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Now Is the Time to Empower Women Leaders in College Sports

Photo: Courtesy of Women Leaders in College Sports

Patti Phillips

CEO, Women Leaders in College Sports

Women Leaders in College Sports is proud to be the top leadership organization in collegiate sports. Since 1979, our organization has taken an active role in advancing women into positions of influence and powerfully shaping the perception of women as extraordinary leaders. Our organization provides a much needed and highly regarded voice about the powerful need for successful women leaders in college sports and corporate America.

Current research on leadership underscores the world’s needs for the female leadership traits of empathy, resilience, optimism, adaptability and collaboration. In a world fraught with crisis and change, now more than ever, women’s leadership is needed.

Finding balance

Collegiate and professional sports, not unlike corporate America, are male dominated and have been for years. Women make up nearly half of all college student athletes, yet the number of women working in our industry has historically lagged behind. 

Women Leaders in College Sports has worked to solve this problem on four levels:

  1. Growing the pipeline
  2. Gathering and sharing research on industry trends in hiring and advancement
  3. Engaging with industry hirers and influencers
  4. Tailoring our leadership programs to create best-in-class experiences for growth and connection.  

Our efforts have increased the number of women in leadership in the past ten years but, collectively, there is still work to do. 

Training tomorrow’s leaders

Our leadership programming includes year-round, impactful, in-person, and virtual training that help women hone their leadership skills through every step of their career journey, and connects them to a network of support and inspiration that fuels them for a lifetime. Our three-day National Convention, held each October, is our organization’s pinnacle event, and includes leaders from all industries, including pro sports and Fortune 500 companies. 

In late 2019, Women Leaders in College Sports launched the robust hiring platform Career Connect, which serves as a resource for both job seekers and employers. Career Connect exists to increase the number of well-qualified women working in college athletics at every level by providing a space where they can showcase their qualifications for all to see.

Our biweekly Women Leaders Podcast provides a platform for us to showcase the resiliency and passion of women at the top navigating their professional journey. It also provides inspiration and roadmaps to reaching the top.

After years of coaching and consulting women leaders who have made it to the top of their organizations, we launched our Women Leaders Performance Institute with the goal of creating more inclusive, purpose-oriented, high-performance work environments designed to help women leaders and the teams they lead thrive. Our Women Leaders Performance Institute offers customized, interactive learning experiences constructed to optimize individual and team performance in support of the overarching organization’s success.

How it gets done

But what makes our organization so special is not simply WHAT we do but HOW we do it. The passion and energy of our growing national organization is palpable. We are a supportive, powerful, and motivated community of women (and the men who support us), all focused on moving mountains and changing the landscape for women leaders.

Women Leaders in College Sports is singularly focused on igniting the future of women leaders in college sports and beyond because we understand the world desperately needs empathetic, collaborative, caring, brave, and resilient women leaders.

To learn more and get involved, visit

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