GFS Lacrosse Goalie Coach Stephanie Hilton has been named a finalist for the WomenTech Network’s 2020 Global Awards. Her nomination is in the category of Diversity and Inclusion Initiative of the Year. As Regional Operations Lead at New Signature, an IT consulting firm, Hilton spearheaded an effort to address inequities affecting women and gender minority employees.
GFS Athletic Director Katie Bergstrom Mark noted, “Coach Hilton embodies the values and best practices that we seek to uphold in our school community. Coaches are important role models in society who positively influence young people and instill in them values and skills which they will use for their entire life. We are so proud of the work that Coach Hilton is doing here at GFS and in the wider world.” A Newenglander who migrated to Roxborough, Hilton began coaching at GFS in 2017 following an impressive career as a collegiate coach. She was also a standout goalie for Bryn Mawr College.
At New Signature, Hilton created a core working group that meets every other week to coordinate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategies on multiple fronts. This grassroots effort to improve working life for everyone in the company is not part of Hilton’s job description; instead it stems from her own conscience and sense of responsibility. The group established mini task forces that have advocated for and succeeded in implementing implicit bias training for all employees, replaced heteronormative language in company practices, promoted discussion panels, and created “meeting etiquette” plans that help to recognize every voice in a meeting. These educational and equity initiatives have helped everyone in her company feel heard, valued and recognized.
One area where Hilton has made lasting headway is with regard to improving the company’s recruiting practices by including at least one female on hiring committees, changing language on job descriptions, and ensuring that there are women candidates for each open role. Hilton notes, “I feel that the most progress has been in the hearts and minds of my fellow employees. Everyone has been a part of these changes and there are always opportunities to do more. The athletic mindset that I have had throughout my lifetime has given me the tools to not just wait for an opportunity to present itself, but rather for me to initiate the changes and run with it. This endeavor isn’t just for me; it makes us all better to be part of a diverse and cohesive team.”
Bergstrom Mark described the impact of Hilton on the GFS athletic program. “Over the past five years, Coach Hilton has added a new dimension to our lacrosse program, giving countless hours and enthusiastically working with our youngest goalies all the way through our elite college-bound goalkeeper standouts. Role modeling for our students in all areas of life is critical to the connection that coaches and students develop over time. The GFS Athletic Director continues, “Coach Hilton is definitely a positive mentor for our athletes both on and off the field! I appreciate that Coach Hilton is so high-achieving in two parallel male-dominated professions; the IT world and coaching. Being so accomplished in every area of her life is what makes Coach Hilton a person that our athletes learn from - not just athletic skills, but how to strive for excellence in your