When Dr. C. Keith Harrison and I created the Women in Athlete Development Symposium & Networking Event in 2017, I had no idea that it would evolve from my 25-year career as an educator, collegiate associate athletics director and professional sports executive.

My passion has always been educating and helping others to live their best life. I’ve loved sports and appreciated what it contributed to my life experience since playing high school and college basketball at the University of Houston. My desire has always been to share with others the valuable lessons I learned and benefits I received from playing sports that contributed to my career success.

But having a passion and knowing how to live it can be daunting. Fortunately for me, when it was time to leave the NBA, I had a network of mentors – old and new – who helped me to make the transition. But I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, how to do it or where to begin. I just knew it was time for me to do me – result, Hilliard Solutions, an education and sports consultancy founded in 2017, and I’ve never looked back.

Transitioning has taught me that it’s not just the network that you have that can help lead to success, but how you use it. It’s not how many people who follow you on LinkedIn or social media, but it’s how much you believe in yourself to live your dreams on your terms. It’s taught me that, just like in sports, no matter how prepared you may be, there are always risks to take. But taking them with the right attitude, humbleness, faith and genuine individuals is well worth it.

I’ve been blessed to have a lot of great mentors and colleagues who contributed significantly to my career development. That’s why mentorship is so important to me. The Women in Athlete Development Symposium & Networking Event is special because of the friendships, colleagues and  women who are excited about this emerging field and how their talents can increase career opportunities in sports for women. Bringing together industry leaders, graduate students, entrepreneurs, researchers and faculty from across genres provides a platform to share knowledge, experience and success with the next generation of women sports leaders.

I cannot wait for this year’s event on April 5th & 6th at the University of Florida. Hilliard Solutions partnered with the Laboratory for Athlete Development Research (LADR) at the University of Florida to host the first-ever Athlete Development Research Consortium. The two-day event will be led by women industry experts, researchers and entrepreneurs who will educate attendees on how to set and achieve their career goals in an intimate, mentoring environment.

Forever grateful to the 2019 inaugural event speakers and co-founders Kim Durand, Erica N. Nelson, Dr. Marissa Nichols, Ayana Lawson, Jessie Gardner, Allison Waymyers, Libba Galloway, Corliss Fingers, Dr. C. K. Harrison and Kevin Carr for their insight, support and collaboration that created the premier professional development and networking venue for current and future women leaders in athlete development.

REGISTER TODAY at hilliardsolutions.com to learn about this year’s magnificent headliners and researchers. We’ll see you in Gainesville!