in San Antonio and Devon in Chicago—and four grandchildren. She lives with a little yellow cat named for an ancient Hawaiian tripping weapon.