#RealLifeWonderWoman — Meet Carol Howe-Veenstra

When I reached out to today’s #RealLifeWonderWoman, I was blown away by her humility and her deep desire to put the spotlight on others, specifically the women who are leading with their superpowers as our world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. So we are shaking things up a bit this week. And why not? It seems our world is “all shook up” as it is right now. Here’s what real-life Wonder Woman Carol Howe-Veenstra has to share with you about her thoughts on what makes a woman wonder-FULL.

KR: Carol, will you tell us a little bit about your career background? 

CHV: I am currently retired and proud of my 40 years in education, coaching and administration. From my first teaching and coaching position at St. Cloud Tech High School to 30 years at the College of Saint Benedict (CSB), I have been blessed with a profession that I loved. When asked about my job, a favorite response was “I work in CSB athletics, where our women are first every day.” Not many higher ed institutions can say that!

KR: With 40 years in education and athletics, I’d call you a real-life Wonder Woman. 

CHV: An educator, yes, but a Wonder Woman? Not me. Doesn’t fit. Really, Kelly, ask someone else…

Wonder Women are the ones that we honor at our celebration of MN National Girls and Women in Sport Day. The ones that broke barriers years ago so that I could become a coach and athletic director.

Wonder Women are the ones that served on Title IX committees and argued for equitable funds along with time in the gym, pool and playing field.

Wonder Women are the ones, who even just a few years ago, registered their daughters on the boys’ teams (think hockey/wrestling), supporting them until enough girls’ teams were established.

But today, March 2020, in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, we have a whole new set of Wonder Women. Many we will learn about in the days, weeks and months to come, leading with their own superpowers. Many of these superpower skills our women of today learned through sport opportunities and will be now be put to a new test.

  • Teamwork: Events canceled. Problems to solve, more coming every day. It is important to work together, pass the ball, find teammates to help, learn a new role, put others first. Redefining a WIN, this time against COVID-19.
  • Rules: Every athlete must learn, understand and follow rules of their sport. Today, some of those rules are the CDC Guidelines in washing hands, social distancing and working from home.
  • Work ethic: Sport demands training, taking care of your body mentally and physically to perform. As our world steps up, adjusting to the new guidelines, we must reduce risk and work hard to creatively adjust.  Be ready for the game to go into overtime.
  • Attitude: Coaches love coachable athletes! Are you one of them? Despite our overwhelming opponent, we can and need to push ahead with positive energy. Support each other with respect and kindness. And gee, a little patience too. 😊

So who are our Wonder Women right now? The teachers who are preparing new distance learning plans for our students. The health care providers who are being asked to work extra shifts. Childcare providers who stay in business to support those who work in critical settings. The non-profits who are organizing food donations for children. And so many more.

Wonder Woman…that’s you. No matter your background, there is an athlete in all of us, ready to be part of the team, bringing passion and attitude to this fight. And as Kelly reminds us, “No Cape Required”!

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