Celebrating Women in Sports
Words of encouragement and strategies for empowerment highlighted the VCU Center for Sport Leadership’s first ever celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Thursday. Four accomplished female leaders in sport shared their stories of success and adversity with CSL alumni, VCU athletics administrators and local sports professionals.
“Empowering is one of our core values. The CSL wants to lead the way in creating access and advancement for women in the sport industry,” said LeCrom. “By bringing four high-level female leaders to VCU and giving them a platform to share their stories, we hope to enrich and inspire our students, alumni and colleagues in attendance.”
The morning started with a panel discussion featuring Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette McGlade, University of Richmond Associate AD LaRee Sugg and Richmond Sports Backers Event DIrector Megan Schultz, which generated some powerful conversation moderated by CSL Executive Director Carrie LeCrom.
Following lunch provided by VCU Athletics, keynote speaker Jane Rodgers, executive director of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, addressed issues, barriers and strategies for empowerment of women in sport in a wide ranging conversation moderated by VCU Women’s Basketball Director of Basketball Operations and CSL alum Vanessa Moore. Rodgers, who just completed her sixth year operating the Redskins philanthropic arm, shared her experiences being a female executive in the male-dominated NFL.
Sugg, a former professional golfer who spent four seasons on the LPGA Tour, urged the audience to verbalize your goals to your superior whether its a man or woman. “You need to speak your truth out loud,” Sugg said.
Schultz, who will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in April for her All-American basketball career at Randolph-Macon, talked about looking to her mom when trying to balance her career and motherhood. Schultz, who has two year old twins, said her mother told her it was ok, even important, to pursue professional challenges.
The metaphor of opening a door is often made when discussing an increase to access and equity for female in sport. McGlade shared a story about a door literally being built from inequity. Early in her career, McGlade was the head women’s basketball coach at Georgia Tech. In order to get to the women’s locker room, you had to walk through the men’s locker room and shower area. While taking a recruit and her parents on a tour, McGlade walked the group towards the women’s locker room but, not before catching a men’s basketball coach taking a shower. The very next day, construction crews built a separate entrance for the women’s locker room. “They literally opened a door for us,” she said with a smile.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day was created 32 years ago to celebrate the extraordinary achievements in girls and women’s sports and the positive influence athletic participation bring to their lives. NGWSD recognizes the ongoing effort towards equality and access for women in sports and the nation’s commitment to expand sport and participation opportunities for all girls and future generations.
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