Devils Kate Madigan explains how she found her voice and learned to speak up while working alongside GM Tom Fitzgerald and his staff
"If you can see it, you can be it."
That's Kate Madigan's mindset as she paves the way for young women everywhere. Madigan is the Executive Director of Hockey Management and Operations with the Devils Organization - a role very few women have.
"I think the first time I said, 'I want to be a [hockey] General Manager one day', people were like 'this girl is crazy!" Madigan said when asked if she always aspired to work in sports. "I was in high school and that didn't exist at that time so it did seem crazy - now we see Kim Ng [as the GM] at the Marlins, so things are moving up, but at that time it was a bit of a dream."
Madigan grew up in Boston "around the game". Her dad was a scout for the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins, and is now the men's hockey head coach at Northeastern University. She credits her upbringing around the rink for her career in hockey now.
Madigan has a big job. She's in charge of the operations of hockey, on and off the ice. She reviews contracts, preps for Draft, Free Agency Day, Trade Deadline and works closely with coaches, athlete care and GM Tom Fitzgerald and his staff. She also traveled with the team for away games last season.
"One of my friends jokes that I'm the mascot just to mess with people," she said laughing. "I get, 'are you in marketing, are you in PR?' and when I say 'hockey' people don't really believe it as much."
HBSE is an industry leader in that it has a lot of executive women on its team - but like any sports organization, women are still the minority. Though, not once has she felt out of place.
"I've never been treated any different, whether that's from players, management or coaches, I'm just one of them."
Still, she admits she had to find her voice and confidence.
"At the beginning, I was very quiet."
She explained she didn't want to sound dumb, so she wouldn't say anything at all.
"It was more internal pressure, never external… being only one of few females you think a little more. I would listen twice and I wouldn't speak much my first two years. Now I have gained confidence and I will speak more."
In fact, she doesn't want to stop speaking up and encourages other girls with big dreams to do the same.
"If you can see it you can be it and that's what I think this month is all about is showing other generations you can do anything… just be vocal," she explained.
"I hope I look back [at my career] and see plenty of females and I'm not just one in an office of 20 or 50. I don't know if it will ever be half and half, I hope it is, but I hope I look back and hope I helped other women along the way and inspired others."
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