Mariano Rivera defines #Authentic
Mariano Rivera defines #Authentic
Be The Change
My head is still spinning. And, candidly, I hope it never stops. Because it’s spinning with ideas and excitement and
unstoppable enthusiasm for all the ways sport can make a difference in the world.
I was honored to be a part of two great events last week. The first was the Beyond Sport Summit, an annual conference that is hosted around the world, taking place this year in Philadelphia. Beyond Sport is a forum designed to bring together sport, business and philanthropy, all behind the idea that sport can promote positive change. We heard from an A-list line of speakers including David Stern (NBA Commissioner), Jeff Lurie (Philadelphia Eagles Chairman and CEO), Senator George Mitchell, Tim Shriver (Special Olympics CEO), Shelly Pfohl (President’s Council of Physical Fitness Executive Director), Ed Foster- Simeon (US Soccer Foundation CEO), and countless others. Every single one of them credited sport with shaping their lives, and Scott O’Neil, the newly appointed CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers may have put it best when he said, “We have an obligation to take this great platform we have through sport and make the world better.”
The second event I was invited to attend last week was titled “Women as Key Players in the World of Athletics, Sports Diplomacy, and Global Peacebuilding” and was jointly hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. I met a group of amazing women from around the globe who are in the U.S. this month as part of a mentoring program. Olympic medalist and World Champion figure skater Michelle Kwan moderated, as she has turned the power of sport into her post-skating career. She now serves as a Senior Advisor for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of State.
And although all great ambassadors of sport and the mighty things that can be accomplished through sport, the ones I want to tell you about aren’t the team owners, Olympic medalists, celebrities or politicians. The ones whose stories need to be told are the ones you’ve never heard of. The ones whose voices are just starting to be heard. The ones who are out there doing it, and doing it in a big way!
Like the female sports anchor in Pakistan who is doing it despite the critics who say that women don’t belong in sport. And you know what advice she gives to the people of Pakistan? Replace the guns in our children’s hands with bats and balls and you will change the world! @FatimaSaleem84
Like the founder of Fight for Peace, an organization that teaches boxing and martial arts to kids in the favelas of Brazil. He’s keeping them out of gangs, teaching them to control their anger, and showing them that they have other options in life. http://www.fightforpeace.net/
Like the sports director at the Peres Center for Peace who puts her own life in danger daily to bring Israeli and Palestinian kids together on the sports field. She’s showing them that peace can be achieved despite our differences. http://www.peres-center.org/
Like the countless other miracle workers I met who represent organizations that fight AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, that offer opportunities to the disabled when others won’t, that build hospitals in rural areas where medical care is a chief concern, that bring skateboarding to Afghanistan and engage girls in a sport unexplored in that area, and that show people, EVERY DAY, that sport can change lives, cultures, and circumstances.
I wish I could share with you all the stories of these courageous people who are beating the odds and fighting for change when they’ve been told, countless times, that it could not be accomplished. All of this is happening through sport! The wonderful, engaging, powerful world of sport.
So what did I learn from my time at these meetings? I’ve been reflecting on this and come to new conclusions every day. On one hand, there are so many great things going on and so much work being done to advance the field of sport for development. On the other hand, there is so much still to be done. So, I’ve decided to take on the challenge. To become one of those great organizations I mentioned who aren’t just talking about change but are making change.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel proud of all that the CSL is already doing to better our community and world. We work with children in the city to provide sport-related outlets after school and on school holidays, we are educating youth in the ever important STEM related fields using sport, we are building relationships with countries abroad through sport and coaching. And we will certainly continue to do all of those things. But my charge now is to ask, what else can be done? How can we take these things even further to have an even greater impact?
1) Hold me accountable. Check back in with me 6 months and 1 year from now to ask what else I’ve done to use the powerful tool of sport to make positive change in our community and our world. Don’t let me forget about the feelings that I have as I write this today. Don’t let me get lazy and say “we’re already doing enough.” Ask me what else I’ve done this year to do more.
