Allison Cahill might be the best juggler on Northwestern’s campus. That is, she might be the best at juggling several jobs.
Cahill has worked as the athletic facilities director and director of recreational sports the past six years. As the athletic facilities director, Cahill acts as a bridge between the maintenance department and the coaches in the athletic department to schedule reservations for the various athletic facilities. She also manages 40 work study students within the intramural program and oversees the planning of fitness classes and other wellness programs as the director of recreational sports.
This school year, Cahill added two more titles to the list: senior woman administrator and pandemic response team member.
The senior woman administrator position is a brand-new role within NW’s athletic department. “The purpose of the position is to get women in the leadership roles within athletics,” Cahill said.
Someone who has influenced her and led the way for women in NW’s athletic department is Carrie Krohn, assistant track and field coach and assistant cross-country coach. Cahill admires the way Krohn is an inspiration for other women to be confident leaders in male-dominated fields.
“Carrie Krohn is such a woman of God. She is so inspirational,” Cahill said.
Cahill has also been busy this summer attending meetings, making decisions, researching and making plans as a member of NW’s pandemic response team. As a staff member of the athletic department, Cahill’s main focus while trying to navigate around COVID-19 was to strategize and decide what was best for the athletic department and student athletes.
The common thread and her favorite part of all these roles is the students. She said that NW students are great motivators for her, and they inspire and invigorate her. One student that Cahill has worked closely with is senior Erica Hulsing.
Hulsing is the assistant intramural director and has been working alongside Cahill for a year. During that time, the two of them have run the college’s intramural program. Last year, Hulsing was able to be a part of starting a new wellness program known as RaiderFIT with Cahill.
While working with Cahill, Hulsing has learned what the working world is like and has been able to see what career paths are available to her after graduation. During Cahill’s maternity leave last year, Hulsing was able to fill in and take on Cahill’s responsibilities.
“She is my mentor, one of the people that I look up to the most,” Hulsing said.
Cahill may be the featured Unsung Hero this week, but when it comes to Cahill’s appreciation for Hulsing and all she has done as a work study student, Cahill said, “Erica Hulsing is my hero.”
Before coming to NW in the summer of 2014, Cahill had never worked at a faith-based institution before.
“That is why I wanted to come here. That was the draw,” she said.
Cahill has been able to stretch herself and grow in her faith while working at NW because faith has been incorporated into her work life.
“Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of faith, family and work,” Cahill said.
While working at NW, Cahill has had to be flexible when it comes to fulfilling various roles, being on maternity leave and making decisions on issues surrounding COVID-19. That flexibility does not go unnoticed.
“Whether it be impromptu meetings, coaches stopping in to talk or ask a question or questions from the students that work at the desk, no matter what gets thrown at her that day, she handles everything effortlessly,” Hulsing said.
Like a pro juggler, Cahill makes it look easy.