Rewriting the Rules and Making History

Mind over matter

Everything we do at Play Like a Girl is about rewriting the rules and making history in women's sports. This year, we partnered with the Women Sports Film Festival and Belmont University Athletics to host an empowerment summit to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Using the power of film, storytelling and conversations, attendees were inspired by and gained practical skills from women athletes, sports journalists and executives in the sports industry.

The two-day event kicked off with a public screening of the award-winning documentary film Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw. Mind/Game tells the compelling story of basketball phenom Chamique Holdsclaw from her rise to sports stardom to her struggle with mental illness.

Chamique, who demonstrates strength and resilience like a champ, led a post-film panel discussion and Q & A session with our girls following the film. She also shared pivotal moments in her basketball career, highlighting the moment just last week when she received notification of her selection for the 2018 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

More than body parts

On Day 2, we talked about the real impact that sport can have in a young woman's life. Women executives from local sports leagues and teams joined us for a panel discussion on their rise in a male-dominated field and offered tips for finding our places at the table and ensuring that we bring other women along.

Alex Jones, philanthropist and wife of Tennessee Titan Ben Jones shared how she harnesses her passion for sport to do good in the lives of Nashville youth. The expectant mother talked about the importance of young athletes finding a cause that means something to them and getting dirty supporting the people attached to the cause.

Pro softball outfielder A.J. Andrews headlined the conference with an inspirational TED-style talk on body image and confidence, using stunning photos from her ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue photoshoot as a backdrop. In August 2016, A.J. became the first woman to win a Gold Glove. Known for acrobatic catches that she's been honing since her youth, she shared with the girls the importance of a strong sense of and love for self.

A.J. loves looking fabulous. She even wears makeup during games. But she never allows her beauty or love for beautiful things to adversely impact her performance on the field. In fact, she goes all out for the ball, whether it makes her look silly or whether her face gets stuck in the mud and she comes out looking crazy. Instead, she picks herself up, fixes her hair and hits the outfield all over again.

Being very intentional about the content and messaging we conveyed, we planned every detail of this conference to be inspirational as well as aspirational. For example, every session and panel discussion was moderated by Nashville's leading women in sports media: Madison Blevins, Dawn Davenport and Jessica Bliss.

A future in the big leagues

We know that girls need to see themselves in the future. Upon arrival to Belmont's campus, they were greeted with outdoor directional signage reading “This Way to Change the Game,” “This Way to Your Future,” and “This Way to Make Your Play” that immediately set the tone for the summit experience.

An inspiring quote from A.J. also met the girls at check-in where they received their own personalized badge, custom lanyard, a custom #IPLAYLIKEAGIRL button and Sharpie. The badge, also a keepsake, features a soft-touch finish that allowed girls to capture autographs throughout the weekend.

A series of empowering messages and phrases adorned products such as t-shirts and buttons. On-theme buttons with phrases such as “Game Changer” and “Girls Rule the World” were also available at several places throughout the event, providing a fun—and social-media-friendly—keepsake of the day. The girls (and some parents too!) added the buttons to their lanyards, which were also branded with the #IPLAYLIKEAGIRL hashtag.

Several VIP signing and photo ops throughout the summit reinforced the event’s message of confidence and empowerment. Near the entrance, a step-and-repeat with the Play Like a Girl logo and our signature exclamation point featured the #IPLAYLIKEAGIRL hashtag which was used to promote social media sharing. We even designed two custom geofilters to generate Snapchat buzz, letting guests tell people in the surrounding area about the summit while allowing them to share where they were and what they were doing.

The 2018 theme “My Game. My Rules.” was highlighted and our custom button by the same name was distributed throughout the weekend. The girls even took their love of sports to the next level with a 20-minute rockout workout fitness experience with POUND Pro Allie Lamb and her squad. And one of our own team members, Nailah Ellis Timberlake, closed the conference with a powerful charge to the girls, announcing our 2018 “Game On!” campaign.

Celebrating the wins together

The Summit was created to celebrate the stories of women in sports who have paved the way for the next generation of game-changing women, and further our founding belief that girls given the opportunity to play on a team become women who have the confidence to stand on their own.

Our goal for this year's conference was to not only amplify the issues by calling out what is and isn't working in sports and society, but also to provide actionable tools for girls’ advancement at school, on the field and in their communities and the world around them.

We wanted the girls in attendance to see themselves in the future, and we succeeded.


Brand Refresh Signals Revolution

Nonprofit Leader Prepares Next Generation of Female Athletes for
Success On and Off the Field

NASHVILLE, February 1, 2018 -- Play Like a Girl today announced the launch of its new visual identity and brand campaign, Game On!, conveying the organization’s desire to help girls realize their full potential through sport participation and active living.

