By Stef Tschida
Sometimes big life changes are the result of thoughtful planning and preparation. Other times, change comes suddenly and forces us to chart unknown territory. Pam Borton knows the feeling of an unexpected transition all too well. She’d earned the title of most successful coach in the history of the University of Minnesota women’s basketball program, but the team hadn’t earned a spot in the NCAA tournament for a few years. When she was unexpectedly released from her position, Pam hadn’t yet considered what she’d do next. What she did know was that coaching was in her heart and soul.
Pam quickly realized she could apply her coaching skills in a completely different context. She was confident she could have an even bigger impact by continuing to coach others, off the court. Her guidance would come from nearly three decades of helping student athletes build self-confidence, mental toughness and effective collaboration to help them accomplish things they never thought possible—all skills just as needed in the corporate realm.
This realization led to the launch of Pam Borton Partners, a consultancy that helps business leaders perform at a higher level, so they can support their teams in doing the same. Like her executive clients, Pam was no stranger to operating in a fish bowl, having every decision scrutinized and learning to manage the politics involved in a high-visibility job. While she admits there’s no manual for navigating the journey, Pam gives her clients the next best thing by applying what she has learned directly to their situation.
A longtime advocate for girls and women, Pam felt drawn to a greater mission as well. Specifically, she envisioned creating opportunities to help develop their leadership skills. She went on to co-found TeamWomen, a nonprofit organization supporting professional women, and then founded Empower Leadership Academy for Girls, which recently merged with TeamWomen to support emerging female leaders from classroom to boardroom. Additionally, in partnership with Aimee Cohen and Sara Lebens, Pam created Women ON Point leadership summits. The unique destination events are designed to help women reach their full potential, encouraging and challenging them to achieve their own unique goals.
In 2016, Pam released her book, “ON Point: A Coach’s Game Plan for Life, Leadership, and Performing with Grace Under Fire,” as a go-to guide for leaders and teams. In addition to personal and executive coaching certifications, Pam recently earned accreditation from the National Board of Medical Examiners as a health and wellness coach. A focus on wellbeing has been a part of Pam’s life and work for as long as she can remember. Today, she incorporates physical and emotional health into her executive coaching practice, speaking engagements and nonprofit work.
Pam has now impacted many more people through her coaching off the court than on it. She loves to imagine the far-reaching effects her business is having on people she’ll never meet, because countless people benefit when her C-suite clients become more effective leaders. But just as she does with her clients, Pam is asking even more of herself. She dreams of expanding her business and her nonprofits to empower leaders on an even greater national scale.
Photo: Pam Borton Partners
About the author: Stef Tschida is a former corporate communicator and lifelong storyteller. Stef’s WHY became clear when she worked at her daily campus newspaper. She realized she didn’t want to ask tough questions as a reporter—she wanted to help organizations answer those tough questions. She’s been doing that work ever since.