2) Find ways that you can make a difference. And I’ll hold you accountable! Our current students, alumni, community members, and readers…send me your stories. Tell me what you’re doing to elicit positive outcomes through sport so that I can share them with others and so that I can use them as inspiration to do much, much more!
Gandhi is famously quoted as saying “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Sport continues to be one of the most powerful tools we have been given. Let’s use it to be the change!
Dr. Carrie LeCrom is the Executive Director of the Center for Sport Leadership. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @cwlecrom
Thanks to LA Clippers asst coach Kevin Eastman
A big key is to form relationships "before" you need them or before they can help you. This is only accomplished by helping others first!
— Kevin Eastman (@kevineastman) September 23, 2013
Getting hands on experience for our students is the primary focus of the Center for Sport Leadership. A large portion of that is built-in through our graduate assistantships.
However, throughout the semester, there are additional opportunities for students to volunteer at sporting events.
Monday & Tuesday, several CSL students worked at the Golf Galaxy VCU Shootout at Hermitage Country Club in Manakin-Sabot. This event is one of the premier college golf tournaments on the East Coast, featuring schools from around the country.
CSL students assisted in every aspect of the tournament from operations to hospitality to scoring.
Judging by this tweet, it seems like they enjoyed it.
— Traci K Bonds (@TraciKBonds) September 23, 2013
written by Kerry Gannon, Graduate Student, Center for Sport Leadership
The inaugural VCU Broad Street Mile, set for Saturday, is the brainchild of Center for Sport Leadership alum Johnathan Mayo. His company, Avail Marketing is producing and managing the event, which consists of sixteen creatively themed one mile fun-runs along West Broad Street. Donations and portions of the registration fees will benefit more than 55 local non-profit organizations and charities. Not only will the event raise money and awareness for these organizations, but it will also recognize and celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Virginia Commonwealth University.
The VCU Broad Street Mile is another example of Mayo’s company realizing its mission of helping and serving the Greater Richmond community.
Mayo has had an entrepreneurial spirit ever since he was a young boy.
“I always knew I wanted to have my own business…I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was able to pull the lawnmower around the neighborhood,” he recalls. By the age of ten, he had started his own paper route along with John’s Lawn Service. Several years later, while coaching youth football, Mayo became aware of the critical need for local fundraising. This ignited his current entrepreneurial undertaking as the co-founder and President of Avail Marketing. After graduating from Virginia Military Institute with a degree in mechanical engineering, Mayo realized that mechanical engineering might not be his ultimate passion. Helping non-profit organizations raise funds for their causes was more to his liking. Mayo paired up with his current business partner, Lester Johnson, and they brainstormed ideas for their company, including its mission and name.
“Lester looked through the dictionary, starting in the ‘A’ section, and came across ‘avail’ which means to be of help or service,” and Avail Marketing was born. Its identified mission: to empower. When asked which of the CSL core values Mayo identified with most, he replied, “Empowering. We say that word a lot. Our goal is to raise money and awareness for non-profits, so we like to think we are empowering non-profits to be able to do what they do better.”
In order to secure VCU as the title sponsor for The VCU Broad Street Mile, Mayo utilized connections from his time as a graduate student in the CSL program. In fact, Mayo identifies the importance of networking and positive relationships as the most valuable lesson he learned from the CSL program.
“Be a part of as much as you can, whether it be volunteer opportunities, committee opportunities, or whatever it may be. When you see those opportunities, take advantage of them because you never know who you will meet. It may seem like you have a lot of work and don’t have a lot of time, but the relationships you build from volunteering and getting involved with the community are invaluable.”
Avail Marketing is a perfect example of how powerful the CSL network can be. Kelli Lemon, a 2001 CSL graduate works alongside Mayo as the General Manager of Mama J’s Restaurant, of which he is part owner. Additionally, this past summer, Avail Marketing brought 2012 CSL graduate KC Rismiller onboard as their sponsorship manager. Mayo’s advice for current & future CSL students: “Get to know your classmates because these can be valuable relationships to continue after the program is over.”