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Even though her career path didn’t lead to professional sports, NJBIA’s Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas says the lessons she learned competing as a varsity athlete in high school and college are critical to the work she does today fighting for New Jersey’s businesses.

Speaking on the “Today is the Day – Changemakers” podcast on Wednesday with Jodi Grinwald, Buteas reflected on how playing softball, basketball, karate and field hockey have prepared her well for a different type of contact sport: New Jersey politics.

“Playing three sports in high school, and then having the privilege of playing field hockey at Rowan University was a tremendous opportunity for me to learn and to grow, to understand the value of teamwork, to make friends, to push my limits, to learn how to win and to lose, and how to get back out on the field every day,” Buteas said.

“I would have loved to have managed a professional sports team, or something like that, but it wasn’t in the cards,” Buteas said. “But you know, entering into the political arena is definitely a contact sport at times – it definitely keeps me on my toes. I was a goalie in field hockey, so I had to be able to block and tackle pretty quickly.”

In addition to leading the Government Affairs team at NJBIA, the nation’s largest statewide business organization, Buteas has also held leadership positions in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She is recognized as a trailblazer who helps open doors for women in business and politics through her work on several nonprofit boards, including Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey and the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey, which is dedicated to advancing women in government .

Buteas said she owes much of her professional success to the strong mentors who have encouraged her in her life, and that is why she works so hard to mentor others.

“I give all the credit to everyone’s who’s come before me, broken down barriers and advised me along the way,” Buteas said. “I’ve had some tremendous mentors along the way.”

To hear the Aug. 11 episode of “Today is the Day – Changemakers” podcast, go here.