October 22, 2015

2015 espnW: Women + Sports Summit

Create a vision for the future. Take action. Make an indelible impact.

The espnW: Women + Sports Summit was all that and more. I've included a few highlights but one blog post just doesn't cut it. Visit espnW for full coverage, photos, videos and all sorts of cool stuff.

The dream is real.

Let's start at the beginning. Once upon a time, I was a girl who figure skated and ran a lot. Then it was hockey, softball and soccer. Followed by volleyball, basketball and badminton. Sports have opened so many doors. Living the life of an athlete has helped me create this wildly fun and adventurous path I'm on.

Let's talk about Title IX. On June 23, 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments was enacted by Congress and signed into law by Richard Nixon. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid.

Signage at the Title IX rally at United States Capitol, April 1979 via the Women's Sports Foundation.

OK, so what? This means that after 40+ years, women's participation in sport has continued to grow and grow and grow. As a former NCAA athlete, I'm kind of like a daughter of the movement. After playing sports throughout my youth, going on to compete in university, becoming a competitive runner and coach; Title IX was huge.

A few years into my career, while working at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, I started to notice things that I hadn't really noticed before. The big themes being: women in sports, girls participation in sports, opportunities for female athletes. Where had Title IX brought us and where did we need to go?

Call it a passion or call it a calling. I started writing about this topic (like herehere & here...and oh yeah, over here) and this interest ultimately led me to my dream role curating a blog called the movement for girls with ivivva.

And it also led me to the espnW: Women + Sports Summit that brings together leading voices and influencers to create positive change and opportunity for women in sports.

When I arrived at the registration desk last week in Dana Point, California, I felt so honoured. It had been a goal and dream of mine to attend and join all of these inspiring people. Special thanks to my incredible team at ivivva for helping make this dream a reality.

The highlights.
  1. The opportunity to learn from Beth Brooke-Marciniak. "Take on projects that mean something. Do something lasting because success is fleeting."
  2. The chance to hear firsthand how Carli Lloyd became the best soccer player in the world. As a coach and athlete, this is remarkable.
  3. Being introduced to organizations like Mini Mermaid Running Club and Beyond Sticks, who are using sports as a vehicle to influence thousands of kids in the United States and abroad.
Moments of note.

"Enjoy the moment. Understand you have to make sacrifices. Think ahead."
"The first step to creating any sort of change, of course, is having the courage to do it."
NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan blew my mind. When Rylan, 28, failed to land an expansion team for New York City in the Canadian Women's Hockey League, she did the next best thing. She started her own league.
A huge highlight! Meeting Nungshi and Tashi Malik (far right). 

The 24-year-old identical twins born in the state of Haryana in the northern part of India. They think big, dream big and have conquered big, literally and figuratively. They are the youngest of 33 people to have completed the Adventurer's Grand Slam, the successful scaling of the highest peak on each of Earth's seven continents and reaching the North and South Poles. The first of the summits was Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet. The last was Mount Vinson, measuring 16,050 feet in Antarctica. In between was Mount Everest in southern Asia, elevation 29,029 feet to form the planet's tallest peak.

Learn more about how Susan Cohig, the NHL's senior vice president of integrated marketing is mentoring Nungshi Malik and Tashi through the U.S. Department of State Global Sports Mentoring Program.
Jill Ellis is the best. Period.
Natalie Uhling is the real deal. I'm a fan.
Jessica Mendoza is busy making history.
Who are you to tell me what I can and can't do? 
Amy Van Dyken after her mic drop moment at the Summit.
The boss.
Voices of the Future. One of the best panels at the Summit.