Play It Forward Sport Foundation Inc. + Women's Pro Sports
empowering women ~ cultivating leaders ~ changing the social landscape

A female owned and operated company, PIFS was established by two women to advance gender equity in sports at all levels. A primary objective is to create and enhance more opportunities for women as professional athletes, as managers, as leaders in the profession. To that end, we’ve created a unique and contemporary model that empowers female athletes to play forward their talents and sport experiences by educating, training and nurturing other athletes and the community. As sport ambassadors ‘off the field’, they’ll be able to extend their potential earnings as professional athletes. In turn the communities they are impacting will play forward their support by engaging in and attending women’s pro sports events.

The Team

Digit Murphy
A lifelong trailblazer and advocate for women in sports, Digit Murphy decided to step away from coaching in 2015, to launch the Play It Forward Sport Foundation as a vehicle to continue to drive gender equity in sports.

After winning her second Clarkson Cup championship with the Boston Blades women’s professional hockey team, she realized she could do more to increase leadership and salary opportunities for women in pro sports.

2013 CWHL Coach of the Year, Digit Murphy spent three years with the Blades, the only women’s professional hockey team in the USA, upon her retirement from college hockey.  During those same years,  she pioneered girls’ junior hockey development with the Islanders organization and created her own teams to help lead junior hockey development in New England.

During her 22 years as the first female Head Coach at Brown University after 2 years as the assistant.  She is a top-five-all-time leader in career wins by a Division 1 head coach with 318 across her career.  In that time her teams garnered numerous awards including 3 National Championship appearances, 6 ECAC regular season or tournament and 5 Ivy League Titles, producing 7 Olympians and 3 All-Americans.

In 1998 Digit became the first female color analyst for the Four Nations Cup against Canada and again at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.  In 1992, she was named assistant for the US National team, taking silver against Finland.   In 2004 she was inducted to the International Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame for her work on the ice and off the ice in women’s sports.  She is a 4-year varsity standout at Cornell University serving as captain during her junior and senior years, earning All-Ivy honors all four years and Ivy League Player of the Year in 1981.  She is ranked third on Cornell’s all time scoring list with 213 points (123 goals and 90 assists).

Valerie Gelb
Valarie Gelb is CEO of Gelb Global, a consulting service providing viable business and brand strategies to businesses and non-profits. Prior to this, Ms. Gelb was Chief Sales Development Officer and Executive Vice President, MasterCard Worldwide, 1997 to 2010. She was one of the eighteen top executives who served on the Management Committee chaired by the CEO and was responsible for the global sales force in 210 countries and territories. Her expertise lies in the strategic development, global customer due diligence, products and solutions, sales, marketing, business development, multi-channel distribution, operations, technology, e-commerce and risk management.

Ms. Gelb holds an MBA and an Undergraduate Business Degree with emphasis in Finance and Economics from Baldwin Wallace University. She served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Global Fund for Women and currently co-chairs their Corporate Leadership Council; and is currently Chairman of the Board of MPOWERD, lead Board director of Cimbal Inc. and serving as a University of Connecticut Student Advisor to MBA and Ph.D. students and President of the International Women Forum Connecticut.

Debbie Mckay
Debbie is a broad based business executive  with 20+ years  in the Talent Management and Saas – Workforce Management Technologies space.   Her experience ranges from Process/Technology Consulting,  Enterprise Implementation,  Account Management and Support Operations.  She has worked with global clients in the Financial, Investment Banking,  General Services, Retail, Entertainment, Pharmaceutical verticals.  Domain expertise in Recruitment/Staffing strategies.

Deb has led various webinars and presentations on Talent Management Best Practices,  Getting the Best ROI out of Your Talent Management Strategy and Technologies and has been a key contributor within various organizations that include Successfactors/SAP,  IBM/Kenexa and Taleo to name a few.

Debbie resides in Marblehead, MA with her husband and two daughters and spends her spare time chasing her daughters around at rinks!

John Mayers
John Mayers is a retired executive spending the majority of his career at Textron Inc.  (a multi-industry company headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island).  While spending the majority of his career with Textron’s finance subsidiary, Textron Financial Corporation, John twice served as a Textron corporate officer in finance and operations.  Throughout his Textron career, John enjoyed executive and management positions in treasury, insurance, planning, strategy, mergers and acquisition, corporate development as well as operations improvement.  John retired from Textron in 2012.

In addition to Textron, John spent his early career as an officer in the U.S. Navy and as a project management consultant with KPMG (formally known as Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co.).  Each of those experiences provided important management, but more importantly, fundamental leadership lessons that would influence John the rest of his career.

Since retirement John spent time as a Faculty Lecturer at Bryant University (2013) and continues providing consulting assistance to entities needing the lessons of his experience.

John holds a masters and bachelor degrees from Purdue University (1975/1982).  He lives in Jamestown, Rhode Island is married to Shawn Sullivan Mayers and has two sons Jay and Tim.

Molly Schaus
Two time Olympian and goalie on the US Women's Ice Hockey Team Molly is a founding board member of the Play It Forward Sport Foundation. Over an eight-year career she won two Olympic silver medals (2010, 2014) and four World Championships. She was the second overall pick in the 2011 CWHL draft and was a member of the Clarkson Cup champions Boston Blades for two seasons.

A former standout at Boston College, Molly led the Eagles to two frozen four appearances, three Beanpot championships and the school's first Hockey East Championship in 2011. She was a first team All-American in her senior year and was named Boston College's scholar-athlete all four years.

She is currently director of The Foundation of Goaltending Research and Education in Woburn, MA and works for Cradles to Crayons in Brighton, MA. She has traveled twice internationally with Habitat for Humanity and is currently an Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play.

Digit Says...