Chapman softball’s first-ever All-American and a member of the Chapman Athletics Hall of Fame, Kathy Copelin recently returned in October 2019 to act as they keynote speaker for the Annual Night of Champions and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. A ceremony, Kathy said, she was “deeply honored” to be presenting at.
Kathy played softball at Chapman during its transition from AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) to NCAA Division II. In her freshman season, Kathy explained that since there were only about 1,300 total people enrolled at Chapman, there weren’t enough women to field whole teams. That is exactly how Kathy ended up playing women’s basketball in her first year. The coaches figured she and another softball teammate were athletic enough to play basketball, quickly realizing that they would not be asking them to play for the next three years.
In their first year in NCAA, the Panthers made it all the way to the National Championship, taking second place to Sacramento State after being ranked No. 1 all season.
“The softball team was great – it was a vehicle to get to who I truly was,” Kathy said.
After graduating, Kathy decided to take her Major in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations and get into sales. A career that has taken her to both coasts – twice.
She started in sales out of college and has made her way up the ranks, reaching positions as high as Director of Marketing. It wasn’t until 2013 that Kathy realized she wanted to try her hand at executive sales and coaching. A decision that has helped shape the last seven years of her life.
Kathy earned her coaching certification in 2013 and started her own company. She currently works with clients interested in teaching sales representatives great ways to create productive tension and how to shorten the selling cycle. The tension created within the sales department, Kathy says, “helps people move faster.”
It was this career shift to executive coaching that led to Kathy’s selection as the keynote speaker at the Night of Champions. Kathy took the time to reach out to all five inductees and speak with them for about an hour to find out their paths in life. She then took the information she learned and integrated it into a moving presentation about how nothing in life is linear. It brilliantly related to her own story as well as to each of the inductees and their times during and after Chapman.
“I hope I was able to capture the value that the college gave me and the extraordinary athletes [that were chosen] to highlight and what great careers they each had,” Kathy said. “It was a highlight for 2019 for me.”