Play Like a Girl LIVE: A Virtual Experience

A free, interactive, four-week virtual experience inspired by our times

Play Like a Girl will host a new interactive, weekly, 60-minute virtual event series on consecutive Thursdays from September 3 to September 24 starting at 6pm ET/5pm CT. The series will showcase prominent women in diverse fields addressing topics like confidence, leadership, social justice and more—all while networking, mentoring and having a little fun! 

"We spent early 2020 telling the stories of confident girls and women who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. It was so inspiring. Then the pandemic hit and shook everything," said Play Like a Girl CEO Dr. Kim. "Now, it's more important than ever to be and stay inspired, empowered and connected—especially, while social distancing. Together, we will reset, refocus and resolve to stay the course in these challenging times."

As we gear up for International Day of the Girl on October 11, we’re inviting women across the country to share empowering stories with middle school girls about the importance of staying focused, no matter what. Throughout the four weeks, Dr. Kim will share lessons that have carried her through the pandemic and help the audience find ways to stay in the game through the last quarter of the year. 

The weekly event will also feature group mentoring exercises, at-home self-care practices, and Play Like a Girl board members and special guests live in conversation with women thought leaders at the top of their game who are showing us what it means to live inspired, empowered, more connected lives.

The weekly series will explore the following themes:

Thursday, September 3: Inspire

Kate T. Parker, photographer and best-selling author of Play Like a Girl: Life Lessons from the Soccer Field, kicks off the series celebrating the power of team and what it means to play like a girl.

Thursday, September 10: Empower

IF/THEN Ambassadors Dr. Kiki Jenkins, Dr. Monica RhoSarah Wilson show us how sport can help strengthen girls’ leadership skills and prepare them for a thriving career in male-dominated STEM fields.

Thursday, September 17: Connect

Olympic soccer superstar and mom of two girls Christie Pearce Rampone shares practical, real world advice from her book Be All In: Raising Kids for Success in Sports and Life on how mothers can build relationships with their daughters that will set girls up for lifelong success.

Thursday, September 24: Impact

Looking for ways you can show up for black and brown girls—in ways that matter now? Former athlete and youth basketball coach Portia Archer shares a range of lessons from the basketball court to the boardroom as Chief Operating Officer of the NBA G League. 

To join the free virtual experience, visit to register. The series will be hosted as a Zoom Video Webinar and live streamed on Play Like a Girl’s Facebook and YouTube channels. The four sessions will remain available for on-demand viewing across all platforms.

GIVEAWAY ANYONE?! ???? Follow us on Instagram and tag your tribe of gals (and guys) who will be watching with you. We’ve got free copies of Kate’s new book for a few lucky pairs, so hop on it! 

Media interested in additional information or with any press inquiries can call (615) 601-1864.


Office Hours with Jessica Bliss

Jessica Bliss

Storytelling Columnist

The Tennessean


“When there is passion behind the work we do, it fuels us to work for the change we believe is possible.” 

Journalist and lover of all things outdoors, Jessica Bliss dedicates her days to elevating the voices of others through storytelling in hopes of inspiring positive change.


5 Things She Can’t Live Without

Stories: Words fuel me. Stories inspire us, connect us, and, often, explore life’s more complicated truths. 

Running shoes: Running quiets my unrest and gives me space to think.

People: Moments spent with others fill my heart.

Popcorn: It simply delights me.♥

Joy!: There’s nothing better. Poet Maya Angelou said: "Determine to live life with flair and laughter."

Unexpected Power of Gratitude

Show Appreciation. 

Nothing pays dividends like appreciating those around you. By paying it forward everyday, you'll make a meaningful difference in the lives of others as well as your own.

