By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – In the two years that the Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce women’s networking group, Business Females Forward (BFF), has been in existence, the group has had many inspiring guest speakers addressing the 100-plus attendees on a variety of subjects. But it’s pretty safe to say that there had never one quite like Digit Murphy, who was the guest speaker at the group’s Sept. 10 meeting held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough. Over the course of her 40-minute talk, Murphy, an athlete, legendary coach and passionate advocate for gender equality in sports, humored, charmed and inspired the audience with her energetic and no-holds-barred style.
During her presentation, Murphy described her past as a young girl growing up in Rhode Island in the 1960s, longing to put aside the trappings of what girls were expected to do and not do, and instead “play with anything with a ball.” Eventually her athleticism garnered her admittance to Cornell University where she played ice hockey and was named to its Athletic Hall of Fame after a four-year All Ivy Honors career.
After a short stint in the corporate world after graduation, she was hired as head coach of the women’s ice hockey team at Brown University. During her 22 years there, she made the top five all-time career wins. Under her guidance she led teams to five Ivy League titles, six conference titles and four National Championship appearances.
While at Brown, Murphy was also an integral part of a historic lawsuit, testifying against the university when it was charged with failing to comply with the provisions of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
She currently is the coach of the Boston Blades, the first professional women’s ice hockey team in the U.S. She led the team to a Canadian Women’s Hockey League regular season title and Clarkson Cup trophy. She also was named as a Coach of the Year.
Now, as the head of her own company, Digit Murphy Athletics, she offers hockey camps as well as college consulting and mentoring services. She also co-founded the Play It Forward Sports Foundation which promotes the advancement of gender equity in sports at all levels and to create a model that empowers female athletes to play forward their talents and sport experiences by educating, training and nurturing other athletes and the community.
During Murphy’s Sept. 10 presentation she relayed how, now that she is age 50, she has changed her coaching style from that of a self-described former “yeller and teller,” to one that fosters empowerment and advocacy for women.
“I am also less money-focused and more people- and relationship-centric now,” she added.
She offered practical advice that women, whether they are athletes or not, could use to have the best and healthiest possible lives.
“Make sure you put your oxygen mask on first,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and to take the first step forward into the unknown.
“Start your day an hour early and practice meditation for at least 10 minutes,” she said. “Walk at least 10,000 steps a day.”
She also advises making at least two meals a day vegan, reducing the consumption of sugar and eliminating alcohol.
“You will be surprised at how much energy you will have,” she added.
For more information on BFF, visit www.corridornine.org.