Play Like a Girl Launches National Ambassadors Program

Play Like a Girl Launches National Ambassadors Program with

Two-time NFL Super Bowl Champion Jonathan Jones As Its First Male Ally

Ambassadors will enable Play Like a Girl to reach a broader audience of future women leaders in its effort to level the playing field in sport and STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 31, 2023) — Play Like a Girl announces the launch of its new Ambassadors Program to commemorate National Mentoring Month. The Nashville-based, woman-led organization is working to close the gender gap in competitive, male-dominated fields like science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

While some progress has been made over the past few years, there is still work to do. Women remain vastly underrepresented in STEM despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce. Women have made gains – from 8 percent of STEM workers in 1970 to 27 percent in 2019 – but men still dominate these fields. Men make up 52 percent of the U.S. workforce but 73 percent of all STEM workers. 

The Play Like a Girl Ambassadors program brings together women volunteers and male allies across a wide range of sport and STEM careers to serve as visible, touchable role models for middle school girls. New England Patriots cornerback #31 Jonathan Jones leads the way as the first male to step into the official role of Play Like a Girl Ambassador. In December 2022, Jones joined six fellow NFL players across the league who wore custom Play Like a Girl cleats in Week 13 games to reflect their passion off the field and to raise awareness about the organization’s life-changing mission as part of the NFL’s ‘My Cause, My Cleats’ campaign. 

“Change is a team sport,” said Play Like a Girl founder and CEO, Dr. Kimberly Clay. “I am thrilled to welcome these Ambassadors as teammates in our efforts to create positive and lasting change for girls and women everywhere. Together, we can provide girls with the connections, knowledge, and support they need to realize their full potential.”

Play Like a Girl was originally established in 2004 as an event series aimed at decreasing physical inactivity in girls through sport and active play and has since evolved into a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose purpose is to inspire girls everywhere to reach their full potential, on and off the field of play.

The nonprofit takes an innovative and immersive approach to its mission to level the playing field for girls, combining mentorship opportunities with real-world industry exposure, skills training, personal development workshops, college visits, and sporting events. This combination has proved highly successful. After participating in a Play Like a Girl program, 85 percent of mentees expressed increased confidence in their STEM skills, and more than 90 percent of mentees reported interest in a STEM career.

“As an ally, I challenge men in my sport to make space for women to succeed in this field and in other male-dominated spaces,” said Jones. “Encouraging girls and women to pursue their interests is important. My goal is to show how boys and men can support girls and women entering historically male spaces and careers, and level the playing field to allow for equality for all."

Ambassadors will enable Play Like a Girl to reach a broader audience of future women leaders through targeted social media campaigns, blog content, and direct engagement with girls in formal and informal spaces. Participants in the Ambassador program will have the opportunity to collaborate with Play Like a Girl staff to host events in their own communities, including the popular Play Like a Girl Field Day. The program is designed to be easy-to-access and customizable to the unique interests of ambassadors and their community. Jones, who himself is a girl dad, will host an all-girls flag football league in his hometown of Carrollton, Georgia, this summer.

The inaugural class of Play Like a Girl Ambassadors can be found here.

To apply to be an ambassador, visit New Ambassadors will be announced on a rolling basis.


About Play Like a Girl

Play Like a Girl!® is on a bold mission to level the playing field by leveraging the skills girls gain from sport to propel young women into competitive, male-dominated careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To accomplish this, Play Like a Girl programs harness the collective power of women volunteers and male allies to unite around gender inequality and the critical role they play in inspiring the next generation of women leaders. Play Like a Girl is a volunteer-led national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization governed by an active volunteer Board of Directors. Play Like a Girl has impacted over 50,000 girls worldwide since its founding in 2004, directly benefiting nearly 1,250 girls and women annually. For more information, visit, and follow @iplaylikeagirl on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

A Message from Dr. Kim: A Year of Wins for Girls Who STEM

Making Strides for Girls Who STEM

As we embark on the new year, I look back on 2022 with gratitude for many moments that made me especially proud to have done this work the past 18 years. 

Before endeavoring to do even more, I’d like to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to our Play Like a Girl community. Thank you for supporting us through such generous giving this past holiday season—and for supporting us in every way throughout 2022. The girls we serve will change the world, and you’re making that possible. 

The year started strong with our Women’s Leadership Summit, which is all about women role models. As an organization that inspires the limitless potential in girls, we chose to commemorate International Women’s Day by spotlighting some of Nashville’s most inspiring women because we know that girls can’t be what they can’t see. We can’t wait to share what we’ve got planned for 2023. 

You showed up for us again at our annual On the Green golf tournament at Brentwood Country Club last June. This annual day of team-building and doing good raised over $100,000 for our scholarship fund—allowing us to fund Nayla Maple’s four-year undergraduate education in animal science at North Carolina State A&T University. With your help, we’re building a pipeline of diverse young women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related fields (STEM+). 

After a hugely successful nine months, it was only befitting that we end the year with a few unexpected wins including the attention we received from the NFL #MyCauseMyCleats campaign. New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones joined six fellow NFL players across the league who wore custom Play Like a Girl cleats in Week 13 games to reflect their passion off the field and to raise awareness about our life-altering mission to level the playing field for girls in sport and STEM+.  

Weeks earlier, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry also supported Play Like a Girl through his foundation, Two All, and its partnership with Bridgestone Americas. This initiative provides girls from underserved communities with increased access to STEM+ education through a $100,000 gift to support our Meet + Mentor program.

Derrick’s singular message has been that “sports matter but what really matters is leveling the playing field.” To prove it, he joined us for a day of learning with girls at our partner school, STRIVE Collegiate Academy, where they taught him all about the engineering design process. In turn, he taught the girls a little about football—while the boys cheered them on, of course. It was a great day! 

And if that wasn’t enough Titans love, I was later named a 2022 Playmaker and was presented the Women of the Titans awardan honor reserved for women who are making an impact in the Nashville community.

While I’m not one to toot my own horn, I will admit that I felt seen and appreciated for all the sacrifice and hard work over the years. It wasn’t just about 2022. This moment was about all 18 years we’ve done this work. That moment was BIG for us. BIG for me!

As we’ve done for some time now, we ended another year of programming with an Inside Look at some exciting STEM+ careers. We took the girls behind the lab doors in the School of Pharmacy at Lipscomb University. We even taught the girls and their mothers how to code a website at our annual Hour of Code event at Belmont University. (Many thanks to the faculty and students who facilitated these two inspiring education and enrichment experiences for our girls and their mothers.)

I often say that leveling the playing field is a team sport. And you’ve proven that as true. You played your role better than any of us could have imagined. Because of you, we made a real meaningful impact in the lives of girls and women again. 2023 will be no different.

We’re thrilled to have you on our team, and we know we will go even further and come even closer to a more equal playing field with you as our teammate! Thank you for an extraordinary 2022, and thank you for all that we will accomplish together in 2023. 

Yours in sport, 

Dr. Kimberly S. Clay


January is National Mentoring Month! Are you ready to bring more unstoppable energy to your year? Become a mentor today!