At Ladies Lead, women learn empowerment through running

By Caitlin Faulds
BU News Service

Sports “have had a huge impact in my life,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey last night to a crowd of nearly 200 rain-soaked women as part of an event that combined a 2.5-mile group run with a woman-focused panel discussion.

“I had the courage to run [for Attorney General], I think, because I was used to stepping onto a court, used to stepping onto the field, to compete,” said Healey, whose lengthy sports resume includes a stint as captain of the Harvard women’s basketball team.

Ladies Lead, the second event of its kind hosted by the Heartbreak Hill Running Company at The Revolution Hotel’s Conspire Coworking Space in Back Bay, uses running as a connector to foster a sense of community and conversation for women runners, who make up 70% of the Heartbreak membership, according to Co-Founder Dan Fitzgerald. 

“With Heartbreak, we always want to speak to culture at large through the lens of a runner,” Fitzgerald said. “This is really just doing the same thing, through the lens of a woman who runs.”

The panel, which featured Healey as well as Harvard social justice expert Tessa Kaneene and Boston Globe writer Rebecca Pacheco, spoke to the effects of sports on personal growth, career progression and community strength. 

For Kaneene, who doubles as a Heartbreak Studio coach and Manager of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, there are parallels between political coaching and personal training. 

“The leaders and mayors and governors that I work with are experts in their communities and cities, and the athletes I work with are experts in their bodies,” said Kaneene. “My job is to listen and to learn.”

Every individual can impact and lead in small ways, Healey said, emphasizing the communal effort of her office, which on Tuesday successfully defended a lawsuit against the Sackler family of Purdue Pharma.

“The greatest leadership I played with were those teammates who made other teammates better,” said Healey. Government can echo this by lifting women and minorities into places of leadership, according to Healey.

An important part of building community is “bringing more voices and people to the table and making people feel welcome,” said Pacheco.

“Ladies Lead has a head start in that race. Everyone, regardless of skill level, is welcome, “ said Heartbreak member Daunielle Ricardi. 

Ricardi, who travels often, has connected with other Heartbreakers across the country and has been impressed by the sense of community. 

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