Our Story

The 1995 America’s Cup
Our stories first converged in 1995 when Katie and I made the first all-women’s team to compete for the America’s Cup. Katie, a college junior, had not yet started down her career path. At 32, I had been juggling the worlds of high performance sailing and corporate work for over a decade. Now, selected as an America3 team member and accepting a position on the business staff, I found my dual roles of sailing and corporate work combined in one organization. This dual path of high-performance team excellence at a global level and organizational leadership would be our different but aligned journeys for the next 18 years.

Katie Pettibone

Linda Lindquist-Bishop


Katie Pettibone (left) and Linda
Lindquist-Bishop (right) first met as
America3 team members in 1995.

 

We didn’t understand that we were going to change what other
women thought was possible in their own lives; we just thought
we were going to prove ourselves by sailing against the boys.

Back in 1995, we certainly knew that an all-women’s team competing for the oldest trophy in sport would make history. But it wasn’t until young girls began to wait outside our compound gate in San Diego for autographs and women from all over the world began sending us words of encouragement that we realized that we were inspiring women across many sectors to pursue bigger lives and to live out their own dreams without gender limits.

Success in sailing & business converge
Katie finished college, raced around the world twice, received her law degree, competed in two more America’s Cups, worked on legislative policy for the California Governor’s Office, sailed in the Olympic Trials, and is now a successful private sector lobbyist while racing big catamarans in the San Francisco Bay. Following the America’s Cup campaign, I was named the first-female publisher of Yachting Magazine, won two Farr 40 world championships, started and built a strategic consulting business and became a senior military spouse.

Throughout those years, Katie and I continued our dialogue. We reflected on how our success in high-performance team sailing competitions continued to equip us for organizational excellence and leadership roles in our non-sailing,male-dominated career fields.

We also talked about the reality that we were impacting women and what they believed was possible for their own lives.

SATT 2012

When Katie traveled to Oman in 2011 as a coach and to train young Omani women who had never participated in athletics, to compete in sailing against all-male teams, we saw clearly how international competitive sailing could ignite leadership potential in young women and change the way the world perceived women’s high-performance leadership abilities. After competing against men in 40 knot winds and raging seas along 1,200 miles of Arabian Sea coastline with stops in six countries, the Omani women sailors discovered a capacity they didn’t know they had – leadership. And…

Katie and I realized the inevitable link between the high performance team environment and developing women leaders.

Looking back at initial global dialogue
While Katie and I were racing in the ’95 America’s Cup in San Diego, the United Nations 4th Women’s World Conference ’95 in Beijing was shifting the world view on women’s rights and issues. Time and again over the next 18 years as Katie and I experienced girls becoming empowered through our sport, the on-going dialogue linking elevating women to global prosperity was accelerating.

Turning the idea into action
Upon Katie’s return from Oman, in March 2012, we started an earnest dialogue asking ourselves “how can we empower girls and women through our sport?” Over the next nine months, the concept for leveraging women competing in high-technology sports to inspire, educate and equip women as high-performance leaders began to take shape. Now, through the Rising Tide Leadership Institute, we have created a deliberate path to raise global awareness, inspire and equip women with leadership skills at a time when global research and data confirms that investing girls and women will create measurable economic benefits
for all.

~Linda Lindquist-Bishop