This past year, I have had the privilege to work with Dr. Hilliard, Tiffany Million, and Ali Uyttenhove in developing the first ever Women in Athlete Development Symposium and Networking Event. To prepare for this event, the four of us hit the ground running in the beginning of December 2018. Prior to this opportunity, I connected with Dr. Hilliard through a career and networking call. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying in touch with successful individuals in the sports industry. Opportunities will be presented to you when you least expect them!
In reflecting on my experience and subsequent growth from co-coordinating this Symposium, I want to first of all thank Dr. Hilliard for the opportunity to work along-side her and many other professionals in the athlete development industry. I have not only grown professionally, but also personally, and I cannot thank Dr. Hilliard enough for the time and detail that she has invested in this Symposium and also in me as a future sport professional. I also want to thank Dr. Harrison, Tiffany Million, and Ali Uyttenhove for their positive energy and efforts throughout this entire Symposium.
As one of the conference organizers, I oversaw all of the curricula for the panels, responded to the panelists’ calls and needs, organized the creative and digital documents, and provided any additional support Ali needed. My eyes were opened immensely by the density of information that is required for athlete and player development. As you can imagine, I enjoyed the opportunity to hop on the panelists’ calls prior to the Symposium and learn their thoughts on today’s professional and collegiate world involving women in athlete development. It was amazing to see the many phone conversations turn into an incredible event, as panelists shared many raw and real moments that they had experienced professionally. Since my professional background involves event management, coaching and high school athletics, the creative and digital side of an event was something new for me. I thoroughly enjoyed being so hands on with creating the certificates, gift bags, presentation documents, and more. Supervising these tasks helped me to develop skills that will be extremely useful during my career.
During early 2019, we held numerous phone calls dedicated to planning, brainstorming, and developing the Women in Athlete Development Symposium and Networking Event 2019. Dr. Hilliard’s attention to detail was instilled in us at the very start, and is the primary reason for the Symposium’s success. Most of our work was completed in a collaborative online effort. It was not until March 31 (the night before the event) that Tiffany, Ali, Dr. Hilliard, and I met in person. High energy, along with smiling and focused faces, were abundant! The room was very diverse and full of positive energy. I tried to pause and absorb the moment and realize just how powerful the future of this Symposium will be!
It was a great feeling to be a part of such an incredible Symposium and to comprehend the amount of work that goes into such an event. Yes, I was working the event and not attending, but I had a number of fantastic moments where I connected with the men and women of the athlete development industry. My network has grown, and it will keep growing due to the future of this Symposium and the connections that I have made. Prior to this experience, I had not realized the multiple career avenues that are available within athlete development. Working on the first ever Women in Athlete Development Symposium and Networking Event has equipped and excited me to pursue a career path in player development and basketball operations within the NBA.
The biggest takeaway from co-coordinating this event was to stay open-minded. Dr. Hilliard did a phenomenal job leading Tiffany, Ali, and me – she was always asking questions in order to make this Symposium great. She respected our ideas and utilized them. I also came to the realization how easy it is to network. You have to get out of your comfort zone a little and meet as many people as possible. More importantly, you need to follow up and stay in contact with the individuals with whom you connect.
I look to forward to the future of the Women in Athlete Development Symposium and Networking Event. Please keep a look out for information as production for the 2020 Symposium begins sooner than later! Thank you and God Bless.
Ohio University Sports Administration Graduate Student ‘19
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