Centre’s senior associate athletic director starts leadership training business

Gina Nicoletti-Bellinger, Centre College’s senior associate athletic director, has started a business called Intersect, LLC, to bring leadership mentoring to the community beyond campus.

She has worked at Centre for 27 years and began there as the head women’s soccer coach when she was 22. She said at that point, she hadn’t had any leadership training, so she had some difficulty adjusting in guiding young people and teams. So around then, she started to get passionate about leadership training, since it had been something she hadn’t received.

After she had coached for 11 years, she got into athletic administration at the college, and in 2018 developed the Colonel Performance program, a leadership and team-building program for student-athletes, athletic coaches, and staff.

“In the back of my mind — I watched the evolution and the light bulb go on for some folks, and I always thought, ‘I really want to do this for others outside of Centre.’”

Nicoletti-Bellinger later learned of CentreWorks’ LIFTOFF program, which aims to help community members in a seven-county area, including Boyle, learn about how to become entrepreneurs. She took the program in September 2020.

“I’d always had aspirations of starting a side business in leadership development and human development,” she said.

However, she said she wasn’t sure before the program how to bring that vision to fruition. The program taught how to start a business, financial and business models, marketing, and how to build a business’ story.

At the time, she wasn’t sure what to name her business. After some consideration, she decided the word “leadership” wouldn’t be in the name like she thought it might because she said the word might be intimidating to some people, or it might be too limiting, since she said she wanted to focus on “human development” too.

“The reason I named it Intersect is because everything in life intersects — communication, leadership, entrepreneurialism, inclusion, diversity — it all comes together, and whether it’s a family, a business, a team — all of those things are key ingredients to have a high-performing group of people to achieve a goal,” she said.

She formed the business as an LLC and got it licensed around early March, she said. Right now, she’s just getting started, and at this point she wants to focus on learning what people in the community are struggling with and how to help.

Her experience is primarily with students and coaches, but she’s open to working with all kinds of clients, middle-school age and up. She said leadership training could also be beneficial to adults in an organization or business, for example, if they encountered issues or wanted to foster better teamwork or other skills.

As far as Nicoletti-Bellinger’s own leadership experience, according to Centre’s website, she “has attended the NACWAA/HERS Leadership Enhancement Institute along with the NACWAA Institute for Administrative Advancement, NCAA Leadership Academy Workshop and NCAA Effective Facilitators Workshop. She is also trained as a DiSC Facilitator and Habitudes Facilitator.”

“My style and philosophy is participant-centered approach,” she said.

For example, in a larger group setting she would spend a few minutes talking about a particular topic, like values and how they guide decisions. Then the larger group would break into smaller groups or partners and they would reflect on their values. Then she’d present an activity where the group would need to make difficult decisions in hypothetical scenarios, using their values to guide them.

She said she wants Intersect, LLC to be about growth and confidence in character.

“If you grow in those areas, you may be more open to being a leader or, ultimately, a good citizen that makes a positive impact,” she said.

To contact Gina Nicoletti-Bellinger about Intersect, LLC, email ginaelon4@gmail.com.