(this article reproduced with permission of Bob Montgomery, Bristol Press Correspondent and BSHOF Director)
Dr. Cathryn Addy, President of Tunxis Community College, was the keynote speaker on Tuesday morning at Nuchie’s Restaurant when the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame (BSHOF) held its Robert Fiondella Leadership Council breakfast, a gathering of sports leaders and captains from Bristol’s three high schools.Dr. Addy told the student leaders, “Leadership take practice. Practice it every opportunity.”
She went on to discuss the topics of getting involved in community activities, leadership being positive or negative and the fact that there is a great power in saying no or being negative about something that can be destructive.
“Try to provide a positive solution,” she said.
She went on to add the characteristics of a good leader: Having a basic level of intelligence, not having and IQ standard but in having common sense and being practical; a willingness to take a risk; practicing honesty and integrity; treating others with respect; having a sense of humor, that you need to be able to laugh at yourself; being thick-skinned; and providing conditions or lay ground work to make it possible for others to succeed.
Students attending the last of their three Leadership Council breakfasts, those chaired by BSHOF Director and Bristol attorney Mark Ziogas, received a paperweight from the Hall of Fame which included words Bob Fiondella, retired Phoenix Mutual chairman, offered when he was the speaker at an earlier breakfast: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Fiondella now sponsors the Leadership Council program for the BSHOF.
The student sports leaders were mixed at different tables on Tuesday with those from other schools and following Dr. Addy’s address, they discussed the subject of leadership. members of some of the tables, in representing those they sat with, shared their thoughts with everyone at the breakfast. Among them was Bristol Eastern’s Alicia Robillard, a cross country runner who sat at table No. 6, a table mentored by BSHOF director Hank Lodge.
“The main lesson was to never give up, because we (as team leaders) are always setting examples,” Alicia told me.
With regards to her participation in three Leadership programs,she appreciated that presentation by Dr. Addy and the speakers prior to her: Steve Mills, a Bristol Eastern scholar/athlete who went on to quarterback the Yale football team during the early 1990s, and Jeff Lavoie, a multi-sports wheelchair athlete.
“I enjoyed the programs, each one of them,” Alicia said. “All were very inspirational.”
The following have been the Leadership Council speakers since its inception in 2004: Robert Fiondella; Craig Yarde, former CEO of Yarde Metals; Marie O’Brien, president of CT Development Authority; Gary Palladino, Notre Dame High School basketball coach and BSHOF inductee; Dave Pasqualicchio, owner of Nuchie’s Restaurant; Jay Harris, ESPN personality; Steve Mills and Jeff Lavoie.
Students who attended the Leadership series have commented to BSHOF directors and officers on the fact that they’ve used their new found skills, those learned from the series, to be better leaders.
Thus, this idea of the Leadership Council, the brainchild of BSHOF president Dave Mills, seems to be working well and will continue as on of the BSHOF’s key events.