Following the most recent meeting, USA Field Hockey's Board of Directors has elected a new Chair and Vice Chair. Catherine P. Bessant will serve as the Chair of the Board and Jeanne O’Brien will serve as the Vice Chair of the Board starting immediately, both for two-year terms.
“On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate Cathy and Jeanne on their officer appointments of Chair and Vice Chair,” said Bree Gillespie, USA Field Hockey’s At-Large Director and former Chair of Board. “While there is work to be done, the future holds great hope for our sport and the sport that unites us all. I look forward to their strong leadership within the Board of Directors.”
Bessant, who first joined the Board in 2019, is a high-profile figure in the banking industry. She is the chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America and is a member of the company’s executive management team. Since 2010, Bessant has led Global Technology and Operations, delivering end-to-end technology and operating services across the company through nearly 95,000 employees and contractors in more than 35 countries.
Active in the field hockey community and region, Bessant helped fund Queens University of Charlotte’s new field hockey facility which opened in April 2020. Bessant Field is Charlotte’s only water-based turf facility and is home to the Royals field hockey program and Charlotte Ambush Club. Bessant and her family coordinated a matching gift “in recognition of the important role the sport has had in their lives.”
“Field hockey is a fantastic sport,” commented Bessant. “Success requires athleticism, brains, rigor and courage. USA Field Hockey exemplifies everything a governing body of a sport should be. I am honored to serve as Chair of this incredible organization and look forward to continuing to advance our game, our athletes, coaches, umpires, athletic and organizing staff and fans.”
O’Brien, who is one of the longest serving current Board Members with 4 years of service, will serve as the Vice Chair. For more than 40 years, O’Brien has been an active volunteer for USA Field Hockey. Her experience includes recruiting and training umpires for the Northeast Region, as well as nationally, through clinics, play days and, more recently through virtual technology. She also develops and implements the schedule for umpires for the National Indoor Tournament and National Hockey Festival.
O’Brien has worked as an umpire, technical officer, umpire manager and umpire coordinator at many Regional and National Club, Futures and AAU Junior Olympic Games events and NCAA Tournaments. Further, she trained and oversaw the ball managers for the Junior World Cup and Pan American Games. She is a Level III Certified Umpire with experience at the NCAA Division II and III Finals.
O’Brien has a deep love and respect for the game; and an understanding of the hard work and support necessary to develop quality and available training programs for umpires at all levels and in all regions to “Grow the Game”
“One might ask why a person would seek a leadership role in a sport governing body during a pandemic when the opportunity to play and compete is constantly being challenged,” said O’Brien. “To me, there is no better time! I am very excited to have an opportunity to work with our USA Field Hockey Board of Directors as we emerge even stronger from this year of turmoil. In some ways, the restrictions caused by the pandemic have opened up new avenues to grow our game. Athletes, coaches and umpires, at all levels, have benefitted by the virtual programs developed out of necessity, but with the benefit of reaching into homes and local organizations at the grassroot level. Out of difficulties often comes new vision and opportunities. It is my honor to be a part of a Board that has persevered, worked hard and continually looked forward.”
"A huge thank you to Bree and to Chip who have given to much time and energy these past years," said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey's Executive Director. "Also, congratulations to Cathy and to Jeanne, who are so engaged in our sport at every level and are well prepared to help guide the organization to achieve our mission to Grow the Game, Serve Members and Succeed Internationally."
USA Field Hockey extends its congratulations to both Bessant and O’Brien as well as its gratitude toward Bree Gillespie and Chip Rogers as the baton of leadership is passed.
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