Maureen Brennan playing polo.

Donald Brennan (MBA ’66) and his daughter, Maureen, enjoy a dominant season in polo.

Polo is a unique and demanding equestrian sport. And even though it is co-ed—with no rules barring women from competing against men—it’s been male-dominated throughout its history. But Maureen Brennan is helping to change that.

She’s both the owner of, and a key player for, polo team Iconica, which won this year’s Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super Series Championship in dominant fashion. And her dad, Donald Brennan (MBA ’66), has been cheering her on every step of the way.

“I’m very proud of what Maureen was able to accomplish, but also how she accomplished it,” says Donald, who is a longtime supporter and sponsor of polo teams. He is particularly amazed at his daughter’s ability to excel as one of the few women competing at the top level of polo. “The degree of challenge a woman faces in the sport means it takes a 15 out of 10 for her to get to the top,” he says.

This year was nothing short of remarkable for Iconica, winning three of four qualifying tournaments on its way to claiming the championship. The team displayed a rare blend of talent and teamwork; the four-person lineup consisted of three up-and-coming players alongside Maureen, and their chemistry proved to be unrivaled.

“This tournament has become extremely competitive,” says Maureen. “To win so much makes me teary-eyed… it’s certainly not a given, and it’s hard to do.”

Donald Brennan (MBA '66) poses with his daughter, Maureen.

Maureen began riding horses in the 1970s and enjoyed a long, successful career as a showjumper, a very different type of equestrian sport that involves jumping over poles on horseback. But a chance opportunity to play an exhibition polo match changed her life forever. “It was a total adrenaline addiction,” Maureen recalls.

In 2002, polo turned into a full-blown passion and career for Maureen, and she’s since gone on to become an accomplished professional. Today, she also runs an equine water training and therapy facility in Wellington, FL.

And while Maureen notes that gender has never even been an issue for her in polo—“I just don’t think about it,” she says—she recognizes her role as a trailblazer and has worked to increase visibility for dedicated women’s polo leagues across the country.

“Women’s polo was very amateur and less organized up until around 2006,” she says. “It’s really become very professional now.

Donald is all the prouder of his daughter’s accomplishments when he considers his family’s initial introduction to the sport. His parents, both Irish immigrants, met in the U.S. while working polo-related jobs in the mid-1920s—his father groomed horses, while his mother worked as a nanny for one of the players.

As a young man, Brennan served in the U.S. Navy and then obtained his MBA from Baruch, which he says laid the groundwork for his professional success. He served as a managing director at Morgan Stanley and vice chairman of ICT Group, a software company—providing him with the financial basis to later help him and his family get involved in equestrian sports.

“I was a son of immigrants with very limited financial capacity, virtually zero,” he says. “I would not be having this conversation in any shape or form had Baruch not come into my life.”

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