WPU Alumna Thriving at the Top of Male-Dominated Field


Colorado Springs Gazette

Alex Evans, Opinions Editor

Dorothy Lischick can still pinpoint the exact time when she first knew exactly what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

She became involved as soon as she stepped foot on the campus of William Paterson University in 1974, working in the Student Activities Office and as a Resident Assistant. Those jobs proved to be pivotal moments in the formation of her career aspirations.

“I was hooked my freshman year, as an employee in Student Activities hanging up posters, selling tickets for student events and attending my first Broadway Play- EQUIS,” she said.

“As an RA, I had the opportunity to experience how to lead and effectively make change, one dorm room at a time.”

That initial passionate flame has fanned into a bountiful career for the William Paterson graduate.

Lischick, an Olympic City USA – Colorado Springs, Colorado resident who graduated in 1977, is the perfect example of what it takes for a woman to enter and succeed in a male-dominated field.

Her determination and resolve led her to a top position as the general manager at the Colorado Springs World Arena and Ice Hall, a U.S. Olympic training site for figure skating, and the Pikes Peak Center for Performing Arts. It is one of the largest sports and entertainment complexes in Colorado, and Lischick oversees its daily operation as general manager.

It’s a job she describes as requiring continual interactions with staff, agents, potential customers and the general public, as well as keeping track of finances, ticket sales and creating proposals.

“There is no typical day—that’s what makes it so exciting,” she said.

The education and work experience that Lischick received from William Paterson was key in preparing her for her current life and profession.

As an undergrad majoring in sociology, she believed that she could change the world, but her focus in graduate school shifted to saving one person at a time. Sociology exposed her to the world and its social relationships, while her counseling degree taught her to listen and hear what an individual has to say.

“I was quick to learn and I was not one that wanted to be told what to do but preferred making the decisions and leading others,” she said.

Being that only a small percentage of facility mangers in the United States are women, Lischick has had to overcome a great deal to become so successful in a position few women have made it to.

She attributed her prosperous career to patience, hard work, humor (she described her age as being old enough to know better, young enough not to care), an attention to financial details and her Master’s degree in counseling. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. As one might expect would happen to a woman attempting to ascend the ranks in an industry controlled by men, Lischick faced her share of discrimination early on, although she wouldn’t disclose specific names or places.

In one instance, as the only female at a totally male department and the youngest employee by a few decades, Lischick’s equals received company vehicles while she was only given access to a company bike.

“A wise person at that location encouraged me to view the situation as ‘This is not your last job, learn from it what you never want to experience again,’” she said.

Lischick’s journey to one of the top facility management positions in the United States is a testament to her hard work, perseverance in the face of adversity and William Paterson, which gave her the skills to succeed at such a high level.

She has set a standard that all students—especially women—can look up to and emulate in order to reach new heights in their respective industries.

“Speak up, volunteer for various rolls, be visible, lead by example – if you have to tell someone you’re in charge, you are not!”