Issue 26: 2014

In Brief

Being Part of a Team Drives Two-Time Paralympic Medalist

Taylor Lipsett, a forward on the U.S. sled hockey team and U.S. Trust employee, applies lessons he's learned on the ice to his career.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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For Taylor Lipsett, the diagnosis of osteogenesis imperfecta as a child came with a prohibition against playing sports. The genetic mutation, also known as brittle bone disease, affects the collagen in his bones. Even a normal injury could land him on the disabled list with broken bones. That hasn’t stopped Lipsett from competing — his most recent goal was winning gold at the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

“Growing up in the South where everyone plays sports, it was hard to be on the sidelines,” says Lipsett, who is a Texas native. “I did what I could. I was bat boy for my brother’s baseball team and I was an athletic trainer in high school, but it still felt like I was on the outside looking in.”

That all changed when he was 15 years old during a trip to the grocery store. “My mom and I ran into a woman who had gotten back from the 2002 Paralympics. Her son-in-law had played for the U.S. sled hockey team and told us about it,” he recalls. Sled hockey is an adaptation of ice hockey that those with lower limb disabilities can play. The athletes use sleds and sticks with picks for propulsion on ice.

The next weekend Lipsett watched the local Dallas team play — intending just to observe. But after watching for 20 minutes, he was on the ice and hooked. Before long, the skills he had developed playing street hockey when he was younger were being used in a new position — as a forward.

“I like the speed of it and the technical skills you have to master to be good at it,” he explains. “With brittle bones I wasn’t going to be the hardest-hitting guy out there. But that I could still contribute by scoring goals was really cool to me.”

Two years later, Lipsett made the national sled hockey team and started competing — even as he pursued a college degree and worked part time as a teller at a Bank of America banking center.

The day after his graduation, he started working full time at Bank of America, finding that the lessons he learned on the ice applied to the work. “I take risks and set goals for myself and go after them. That’s helped me in school and in my career. I don’t take the answer ‘no’ easily. I applied for the position I have now for three years. I guess they got tired of seeing my application,” says Lipsett, who is a portfolio manager associate in U.S. Trust’s Private Wealth Management group.

 

To win gold at this year’s Paralympics, Lipsett adhered to a grueling training schedule while also working full time. “My boss Dessie Nash lets me change my work schedule to let me do what I need to do. It probably helps that whatever I say I’m going to get done, I get done, but I couldn’t do it with the support of team and the company,” he says.

 

And his schedule was a busy one. He says: “As we came down the home stretch to Sochi, I was getting up at 4:30 to work out. I was in the office by 8 a.m. and back to the ice or gym at 4 p.m. I got home by 7 or 8 p.m. and was in bed by 9 p.m.”

That level of dedication paid off with a gold medal on Saturday, March 15, 2014. However, his next goal has nothing to do with sports. He’s about halfway done with an M.B.A. program and wants to finish it over the next 18 months. “I want to focus on my career,” he said. “There are certain jobs you can’t do when you’re travelling once or twice a month. I want to be a portfolio manager with my own book of business.”

On the personal front, he owes his wife Kathleen, who is an employee in the Home Loans group, a vacation. “She says that hockey trips don’t count. Now it’s her turn.”

“Being part of national team, you’re never doing it alone.”

In addition, he’ll continue to give back to his community through his work with the Dallas Stars sled hockey program, which provides time on the ice-skating rink and equipment to those interested in the sport. In addition, he and another national team member teamed up with Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin to help bring disabled individuals to Stars’ games free of charge.

Lipsett says he’ll also continue his work with the Classroom Champions program, which pairs athletes with classes around the country to talk about life skills. He’s looking forward to showing his kindergarten and first grade buddies his latest gold medal during their next Skype session.

While life may come ahead of hockey in the year ahead, some things will remain unchanged. “Being part of national team, you’re never doing it alone. You pull together to work toward a common goal,” he says. “At U.S. Trust, I support a team of portfolio managers so that’s especially true for me right now.”