Gratitude goes a long way. The practice of gratitude and appreciation is an important Play Like a Girl Principle. We teach girls in our programs this practice because we know gratitude to be one of the most important factors in fostering a healthy mindset and maintaining overall happiness.

healthy mindset is absolutely critical to one's ability to do extraordinary things on the field, in the classroom, and in life. Taking just 10 minutes a day to reflect and practice gratitude can add so much more to your life. Research indicates that the practice of gratitude can change you and your brain. It can be as easy as writing down a few things for which you are thankful or thanking someone in your life.

Below are just a few of the benefits gained from practicing this simple principle daily: 

Lower Stress Levels 

When you practice gratitude, you unshackle your mind from toxic emotions and negative thoughts and everything that accompanies them. By shifting your focus to more positive thoughts, you allow your mind to rest and calm itself, which results in lower stress levels and overall wellness. 

Better Sleep 

When your stress levels are high, the body prepares for danger by elevating your heart rate, respiratory rates, and awareness. It can be pretty difficult to sleep when your body anticipates danger of any kind. Therefore, when you lower your stress levels by practicing gratitude, you also improve your sleep.  

Better Immune Function

High levels of stress also weaken your immune function and makes it harder for your body to fight off illness. Your immune system can be strengthen by practicing gratitude, thereby reducing your risk of illness.  

Boosted Mood

Numerous studies demonstrate the power of gratitude to increase overall happiness. When you show thanks to the people and things around you, the brain is primed to make you feel better about yourself. Furthermore, the decreased stress levels that it brings elevate mood even further. There is no better mood booster than showing some gratitude. 

Increased Motivation

When you feel happier and more thankful for what you have, you also feel higher levels of confidence and self-efficacy. Consequently, the desire to set goals and work towards them only increases as well.

Higher Energy Levels

With increased happiness and decreased stress comes better sleep and more energy. The more rest you get at night combined with higher mood levels during the day allow you more energy and productivity. 

Incorporating gratitude into your life is easy—and fun. Plus, the benefits are many.

Get started today by simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which you’re thankful—and watch your personal life satisfaction, health and well-being all significantly improve. 

Comment below to let us know how you're feeling.

Taking Governance to the Next Level

Play Like a Girl has connection and collaboration on the brain.

Board members met for their annual retreat in July and set strategic priorities for the new fiscal year. They also spent time building a strong team to accomplish the work ahead.

Core values at the foundation

"The Play Like a Girl Board of Directors set out to develop a clear understanding of their individual and collective strengths as well as their blind spots, and more deeply connect with one another," said Nashville Chapter President of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) Sara Skillen.

At the retreat, Sara addressed the board on the importance of shared values and beliefs to board effectiveness.

“True team building requires working together to create a safe space tied to [the organization's] core values and beliefs,” she said. "So that trust and confidence can be facilitated and board members are empowered to take action to support those values.”

At the Board Retreat this summer, Sara also spoke to accountability and respect among successful teams.

Sara pointed out that earning the respect of others is important, but showing respect is the foundation of meaningful relationships. She said that this, too, is critical to leadership.

Board progress continues

The board first met in July and has since continued its strategic work within a three-committee board structure which is essential to the board's work.

Committees are formed around strategic priorities such as fundraising, expanding to new communities, or taking on additional programming.

Meetings are content driven, and this board employs the consent agenda as a singular action item at each meeting so that it can spend most of its time on strategic work using data from multiple sources and stakeholders.

“Supporting Play Like a Girl’s Board of Directors in creating their own best environment for connecting with one another (even virtually!) was truly gratifying," Sara said. Everyone was thoughtful, engaged, and committed throughout the afternoon, and I’m confident the groundwork is in place for everyone to take action despite these difficult times.”


Play Like a Girl Announces New Board Chair

Former President of Women in Technology Tennessee brings more than 20 years of recruitment experience and tech leadership to Play Like a Girl board

NASHVILLE, TN. -- Play Like a Girl announced today that Marla Lamont has joined the nonprofit’s board of directors as its new Chairwoman.

