The Promise of Possibility: A day dedicated to celebrating and encouraging women in sport

In recognition of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, the School of Communications and the Women Influencers in Sport (WINS) initiative hosted a daylong event featuring an on-campus panel discussion, networking reception and classroom visits with female professionals in the sport industry.

When planning for the Promise of Possibility event last fall, Shaina Dabbs, assistant professor of sport management and director of WINS, knew she wanted to target college-age students and help empower them to reach their professional goals in sport. To achieve her objective, Dabbs invited women from across the industry to join the on-campus event on Feb. 14 and offer advice during classroom visits, afternoon panel and roundtable discussions, and a networking reception.

“The vision of the day was to surround our students with strong industry leaders who could share their experiences, insights and advice. The motto, “If you see it, you can be it,” drove the entire vision of the event,” Dabbs said.

Several dozen students attended the panel and roundtable discussion in LaRose Student Commons.

During the panel discussion, held in the Historic Neighborhood’s newly completed LaRose Student Commons, five female panelists were prompted with questions that helped them reflect on their success, what qualities make them strong women in the workplace, and what helped them gain confidence in their own abilities as professionals.

Monica McCoy, a business strategist and industry consultant, said that “each of us have a unique calling and, unfortunately, most of us ignore it. You are at an age where you have a lot of clarity, and you should utilize it. Listen to the voice because, quite frankly, you don’t want to wake up 50 years from now thinking, ‘Whose life am I living?’”

For a photo gallery from the panel discussion, visit the School of Communications’ Flickr album.

Making the decision to follow your dreams seemed difficult at one time or another for all of the panelists, including Felicia Tittle, executive director of recreation and physical education at Duke University. “You must be willing to take the leap and be uncomfortable,” she said.

Dana Seiden, vice president and chief of staff for Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, suggested “taking more risks, particularly when you are younger.”

Erin Latta (center) discusses her experiences as a woman in the workplace as moderator Cara Lucia (left) and other panelists listen during the panel discussion.

“Make the call, send the blind email, knock on doors and see if they will open. Never underestimate the power of networking,” added Seiden, who manages strategic business initiatives for the leading sports and entertainment company.

Following the event, Dabbs explained that the “students gained knowledge of the industry, advice on how to excel, and made industry connections that can grow over time. Additionally, our male students learned from the panelists’ experiences and the importance of male advocates for women in the industry.”

The panel was moderated by Cara Lucia, associate professor of sports management, and included other female leaders from the sport industry. Other participants included Erinn Latta, who manages the college recreation and athletic markets for Ecore, and Theresa Wenzel, former president of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream organization.

Following the afternoon panel and roundtable events, students and panelists attended a networking event during the Elon women’s basketball game at Schar Center.