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Rugby Breeds Talent On and Off the Field

By Penn Mutual, 03/15/17, 7:15AM EDT


This article was originally published by Penn Mutual.

Headline photo shows Gator Adams and Steve Cohen, NSCRO President at the 2016 CRCs. Photo by Contrast Photography, used by permission.

Many people may know Nathan “Gator” Adams as a rugby player from The Claremont Colleges who almost propelled his squad to a National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) National Championship last season, but most do not know he is a leader on and off the pitch. A 2016 Penn Mutual Life of Significance Award nominee, Adams has demonstrated skills that will translate long after his playing days are over.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Adams came to The Claremont Colleges with the intention of playing football. Following in the footsteps of some upper classmen, however, Gator joined the rugby team and is now a two-sport athlete at the school.

“He is very much a leader. I actually a made a joke to our assistant coach that we did not need to appoint him as captain because Gator is going to say what he believes regardless. He is definitely someone the guys look to. He is pretty measured in his approach. He thinks things through but at the same time he balances that with kind of a fiery side,” Claremont Colleges Director of Rugby, Jeremy Onshall, said of Adams.

While sports have been a big part of his life, Gator is planning for a life after sports. Hoping to make a career in the financial services industry, Adams started the newsletter/investing blog and currently acts as the COO of the student run investment firm Sagehen Capital Management at Pomona College. Currently a senior, recently took advantage of an externship opportunity with Penn Mutual.

We caught up with Gator Adams to learn about his background, how he got involved in rugby and how he believes his experience at Penn Mutual is helping pave the way for a successful career in financial services.

Q & A

How did you get the nickname Gator?

When I was born, part of my family was from Louisiana so they called me Alligator bait. It just stuck and they shortened it to Gator. Ever since I can remember, that is what they have been calling me.

How did you get involved in rugby?

Jessica Choi, Gator Adams, Eileen McDonnell”
Jessica Choi, Gator Adams, Eileen McDonnell

A bunch of the upperclassmen that played football also played rugby. They talked about how great the atmosphere was and the success that they had had a few years just before I had gotten there so I was excited to give it a try.

How do you feel about what Penn Mutual is doing for rugby?

I think that Penn Mutual is supporting the growth of rugby here in the U.S., by sponsoring events such as the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship. They show their level of dedication to growing the sport by sponsoring different rugby programs and providing avenues for a career at Penn Mutual to collegiate rugby athletes.

How did you hear about the externship opportunity?

I attended an NSCRO banquet that was being held as part of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship weekend in 2015. It was there that I heard Eileen McDonnell, Chairman and CEO and Jessica Choi, AVP Talent Acquisition and Diversity talk about the company and the opportunities they had available for students like myself. From there, I followed up with Jessica because I was interested in learning more about Penn Mutual.

What did you do while you were at Penn Mutual?

I had the opportunity to meet with several different departments and really got to learn the insurance industry. I met with a number of associates who walked me through their specific job and department function and got to meet several other rugby playing interns. As part of my externship project, I presented my ideas on a Collegiate Rugby Championship Leadership Summit and suggested leveraging Penn Mutual’s sponsorship of the American College Center for Veterans Affairs.

I am very excited because my work will come to fruition this June as the Leadership Summit will be held in conjunction with the 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.

What did you think of your experience at Penn Mutual?

My experience during the externship and interacting with Eileen, Jessica and others in the organization, showed to me that the culture, like rugby, is one that is very opening and at the same time very challenging and rewarding. It is one that is very focused on its associates. They value their associates and the work they do while at the same time challenging them as the company grows.

Penn Mutual’s commitment to rugby extends far beyond the playing field. While Penn Mutual is invested in the growth of the game in the United States, it is also invested in the growth of rugby players off the pitch.

To learn more about career opportunities at Penn Mutual please visit our career site or contact Jessica Choi, AVP of Talent Acquisition and Diversity.