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Leader of the Month: Kristen Confroy

Posted on 12 March 2017

Our leader of the month this March is Kristen Confroy, a pre-med student and member of the women's basketball team at the University of Maryland. She is raising awareness for her friend Ashlyn and her fight with Gastroparesis, or paralysis of the stomach. Our Ashlyn's Army shirt will be available during the month of March and $6 from every sale will go to G-PACT, to help raise awareness for Gastroparesis. We sat down with Kristen to learn more about her relationship with Ashlyn and why being a leader in the community is important to her.
Q: Being a D1 student athlete doesn't leave you a lot of free time, so why is it important to you to be a leader in your community?
A: The very opportunity of being a student-athlete provides me with an automatic platform to significantly impact the lives of those around me. With this platform, I quickly learned that I have a following of people who look up to me. Countless parents have come up to me thanking me for being such a good role model for their children. Majority of people are never given such an incredible opportunity. I get to share my values and beliefs with so many people by being a student-athlete. Yes, free time is limited. But, I get to use that free time to enrich the lives of others, which is the greatest feeling in the world. Thus, being a leader in the community is important to me becasue it is so fulfilling for me to improve the lives of those around me simply through sharing my experiences and beliefs. 
Q: This month you are raising awareness for your friend Ashlyn. How did you meet Ashlyn, and what kinds of things do you guys like to do together?
A: I met Ashlyn back in the summer of 2015 through the organization Team IMPACT. She then signed her letter of intent and officially became a part of our team. As a team, I am in charge of setting up events for us to spend time with her. Often times, we have movie nights in our locker room, watching Ashlyn's latest favorite movie. For Halloween, we carved pumpkins. Most recently, we made Valentines for all 300+ children at Children's National Hospital in DC. Outside of our team time with Ashlyn, I will meet her and her mom for lunch when I can and we are tying to plan a time to go do some pottery together. 
Q: What have you learned from Ashlyn that has helped you become a better leader both on and off the court?
A: Ashlyn has taught me the importance of perspective. Every person is fighting his/her own battle and his/her own perspective defines his/her own reality. Taking this idea and applying it to my leadership has transformed my ability to connect with people and in turn lead them better. Whether is be a big test, a family issue, or any personal difficulty everybody has some obstacle to overcome. As a leader, it is so important recognize these struggles in an individual to help them over it so that they can be the best version of himself/herself. On the other hand, a leader can use the idea of perspective to bring out the best in people. Ashlyn is fighting a battle that none of us can truly relate to. However, we can draw on her strength as a form of inspiration and motivation to be better ourselves.

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