Lamont is a well-respected talent acquisition leader with extensive experience in corporate and third-party recruiting. She has exceptional ability to understand a company’s business strategy and develop a talent acquisition strategy that aligns to its goals and objectives. The talent veteran also has more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry, and served as president at Women in Technology Tennessee (WiTT). She is currently the Director of Business Development at Relode, a crowdsourced healthcare recruitment platform that matches professionals to leading jobs at top companies.

“Few nonprofits are pursuing as bold and ambitious of a vision as Play Like a Girl,” said Lamont. “Like WiTT, the team at Play Like a Girl is passionate about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) but they’re also doing some amazing things in sports. I’m thrilled to be part of an organization dedicated to harnessing the skills girls gain from early and ongoing sport participation to develop their potential for a future in STEM, and I look forward to helping them extend their impact even further.”

In addition to Lamont, newly-elected Play Like a Girl board members include:

  • Channing Moreland, Co-CEO / Head of Partnerships for eva
  • Deann Moore, Sr. Director, Change Management, Asurion
  • Aqiyla Reed-Dowdell, Senior EDI Business Analyst, HCA Healthcare
  • Lee Ann Shephard, Vice President, Human Resources, BFC Solutions
  • Christina E. Stephens, Business Consultant, Teragram Visions

"Marla is a world-class corporate leader,” said Play Like a Girl CEO and Founder Dr. Kimberly Clay. “We are excited about the strategic guidance she will bring as we navigate this period of uncertainty and unprecedented change. In particular, we are eager to tap into her experience and insights in talent acquisition as we prepare to hire additional staff and begin succession planning for my eventual transition.”

To learn more about Marla and her team at Play Like a Girl, visit

Office Hours with Celeste Bell

Celeste Bell

VP, Talent Acquisition

Publicis Media


“Your life is your message to the world, make sure it's inspiring.“

A country girl in the big city, Celeste Bell, is an HR professional who is passionate about life and dedicated to bringing out the very best in others.


5 Things She Can’t Live Without

Faith: My faith in God allows me to believe that anything and everything is possible. It allows me to dream big, crazy dreams.

Family: My parents are my favorite humans. They're my best friends and my heroes. I am who I am because of them.

Dogs: Dogs are furry happiness. My dog is my other best friend. He's a protector but he's also goofy and will unapologetically poot in your face.

Running: Running is mental healthcare for me. I started running in college to avoid the freshman 15. Now, I run to stay sane. It works most days.

Travel: Ralph Waldo Emerson said "a mind once stretched, never returns to its original dimensions." Travel does this for me. It allows me to learn about and embrace other cultures.

Women's Flag Football Is New College Sport

We push our girls to challenge themselves in every way possible including sport. We know that sports help girls develop skills for the classroom, workplace and life. The confidence, work ethic, leadership skills gained from sport have proven benefits for women far beyond the field of play.  

Needless to say, we support school-age girls in sport. Because of this, we're equally excited by opportunities that arise for young women in collegiate athletics.

This past June, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), National Football League (NFL), and our partners at Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) collaborated to make women’s flag football an official collegiate sport. 

The NFL reports to CNN that fifteen schools plan to start women's flag football teams. They will begin competing in Spring 2021. There will be scholarship opportunities for players at those institutions. 

“This is an example of what the next 100 years of football can look like," NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent tells CNN. "Women leading the efforts, not just as fans, not just as moms supporting their boys. Now, young ladies could actually compete and earn a scholarship like they have seen their brothers and their fathers do for so many years."

Over the past few decades, participation among girls in organized flag football at younger ages has increased significantly. An unprecedented number of high school girls switch from other sports to flag football. Therefore, the opportunity to pursue the sport collegiately gives women the chance to take the love of flag football to a whole new level. 

Toni Harris is a defensive back for NAIA school Central Methodist University in Fayetteville, Missouri. In 2019, Harris became the first woman to receive a football scholarship to play a skill position at a collegiate level. She believes that this development offers young women a lot of new opportunity, and we agree. 

