An enjoyable part of what I do at Hilliard Solutions is career coach individuals who are pursuing leadership positions in sports – many are women. This fall semester, I taught a women leadership in sports course, that I created, at Michigan State in the College of Business. Incorporated into the design of the course was many of my experiences as a former professional sports executive, collegiate associate athletic director and student-athlete, and high school coach.
In addition to studying the history of girls and women in sports, gender equity, barriers facing women leaders in sports and business, the class learned about career pathways and strategies for increasing the number of women executives in sports. Below are some nuggets I’d like to share with you from the class as well as my over 25 years in leadership positions in sports. I invite you to leave a comment below and share your experiences, questions and suggestions on this topic.
1. Assess your “Why?” – Many women I career coach don’t know why they want to get into the sports field and even fewer have done their homework (self-assessment) to find out. As competitive as sports is, it is critical that women are able to identify their motives, determine why they want to work in this field and articulate what it means as far as their ultimate career goals.
2. Build and sharpen your skill set. Research shows that women sports leaders have achieved higher levels of education than their male counterparts. More women are pursuing graduate degrees in business administration. Combine an advanced degree with financial management, leadership and negotiating skills to better position oneself for positions in sports.
3. Do your research. Study high achieving women leaders – inside and outside of sports. Join professional networking organizations that are focused on advancing women in the sports industry.
4. Overcome barriers. One of the biggest barriers to women’s advancement in sports is the lack of networking, mentoring and supporting each other.
5. Find a sponsor. This tip could be a blog of its own. Suffice it to say here that a sponsor is not a mentor. It is someone who has a seat at the table, knows you, is familiar with your accomplishments and can get your name in front of the decision makers.
Hilliard Solutions prepares women who want to pursue a career in sports. We address each of the five areas discussed above and provide you with over 25-years of experience, networks, resources and training that will be the best investment in your career you can make. Reach out today for a complimentary half-hour consultation!
NEXT BLOG: We’d like to know what topics that you’re interested in my discussing relevant to career and professional development, transition, and athlete education, development and programming. Complete the Contact form on the website and submit topics by January 5th for the Jan 14th blog.