From the competition field to public service to the private sector, Lisa Caputo knows what it takes to succeed.
The oldest of three children, Caputo grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania and attended Wyoming Seminary Prep School there. Her father was a lawyer, later becoming a U.S. District judge; her mother stayed at home with the kids before student-teaching when they were grown.
At her prep school, Caputo discovered her love of sports early on, playing tennis from the age of 10. She would become a nationally ranked player by her junior year in high school. She also co-captained her prep school’s field hockey and basketball teams.
“I can remember playing field hockey in gym in the 5th grade and then competing against other schools in the 7th and 8th grades,” Caputo recalled. “Karen Klassner, the legendary high school field hockey coach, came to watch us play and to scout talent. She’s a force of nature and taught me so much about tenacity, not just in terms of your own performance, but also in a teamwork capacity.”
After proving her talent and tenacity on the field in high school, Caputo continued playing field hockey, as well as lacrosse, during her years at Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1986. The following year, she earned a master’s degree in journalism with highest distinction from Northwestern University.
“I loved being part of a team,” Caputo said of her student-athlete experience. “To this day, my best friends from college are wonderful women from those teams. It was so much more than just the game — it was about camaraderie and friendships. We grew together, and that’s a bond that’s stayed with all of us. I’m grateful for it.”
Caputo said the lessons she learned as a student-athlete still resonate for her today.
“Communication, collaboration, setting goals and working toward them, the drive to win — these are important life lessons that are all applicable to careers in the modern work force,” she said.
One of Caputo’s college professors sparked her interest in politics, which spurred her to pursue job opportunities in government after completing graduate school. A series of press secretary/media roles followed, culminating in a position as deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton and press secretary to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton from 1993 to 1996. Caputo was also a senior advisor during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.
“I never dreamed I would end up in the White House,” Caputo said. “I feel blessed to have experienced that at a young age. I was exposed to so many fascinating aspects of both the public and the private sectors. From there, I developed an interest in business, and it propelled me into a new career direction.”
Caputo took on vice president of communications roles with CBS Corp. and Disney Publishing Worldwide before joining Citigroup in 2000, where she served as the company’s first global corporate chief marketing officer from 2005 through 2010, and as the executive vice president of global marketing and corporate affairs from 2007 to 2010. During her stint with Citigroup, Caputo founded a female-driven financial services business called Women & Co., and served as its chairman and CEO from 2000 to 2010.
Since 2011, Caputo has held the titles of executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at The Travelers Companies, Inc., where she oversees marketing, research, communications and brand-management strategies and operations.
“I’m a believer in good luck and timing but also in hard work and meritocracy,” she said. “I don’t believe success is about a having a grand plan. You have to be open-minded and willing to embrace new opportunities as they present themselves because they can lead you to different paths you never would have expected.”
Caputo strives to live life to the fullest by giving it her all, whether at home or at work.
“Each person defines success for himself or herself,” she explained. “I think success is just being true to yourself, getting up every day and doing the best you can.”
Her advice to current student-athletes?
“Drive to be your best, both on the field and in the classroom,” she said. “Dare to dream big. And always practice a discipline of gratitude.”
Images: Submitted by Lisa Caputo; Brown University Athletic Communications