July 19, 2013

Jennifer Rizzotti

Jennifer Rizzotti

Age: 39

Title: Head Women's Basketball Coach

Company: University of Hartford

Town where you work: West Hartford

Town where you live: Glastonbury

College: University of Connecticut

What I do for fun: Spend time with my family, play sports.

Friends/Family that influence me: My parents, my husband and kids, my college basketball coach.

My Charity/Cause: (Don't have one yet.)

My Passion, Hobby or Special Talent: Coaching is my passion.

'To be a good leader, you truly need to know and understand the people you want to lead.'

What do you do?

I'm a college basketball coach.

Please describe your career path.

I was approached by Pat Meiser when I was 25 and still playing in the WNBA about coaching at the University of Hartford. I initially said no but then realized what an opportunity it would be. I coached and played simultaneously for 5 years and then decided to start a family. I retired from playing but have been coaching ever since, just finishing my 14th year at Hartford.

What's been your biggest challenge professionally?

Building the program and creating the right culture didn't happen overnight. I'm not typically a very patient person but I had to take some baby steps to turn this program around. I was determined not to ever compromise my values so some things took longer than I wanted them too. I was only 25 when I started so I learned a lot of lessons in my first four to five years that have helped me in the last 10.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I am happy living in Connecticut and working at the University of Hartford. I've always said that when my own kids are ready to go off to college, I'll worry about whether or not I need to make changes in my career. Right now, I want my boys to be around their grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles.

What is the best advice you received?

Two things:

1. "Go with your gut." I've always thought all of the major decisions in my life through and talked about them with my family, but when it came time to make the choice, I've always went with what I felt in my heart.

2. To be a good leader, you truly need to know and understand the people you want to lead. The more they trust that you have their best interest in mind, the more willing they will be to follow.

How are you involved in your community?

In Glastonbury, I'm involved as a parent; driving my kids to sports practices, town events and supporting the community as a resident. In Hartford, West Hartford and other parts of Connecticut, I try to give back with my time as a coach and former UConn player. I've spoken at schools, co-chaired and attended many charity events, given motivational speeches and tried to do my best to show my appreciation for the state and the support they've given me over my career.

Meet the 2013 Winners

Anthony G. Barrett

Joe Bierbaum

Matthew R. Boehm

Mario J. Bruno

Matthew Carbray

Raymond Cocozza

Maria Conlon

Dawn Crayco

Christopher Davis

Marc A. DiBella

Derek Donofrio

Sara-Beth Donovan

Brandon Dufour

Brandon M. Frame

Meghan Freed

Emily A. Gianquinto

Alyssa Goduti

Terese Guerrero

Melissa Harris

Tauheedah Jackson

Michael J. Kolosky

Julie Krug

Carolyn Kuan

Heather Lombardi

Jeremy Lowe

Concetta Maratta

Michael Mascaro

Brian Mauriello

Paul Mounds Jr.

Reem Nouh

Nathan Quesnel

Josh Reese

Jennifer Rizzotti

Carrie L. Rocha

Kendrick Trevor Roundtree Sr.

Shaun Sheridan

R. Scott Slifka

Jack Soos

Caitlin Thayer

Julia E. Wayner

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