Monthly Archives: May 2024

Digit Murphy: Champion, Women’s Sports -271

As a child, I tried to sign up for Little League, and they said, “No” you’re a girl.  And I remember thinking:  That’s not right. It hurt me in my heart.   -Digit Murphy

Margaret Pearl “Digit” Degidio Murphy admits that as a child, she cried when she couldn’t play baseball or ice hockey just because she was a girl.   As she skated alone around local ponds in her hometown of Cranston, Rhode Island, Digit knew she could be a champion.  A scrappy kid from the wrong side of the tracks, she decided to never give up trying and, in the wake of crucial changes thanks to #title9,  continued to break down barriers for women and girls in sports. A student athlete at Cornell, Digit was named Ivy League Player of the Year, finishing her college career with 123 goals and 90 assists.  Digit loved the sport so much, she coached at Brown University for 23 seasons and holds the record as the winningest ice hockey coach in NCAA Division 1 history.  But as she climbed the ladder in sports, Digit experienced pay inequality herself and fought for Olympic ice hockey athletes to be paid for the very first time.  She would go on to coach on the pro level in the US, Canada, and China, with a philosophy focused on leading, guiding, and directing athletes.  Says Digit:  “You are like a conductor creating energy. You give your athletes a roadmap and the keys to the car, and then you let them drive.”  In this interview, Digit takes us for a wild ride through a career in ice hockey that stands alone when it comes to creating opportunities for females:  “Half a loaf is not enough. We cannot lose what we fought so hard to have. You have to have gritty, intestinal fortitude in order to continue to push boundaries, and I’d like to see all women doing that in all areas of sport.”  For 25 minutes of true grit, just hit that download button. @digitmurphy @usahockey

Eavan O’Neill: Marathoner & Advocate for the Blind -270

The doctor said, “You are going blind, and there is no cure.” My mom burst into tears, and I remember thinking, “This can’t be happening to me.” -Eavan O’Neill

When she was only 13 years old, Eavan O’Neill started having trouble seeing the blackboard at school. A gifted athlete, she began missing the ball while playing lacrosse and soccer. One of her coaches suggested that she have her eyes checked. Unfortunately, glasses didn’t do much to solve the problem. Throughout her teens, Eavan’s eyesight continued to deteriorate, and in this interview, she admits that wishful thinking set in until one day, she mistook the moon for a street light and it was obvious something was very wrong. Diagnosed at 20 by Rachel Huckfeldt, MD, PhD, an opthalmologist in the Inherited Retinal Disorders Service at Mass Eye And Ear, with a rare and incurable condition called Stargardt disease, Eavan is now legally blind. In this interview, she recalls returning to St. Lawrence University after her diagnosis in January 2020, only to go home two months later to her family in Yarmouth, Maine, due to the pandemic. Distraught and uncertain about her future, she accepted an invitation from her neighbor to go for a run and discovered that running flipped a switch inside of her. Says Eavan: “Running has made me feel strong, happy, and capable again.” An experienced marathoner who can only see 4 feet in front of her, Eavan runs to raise awareness and funds for a cure for Stargardt disease. Now a Development Officer at Mass General Brigham, Eavan is determined to be a voice for anyone struggling with this rare disease: “I felt so isolated when I was first diagnosed. It was like diving off of a cliff into no-man’s land. It’s hard to find hope. That’s what I want to be for people. Hope.” Although she still has “bad blind girl days,” Eavan looks on the bright side with her Instagram handle @bright.side_group. For 22 minutes of inspiration, just hit that download button. #blindness #stargardtdisease

Maria Stephanos, News Anchor -269

I love what I do, and it’s a privilege and an honor to do it. I feel such a duty to report on things that happen in my community, in my backyard, in your backyard. -Maria Stephanos

Maria Stephanos is a household name in Boston and beyond. This interview was taped in between newscasts at WCVB, Channel 5, where she anchors the 4:30, 6:00, 7:00, and 11:00 PM newscasts. And for good measure, Maria also anchors the 10:00 PM news on sister station MeTVBoston. A devoted mother, this high-energy, high-empathy woman has been honing her craft for 30 years and says that going to bed at midnight is simply routine. Born and raised in the little town of Groveland, MA, Maria recalls an idyllic childhood where she would climb trees and skate in the woods in a town with no traffic light. Her heritage is Greek (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and laughter, passion, loyalty, and hard work were hard-wired into the family dynamic. A graduate of Emerson College with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mass Communications, Maria got her start on the radio as a statehouse reporter and credits that experience with teaching her how to tell compelling stories. In this interview, she reveals that a scratch ticket and a conversation with a colleague propelled her toward television, and she’s been there ever since. On the air for massive news events like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, Maria takes us behind the scenes, painting a picture of what it is really like to be a responsible, compassionate journalist in the middle of a tragedy. When asked about role models, she quickly names her mother, offering one of her parent’s golden rules: “Don’t judge people. You never know what they are going through.” In this interview, we come to know WCVB’s Maria Stephanos not only as a beloved news anchor but also as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, mentor, and running enthusiast. She’s the real deal. Go ahead and hit that download button. #journalist #television #news #mothersday

Stacey Ryan: School of Rock -268

School of Rock is the place for everyone who feels like they don’t have a place. All we care about is making great music together. -Stacey Ryan

Meet Stacey Ryan, Chief Operating Officer of the School of Rock With 65,000 students learning in 364 locations in 19 countries worldwide, she’s got her hands full of music lovers, and she likes it that way. Says Stacey: “Our teachers are all gigging musicians. We bring kids together in a room where they get to play instruments and sing loudly.” The success story of the School of Rock could have been destroyed by the pandemic, but instead, it was lifted to a whole new level under her guidance with a pivot to virtual learning through a robust online platform that managed to create a sense of community for kids when they needed it the most. In this interview, Stacey shares her firm belief that music heals. The School of Rock is a place where differences are celebrated, and confidence grows. Born in Queens, New York, and raised in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Stacey is the middle child in a music-loving family. She credits her father with introducing her to boxes of his rock albums. Alone on a desert island, she’d listen to the entire Beatles collection and never be lonely. A graduate of Rutgers University, she was inspired by her mother’s lifelong love of education and, at first, wanted to be a kindergarten teacher until the smell of the school cafeteria did her in. “I listened to my gut,” says Stacey, and I switched paths.“ As a leader, Stacey leans on transparency and is advancing women leaders through an organization she calls “Front Women”. Having a place at the table has not come easy for Stacey, and she knows it: “ When I became COO I was aware of the battle it took to get here, and the responsibility to pay it forward. I want to make the path smoother for those coming up behind me. “ For 24 minutes you can really tap your toe to, just hit that download button. #music #education #musicians #singers