Learn more about Taylor’s hockey career on his blog on the Team USA website or at the site Raising an Olympian: Taylor Lipsett.

For Taylor Lipsett, the diagnosis of osteogenesis imperfecta as a child came with a prohibition against playing sports. The genetic mutation, also known as brittle bone disease, affects the collagen in his bones. Even a normal injury could land him on the disabled list with broken bones. That hasn’t stopped Lipsett from competing—his most recent goal winning gold at the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

“Growing up in the South where everyone plays sports, it was hard to be on the sidelines,” says Lipsett, who is a Texas native. “I did what I could. I was bat boy for my brother’s baseball team and I was an athletic trainer in high school, but it still felt like I was on the outside looking in.”

That all changed when he was 15 years old during a trip to the grocery store. “My mom and I ran into a woman who had gotten back from the 2002 Paralympics. Her son-in-law had played for the U.S. sled hockey team and told us about it,” he recalls. Sled hockey is an adaptation of ice hockey that those with lower limb disabilities can play. The athletes use sleds and sticks with picks for propulsion on ice.

The next weekend Lipsett watched the local Dallas team play—intending just to observe. But after watching for 20 minutes, he was on the ice and hooked. Before long, the skills he had developed playing street hockey when he was younger were being used in a new position—as a forward.

“I like the speed of it and the technical skills you have to master to be good at it,” he explains. “With brittle bones I wasn’t going to be the hardest-hitting guy out there. But that I could still contribute by scoring goals was really cool to me.”

Two years later, Lipsett made the national sled hockey team and started competing—even as he pursued a college degree and worked part-time as a teller at a Bank of America banking center.

The day after his graduation, he started working full time at Bank of America, finding that the lessons he learned on the ice applied to the work. “I take risks and set goals for myself and go after them. That’s helped me in school and in my career. I don’t take the answer ‘no’ easily. I applied for the position I have now for three years. I guess they got tired of seeing my application,” says Lipsett, who is a Portfolio Manager Associate in U.S. Trust’s Private Wealth Management group.

To win gold at this year’s Paralympics, Lipsett adhered to a grueling training schedule while also working full time. “My boss Dessie Nash lets me change my work schedule to let me do what I need to do. It probably helps that whatever I say I’m going to get done, I get done, but I couldn’t do it with the support of team and the company,” he says.

And his schedule was a busy one. He says: “As we came down the home stretch to Sochi, I was getting up at 4:30 to work out. I was in the office by 8 a.m. and back to the ice or gym at 4 p.m. I got home by 7 or 8 p.m. and was in bed by 9 p.m.”

That level of dedication paid off with a gold medal on Saturday, March 15, 2014. However, his next goal has nothing to do with sports. He’s about halfway done with an M.B.A. program and wants to finish it over the next 18 months. “I want to focus on my career,” he said. “There are certain jobs you can’t do when you’re travelling once or twice a month. I want to be a portfolio manager with my own book of business.”

On the personal front, he owes his wife Kathleen, who is an employee in the Home Loans group, a vacation. “She says that hockey trips don’t count. Now it’s her turn.”

In addition, he’ll continue to give back to his community through his work with the Dallas Stars sled hockey program, which provides time on the ice-skating rink and equipment to those interested in the sport. In addition, he and another national team member teamed up with Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin to help bring disabled individuals to Stars’ games free of charge.

Lipsett says he’ll also continue his work with the Classroom Champions program, which pairs athletes with classes around the country to talk about life skills. He’s looking forward to showing his kindergarten and first grade buddies his latest gold medal during their next Skype session.

While life may come ahead of hockey in the year ahead, some things will remain unchanged. “Being part of national tam, you’re never doing it alone. You pull together to work toward a common goal,” he says. “At U.S. Trust, I support a team of portfolio managers so that’s especially true for me right now.”

Learn more about Taylor’s hockey career on his blog on the Team USA website or at the site Raising an Olympian: Taylor Lipsett.