Harris tells CNN, “I think...the future of football is female. Not only is this [decision by NAIA] opening doors for girls to compete at the collegiate level, it's opening up more doors for maybe the NFL to start a WNFL one day.” Harris and others believe that the establishment of women's flag football as an official collegiate sport is a big step toward gender equality and equity in sport. 

Many great barriers still stand in the way of a perfectly level playing field. The NAIA is a much smaller governing body of collegiate athletics than the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Because of this, women who wish to play flag football collegiately will be limited in their choice of programs. Furthermore, media attention and money dedicated to women’s sports continue to severely lag that given to men.

Nonetheless, this remains a major milestone in the fight for equality. This development breaks barriers. We are optimistic that this move signals more exciting opportunities for women in sport. 

María: Driving Meaningful Change

“Potential Realized: A Mission with Impact” puts the spotlight on five amazing middle school students whose shared love of STEM and sports transcends their differences. These young women — all Play Like a Girl program participants — are true embodiments of our determination to create a world where girls believe in endless possibilities.

Meet all of our “Potential Realized” honorees here.

Name, Age

María Villanagra, 11


Liberty Collegiate Academy 



Favorite Sport

Swimming, Ice Skating

Favorite STEM Subject


Words you live by

"Everything happens for a reason."

Who is your hero?

My mom. And my dad. My mom is working and studying full time and she puts so much effort into everything. 

How is she potential, realized? 

María has always looked out for the people around her. She puts the people she cares about first, recounting a time when she gave a notebook she received at a Play Like a Girl event to a friend that lost her own as just one example of her selflessness. 

When her elementary school classmates Harper and Ryleigh initially joined Play Like a Girl, María was intrigued. She loved the idea that “girls can do anything”. Above all, she was excited about the potential that she saw Play Like a Girl bringing out in her classmates. Because of that, she joined hoping that Play Like a Girl could do the same for her. However, María did not realize just how much of an impact it would have on her. 

Through Play Like a Girl programs and events, María quickly became interested in different aspects of technology. More specifically, she realized she had real passion for photography and digital design. Speaking with mentors and learning more about the different opportunities helped her begin to envision a future career path in photography. 

María realized that she could pursue photography to have an even bigger impact on the lives of those around her. María began to recognize that the world of technology is vast and is filled with opportunities to support the causes about which she is most interested. One of those causes is climate change. 

Through the opportunities she has found at Play Like a Girl, María has been able to weave together her passion for environmental conservation with her interest in photography--toward real career goals. 

 “I want to try to make people more aware of climate change and how we could save the earth,” María tells us. “Everything has an effect, and I want to help people be more aware of the outcomes of their actions.” 

María knew she wanted to help people in some way even before became involved in Play Like a Girl programs. But she is now able to clearly imagine just how she dreams of doing that, using photography and digital technology to convey a specific message. María now realizes that her future careers goals are achievable. 

She is soaring to new heights in the classroom, simply because she has clear goals. “It has definitely helped me put more love and care into my education,” she tells us. “I used to not love it [school] as much as I do now. Realizing my potential and what I can do and thinking about the future has made me love learning so much more.” 

Knowing the power that education gives her to chase her dreams has reignited María's drive. Play Like a Girl has helped her see the exciting things she can do, motivating her so that she makes the most of her educational opportunities. She now brings much more ambition to everything she does. And her motivation has paid off. 

María’s academic performance has risen notably since she started Play Like a Girl. She has earned a reputation as a top performer, especially in STEM subjects. Her tenacity has also carried over to her other activities. She brings renewed energy to piano, choir, and her school club activities. 

She is thankful for the opportunity Play Like a Girl has given her to become “better as a person.” María shares openly about the confidence she has gained through Play Like a Girl. And her peers are motivated by her example. Certainly, our favorite girl María is potential, realized. 

Meet all of our Potential Realized honorees. And share their profiles on Twitter with the hashtag #PotentialRealized.

Follow #PotentialRealized on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.