The new branding supports Play Like a Girl’s strategic push to keep girls, and their needs, at the forefront of their plans to build a pipeline of diverse, talented and motivated women athletes in the workforce. Underpinning the brand positioning is a set of core values, among them commitment and loyalty to keeping girls in the game, a collaborative spirit, “seeing the best in every girl” and believing that by exposing girls to sport they will find success beyond the field of play.

Play Like a Girl President and CEO Dr. Kimberly Clay said its brand is much more than a logo or tagline. “We’re strategically rethinking how we present ourselves to stakeholders in all areas of our work, ensuring our actions match our words and creating experiences that improve girls’ lives,” she said. “We want to define ourselves by giving girls in need the opportunity to play on a team and gain the confidence they need to stand on their own.”

Play Like a Girl Marketing Co-Chair, Rachel White (Sales Manager, WeWork) said the organization’s brand strategy was influenced by internal and external research — like the findings in the Ernst & Young survey of global female leaders released in 2015 — that continues to point to sport as a significant factor in advancing women at all levels.

“The fact that sport is a source of motivation for women is not a big surprise to us, but we feel that Play Like a Girl has the unique opportunity to help girls harness some of the natural properties of sport early in life so they can better control their professional lives,” said White. “That’s clearly what the next generation girl needs from us and we’re confident in our ability to step up and provide programs and services that will set her on a path to lifelong success—even beyond the field of play. So it is ‘game on’ for Play Like a Girl.”

Evolving the brand identity

The new brand offers a richer articulation of the organization’s mission and vision, and uses a simplified spectrum of vibrant colors and sub-brands to reflect the diverse backgrounds of the Play Like a Girl community. The most prominent part of the new brand identity is Play Like a Girl’s new brand mark, which represents the motion and flow of a young female athlete’s life and learning. It also tells the story of young women working together as a team to achieve their goals and create better lives for themselves. The brand tagline, ‘Inspiring Play. Unlocking Potential.’ captures the essence of that transformation.

The new brand also prominently features an exclamation mark representing the “I” in “G!RL” in its brand name, a symbol of Play Like a Girl’s commitment to turn the schoolyard taunt “you play like a girl” into a declaration of pride that rallies girls together everywhere. Ultimately, it is a symbol of the organization’s promise to help girls become unstoppable women.

The evolved brand identity, including the most comprehensive brand design system ever introduced within Play Like a Girl, will be rolled out to all Play Like a Girl products, communications, and experiences, starting with the Play Like a Girl Summit later this month, and across the organization beginning in the spring. The new identity and brand positioning will be used in advertising to promote a national rollout of a newly-packaged Play Like a Girl Clubs program, the organization’s active play toolkits and tipsheets, community outreach and events, among others.

New marketing supports launch

The Game On! campaign features five young girls, Maiya, Kendra, Jade, Amber and Trinity, ranging in age from 10 to 14, who star in the campaign images which all provoke a feeling of strength, confidence and pure joy. Whether it is the confidence girls gain from playing on a team like Maiya who plays a different sport each season or the incredible leadership and social skills a shy homeschool student like Amber gets from softball, the campaign celebrates the power of sport to unlock girls’ potential.

Game On! will debut as part of promotions for the third annual Play Like a Girl Summit in Nashville on February 16-17, 2018. The print ads, which will launch on International Women’s Day in March, feature the hero campaign image of Cecelia Townes, an Atlanta-based attorney and member of Play Like a Girl’s Board of Directors, with the five girls. In addition to print, the campaign spans radio, digital and social. New radio spots debut in several markets across the organization’s national footprint in August, expanding to a broader digital advertising push in mid-August.

Play Like a Girl is aiming to create an environment of girl empowerment and positive social engagement. Using the hashtag #gameon followed by a name, a girl’s mother, father, teammate, mentor or coach can issue a call to action for social messages of encouragement and love to any girl in need of positive support, cheering her on through the power of positive affirmation.

“Girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys by age 14, and as an organization, we should be there to encourage girls to stay in sports and reap the long-term, personal benefits whether they go “pro” in sport or in science,” said Clay. “Our desire is for our donors, partners and participants to see Play Like a Girl as a game changer for girls and women in sport.”


About Play Like a Girl
Play Like a Girl is a national 501(c)3 charitable organization founded in 2004. Our mission is to ensure that every girl reaches her full potential by providing girls ages 9-13 an opportunity—and in many cases, their only chance—to participate in sport and physical activity. We offer programs and resources designed to transform girls’ motivation into an “I am unstoppable” attitude. It is our goal to help girls everywhere find the courage to do things beyond the field of play that they never thought possible. We believe that girls given the opportunity to play on a team become women who have the confidence to stand on their own. For more information, visit, and join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @iplaylikeagirl.