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Leaping to the Head of Her Field

Sep 20, 2004  •  Post A Comment

By Sherri Killam-Williams

Setting goals and leaping hurdles is nothing new for Women in Cable & Telecommunications President and CEO Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, a U.S. Olympic gold medalist in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

She is only the second American, after Babe Didrikson Zaharias, to win an Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles.

“Through the past 31/2 years I’ve had kind of a singular focus on really improving and developing the organization and creating something better and different than it was before,” Ms. Mosley said. “As an athlete, you don’t rest on your laurels; you’re always striving to do better. As a hurdler, all I did was run over obstacles when they came my way. You jump over them as a business executive toward the strategic goals you’ve set for yourself.”

Ms. Mosley came to WICT after serving the U.S. Olympic Committee in a variety of jobs. She started work with the USOC in 1995 and was director of its public relations program and chair of the USOC Diversity Committee. She also served as director of the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Ms. Mosley said she was proud of the performance of the U.S. teams in Athens, Greece, and watched “every single minute” of competition. “It was the first Olympic track and field competition I watched on TV,” she said. “I’ve either competed or been there in some other capacity. I was just glued to the TV and wishing I was there.”

Her 5-year-old son, Isaiah, told his mom he wishes she still competed. “He thinks it’s the coolest thing,” she said.

Ms. Mosley said she tries to balance the demands of being a business executive with those of family and community. In addition to Isaiah, she’s busy caring for her 10-month-old daughter, Maya, and plans to volunteer with the girls track and field team at a new high school near her home. She also sits on the advisory board of USA Track & Field, the Citizenship Through Sports advisory board for Heart & Soul magazine, and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame board of directors.

“I really try to take it day by day and not to look at it too globally,” she said. “I like to spend that time with my husband and children. I just try to streamline my own life outside of work.”

A native of northern Virginia, Ms. Mosley began competing in track and field events in seventh grade. Her mother, one of four African American teachers at a Prince William County, Va., elementary school, helped integrate the school by enrolling her daughter there in first grade. “I was the only black student at Manassas Park Elementary School,” Ms. Mosley said.

Her father, who was her high school guidance counselor, encouraged her to become an engineer. “He wanted me to get a career that I would get good money at and have job security,” she said.

She earned a degree in industrial engineering from the University of Tennessee while competing in track and field.

During her athletic career, Ms. Mosley was an eight-time national champion and a 15-time All-America selection. In addition to her gold medal performance at the 1984 Olympic Games, she was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team and an alternate on the 1988 U.S. team.

Ms. Mosley and her husband, Ron, an electrical engineer, live in Haymarket, Va.