Laurie Roberts M’04, M’05 may look like a mild-mannered accountant, but don’t let that fool you. In addition to working at EG Conley’s North Hills office, she is also a fullback for the Pittsburgh Passion. The team had a strong season this year, going 7-1 in the Independent Women’s Football League before falling to the D.C. Divas in the playoffs in June. Roberts has been in the league four years, and also plays Gaelic football for the Pittsburgh Banshees. A Troy Hill native and graduate of Perry Traditional Academy, Roberts received a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and then earned master’s degrees in business administration and taxation from Robert Morris University. When she’s not working or playing football, she also volunteers at the Sarah Heinz House, a Boys & Girls Club on Pittsburgh’s North Side that provides sports, recreation, and leadership programs for children and teenagers.
1) Did you play pickup football with the boys in Troy Hill, and did you beat them up?
I remember playing sports with my brother, David, and my sisters, Jennifer and Rebecca. There was a group of about 10 to 15 kids that we played with. We were pretty competitive and aggressive, but it never came to blows.
2) Who were your favorite players as a kid?
Who doesn’t love the Steelers growingup in Pittsburgh? The first players Iremember watching were Louis Lipps and Rod Woodson. Of course, stories of the Steeler greats of the ‘70s, like Franco Harris and Mean Joe Green, were relived each season. I wish I could make a play like the Immaculate Reception before my career is over.
3) How have your RMU degrees helped you in your accounting career?
My degrees were essential tomy career. My undergrad was in mathematics, so I needed theaccounting and tax classes in order to even sit for the CPA exam.
4) How do you find time for football practice during tax season?
Fortunately, EG Conley is very supportive of thePassion and my playing football, and they allow for someflexibility in my schedule. Last year, when our practices were in the early evening, I would leave work, head to practice on the South Side and go back to the office to put in a few more hours before heading home. My brother and dad help with things around the house, from shoveling my walk and driveway when it snows to fixing anything around the house that would otherwise be broken until April 15th.
5) Have you ever tackled anyone in the office?
Not yet. But there is a manager who played linebacker in college who’s asking for it.
6) Have you applied anything from your master’s degrees in business administration and taxation to the football field?
We did a lot of groupwork at RMU, which made me abetter team player and more adaptedto working with various personalities and backgrounds. I worked full time while attendingthe grad programs at RMU, and that helped to further develop my time-management skills.
7) Your nickname is Rojo and RMU’s mascot’s name is RoMo? Are you, by chance, related?
Is RoMo is trying to steal my thunder? Just kidding!
8) What the heck is Gaelic football?
It’s the national sport of Ireland. It’s kind of a mix between soccer, basketball, rugby, and volleyball. It’s pretty physical and fast paced, and it requires a lot of the skills used in soccer. It was a good fit for me since I played soccer from rec leagues growing up through college.
9) What do you find most rewarding about volunteering at the Sarah Heinz House?
Sarah HeinzHouse was like a second home to me when I was growingup. The staff and volunteers had a very positive impact on mylife. Heinz was the first place I played organized sports orwas a part of a team. It’s nice to be able to give back to anorganization that has done so much for me. I especially enjoyworking with the teens, hoping that they see me as a positive role model that they can relate to.
10) Do you have a special accountant-esque type of celebration dance when you score a TD? Maybe something involving a calculator? Like the NFL, our leaguefrowns upon the use of props in touchdown celebrations. However,I’ve had to take my ten-key to games to keep track of all the points we rack up on our opponents.
WRITTEN BY VALENTINE J. BRKICH