NEW LONDON, Conn. - This year at the annual Athletics Eclipse lunch U.S. Military graduate and former West Point basketball player Christine Gassman spoke about broadening personal and professional networking, the importance of communication and taking risks.
Gassman currently serves as the Senior Manager for Efficiency Site Strategies at Walt Disney World. She is a 2003 U.S. Military graduate and was an outstanding athlete and competitor during her Cadet days – including serving as a co-captain of her team in her senior year. Her final job in the Army was as the Division Plans Officer for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan. She is a rising star in the Disney World, and is extremely excited about her opportunity to speak to the Cadets on numerous subjects, specifically communication.
"It is often just being open, honest and continuous when communicating," commented Gassman when asked about the common thread between her numerous military and working experiences. "What we are constantly trying to accomplish and figure out is audience identification and adjusting content to fit with the need of that audience."
Gassman had a successful athletic career at West Point not only serving as team captain her senior season but also finishing her career at the Academy sixth all-time in made three point field goals. She received the Colonel Frederick A. Mountford Award as a senior which is an award given annually to the Army women's basketball team captains. These experiences on the court and even in the classroom at West Point shaped her ability to communicate with numerous types of audiences.
"It makes you very comfortable with getting up and delivering content," added Gassman. "I remember during our math classes we would have to present our work we did on the board to the entire class. You had to get comfortable quickly with delivering content and it teaches you how to come across confidently. The other big thing the Academy taught me is never being afraid to say 'I don't know, I will follow up and get back to you'."
Gassman also worked in the National Security Field in Washington D.C. primarily at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a Senior Management Consultant on a National Security Task force. During her time at the FBI, Christine served as the communications lead for engagement with key Task Force progress and created innovative solutions to diverse national security challenges. Through all these different opportunities, Gassman has molded her career and brought her attention to detail to Disney, and their constant pursuit of excellence.
"When I made the transition from the military to working at Disney, seeing what Disney does and what we are able to convey in content, is really how you can shape the world," said Gassman. "When we are looking at delivering positive messages and themes and talking about sharing with children and the diversity that our programs offer, it is something that you can grab on to and support."
When Coast Guard Academy Athletic Director Tim Fitzpatrick asked Gassman to speak during Eclipse week she jumped at the opportunity to be able to interact with the cadets and implore to them to take risks and accept challenges.
"It is fantastic. "When people hear about my career it has been a little bit disparate, going from the Military, to National Security to now Disney, but I want people to understand their is nothing they cannot do and that your skill sets apply to anything, it is just having the passion and the drive to tell your self 'yes, you can do this'."