WWE employees share their #LeadLikeHer stories during Women's History Month this March.
Dana Warrior, WWE Ambassador, Creative Writing
My daughters, Indiana and Mattigan Warrior are my sports heroes. Both of my Warrior Girls come by their love of physical demand and exertion, honestly. True to their polar opposite personalities, this drive has manifested in different ways. Indiana took many young girls' dreams of becoming a ballerina into reality. What many observe as a “fragile art” is actually a grueling sport. The grit it takes to exude effortless grace is on par with any extreme discipline or sport. Watching Indiana’s feet morph into tools of the trade with missing toenails, necessary calluses, and scars was sometimes hard to watch, but it was ultimately inspirational. Indy’s passion and drive to live this physical dream out loud reminded me to find my own inner-warrior voice. Mattigan is my quiet sports hero who seeks to perform not on a stage, but rather alone, in a tiny gym. Being trained in mixed martial arts to “let off steam and be only in the moment” has been a journey of discovery for my youngest. Hearing Mattie’s boxing gloves land and the exertion of breath reminds me to be raw and present in my every pursuit. Watching my daughters embody the excellence of their father in their sports is a point of pride. Although Warrior was an Ultimate embodiment of masculine power, he would be the first to say women are the most formidable humans on any field, track, platform or arena. These Warrior Girls are the keepers of a legacy and my greatest teachers and ultimate heroes.
Christine Lawrence, Director Content Analytics
Throughout middle school and high school, I was a three-sport athlete: swimming, bowling, and canoeing. My swim coach, Joan Neuendorf, and my canoeing coach, Lois Gesner, were both role models and inspirations to me for six years and helped to grow and shape my future. Each taught me in their own way to be a strong, independent woman but also to work together effectively on a team, to power through adversity, to ask for help when I need it, to reach for my dreams and to always give back to my community. Without the guidance of these two women, I wouldn’t be the well-rounded person and dedicated leader I am today.
Jacqueline Millisits, Integrated Digital Planner
My female sports role models growing up were Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams. I grew up playing tennis, and tennis was one of the only women’s sports that aired on television. They inspired me to want to be a professional tennis player, and I styled my game around how Maria played. Both of them were, and still are, very influential for women’s tennis and women’s sports, in general. I saw that it was possible for little girls to grow up to become successful professional athletes, and I spent a large part of my childhood trying to achieve that goal. The discrepancy between the visibility and awareness of men’s and women’s sports led me to major in Sport Management and minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in college and want to continue to fight for gender equality in sports.
Nick Fustor, Coordinator Community Relations
I grew up in Rochester, NY and was a huge fan of Olympic and FIFA soccer player Abby Wambach, who is also from Rochester! I first learned about Abby because her parents owned a farmers’ market just down the road from my family home. As Abby advanced in her soccer career, I began to follow her story, and she inspired me to play soccer in elementary and middle school. While my soccer career didn’t pan out, I was ecstatic to see her join the Western New York Flash women’s soccer team in Rochester in 2013. I was able to attend a Flash game and see Abby play in person, fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine!
Abby’s international rise to fame was inspiring to watch. Being a male with strong interest in men’s sports like football and baseball, watching Abby gave me a stronger interest in women’s sports and helped me to understand the importance of being an ally for my female friends in school. I later stopped playing soccer and switched to lacrosse after being taught to play by my friend Jessica. I am now thrilled to work on the Community Relations team and support this amazing partnership with Girl Up!
Elyse Dudzinski, Manager CBO Office
Sports have always been a part of who I am. I played sports since I was 3 years old and was a two-sport athlete in college, playing both soccer and softball. Sports taught me what it means to work hard, to lead, and I believe that so many of the values I still carry with me today are thanks to years of being an athlete. Growing up, I remember so vividly watching the 1999 Women’s World Cup; it was when the US Women’s National Soccer Team won their first. Many people remember Brandi Chastain scoring the winning PK, but I remember Briana Scurry who was quietly making phenomenal save after save and was a huge part of why they won. I always chose positions in sports that challenged me to work harder knowing I might not get any credit, and I feel like that is exactly who Briana Scurry was. She was an intense leader and a remarkable goalie, but more than that, she taught 10-year-old me that anything I wanted in life, I was going to have to work hard for. I’m thankful to have learned such meaningful lessons through sports and to be able to apply them to my everyday work at WWE and as a mom, wife, sister and friend.
Christina Callahan, Manager Community Relations
My #LeadLikeHer role model is my mom – Louise Callahan. A high school and college athlete, she always taught me that women can be just as good at sports as men, especially in family basketball games when she would beat my dad. She was named Miss Softball America in 1976 and went on to play field hockey and rugby in college. Today, she is still a fierce competitor and coach. We always bonded as a family through sports, whether it be basketball, tennis, whiffle ball… you name it. My mom always encouraged my siblings and I to be our best and be “aggressive,” which she frequently yelled from the sidelines at our games. As a teenager, it was embarrassing, but today I am grateful for the encouragement and competitive drive she instilled in me.