Office Hours with Ashley Baker

Dr. Ashley Baker

Chief Inclusion Officer

Xavier University of Louisiana

 

“If it doesn’t exist, create it!” 

Dr. Ashley Baker currently serves as Chief Inclusion Officer at Xavier University of Louisiana. She is Founder of the Women In Sports Forum, a Sport Management Scholar, and a Sports Mom.

 

5 Things She Can’t Live Without

Books: Every month I try to read a new book. I read all kinds of books. Books that make me laugh, books that teach me something new, or books that inspire me. I prefer to hold a book. However, I also download audiobooks so I can listen while I’m out for a walk or driving in the car. 

Leave In Conditioner: I have very curly hair and living in Louisiana, where it’s often hot and humid, I use leave in conditioner to keep my hair under control. I like to experiment with different products to find what helps protect my hair and will make it easier to comb and style. 

Social Media: I love being able to connect and network with people online. I can keep up with my friends and family, but I can also share what is going on in my own life. I also use social media as a space to celebrate and promote the amazing things women in sports are doing.  

Post It Notes: I write everything on post it notes. Whenever I come up with new and creative ideas I jot them down on a note and stick it in my journal. The notes help me keep my thoughts and ideas organized and I just love the way all the different color notes look on the pages. 

Quiet Time: I enjoy being around my friends and family, but having alone time is a necessity for me! It helps me to recharge and refocus, especially when I have had a busy day. Sometimes I spend my quiet time at home, in my room and other times I may go sit near the local lake. 


Office Hours with Danielle Gaw

Danielle Gaw

Director of Corporate Partnerships

Nashville Sounds Baseball Club

 

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

With nearly 10 years of experience working in baseball, Danielle Gaw oversees all corporate partnerships with the Nashville Sounds, Triple-A Affiliate of the Texas Rangers. 

 

5 Things She Can’t Live Without

My vinyl collection:  I’ve always had an appreciation for old things and good music. I love the thrill of searching for records at a store and hearing them on the record player!

My dog, Merle: My senior and toothless rescue dog. He’s laid back and reminds me to slow down every day. When not at work, you can find Merle and me sitting on the patio or taking a walk.

To-do lists: I find my handwritten to-do lists everywhere. I like to write it all down to get it out of my brain – and the digital notes just aren’t the same.

Coffee: Keeps me going through the long days of working in baseball. It’s never too early or too late for a coffee.

My three sisters and parents: Girl power all the way! We grew up in a household filled with sports, Barbies and a lot of time outside. Thankful for a supportive family that is always there for me. 


Office Hours with Beth DeBauche

Beth DeBauche

Commissioner

Ohio Valley Conference

 

 "Each one of us is given this amazing journey of life. It is up to us to be open to what is in store. Some of which we can control, some of which we cannot. We need to just believe and let go as our precious story unfolds." - Angela Carone

Beth DeBauche is an athletics administrator with a joyful heart. She serves student-athletes as they learn lessons about their true potential through intercollegiate athletics. She lives by the mantra from Adam Hamilton that 'a grateful heart recognizes that all of life is a gift.'

 

5 Things She Can't Live Without
Running Shoes: so that I can to exercise my body and mind and explore the world around me

A Rosary: to continually remind me that God is with me

My passport: so that I can travel the world, and when I am not, still dream of great adventures

My phone: so that those dear to me are always within reach

A key to home: so that I can remember there is a place where I am unconditionally loved


Creating Opportunities for Women Athletes

Play Like a Girl provides a supportive sisterhood of coaches, teammates and role models to improve girls’ health through sport while inspiring confidence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (or STEM).

We strive to help girls develop the life skills necessary to succeed no matter where they go, especially in traditionally male-dominated arenas. 

Likewise, many individuals and businesses in the women and sport community are uniting to offer girls and women a place to improve and grow the game—both on and off the field of play.

In fact, shortly before the pandemic hit, former New York F.C. President Jon Patricof and his colleague Jonathan Soros launched Athletes Unlimited.

This new model for professional sports caters to women and leverages the influence of professional athletes Jessica Mendoza and Abby Wambach.

Together, they helped to abolish team owners, home cities and rosters, allowing athletes to move fluidly between teams and cities throughout six week seasons. 

This model is designed to empower athletes, putting them in charge of the league’s decision-making and content creation, and splitting revenue among them.

“You’re getting players in the mind-set of being their own bosses and having control over what their outcome is going to be,” Wambach told the New York Times. “In the women’s sports world, being able to monetize yourself in all possible ways matters. It could mean paying your mortgage.”

In the wake of rulings against the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s fight for equal pay and a long history of lack of opportunity for female professional athletes, this new league could be a gamechanger.

It “gives athletes comfort and security that never happens with female athletes,” Wambach also told the NYT. This opens new doors and opportunities for women in a traditionally male dominated arena.


Introducing the 2018 Play Like a Girl Honorees

In the sports world, there are many stars. Although the most recognizable ones may be the athletes, the ones who shine the brightest are often not athletes at all, at least not professionally. They are the ones who work behind the scenes--those who coach, who innovate, who teach and who inspire all of us to game changers.

We are thrilled to recognize some of our local stars at the upcoming Play Like a Girl Honors Gala on Monday, November 26 at Marriott Hotel Cool Springs in Franklin, Tennessee. These extraordinary people were chosen for their example and impact on the health, confidence and leadership skills of girls everywhere. In short, they’ve shown us how to change the game.

Introducing the 2018 Play Like a Girl Honorees

Bart Brooks – Most Valuable Player Awardplay like a girl honorees

Bart Brooks is in his second season as head coach of the Belmont University women’s basketball program after leading the Bruins to a 31-4 overall record in 2017-18, its best since 1993-94. The success earned the program its first national ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 and Bart the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year as well as Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year. Bart previously spent 11 seasons at DePaul University during which he coached six WNBA draft choices and had nine teams in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Team Academic Top 25. Bart has a master’s degree in Sport Management from Barry University (FL), where he began his coaching career. He and wife Charlene Smith, who played for the WNBA Houston Comets, have two sons, Trey and Tyler.

“Our success is never about me as a coach, it’s all about the toughness and leadership of the young women in our program. They are the true recipients of this award, and they are the reason for the success of our program.”--Bart… Click To Tweet

Game Changers:

Favorite way to play? “With my sons in the backyard—football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tag--it doesn’t get better than that!”

How has sports impacted your life? “Sports gave me confidence in times of adversity. I was challenged constantly in sports, physically, mentally and emotionally pushed, and through all that adversity, I became stronger in all aspects of my life. Sports also taught me how to deal with conflict in a constructive way, how to work together with people to achieve more than I could ever achieve alone.”

What woman in your life has influenced your work most? “My wife; she’s the strongest, toughest, most intelligent, most thoughtful and gentle soul I’ve ever met. Her strength gets me through each day. I couldn’t succeed in my work if she wasn’t my support system. She has the ability to make me feel like our team is unbeatable and that I can do anything as a coach. She is everything to our family; raising our two boys much of the time alone while I’m on the road recruiting, and she does it with unbelievable patience and unwavering love. “

What characteristics helped your players achieve such great success? “Selflessness is a huge key; our players were always about the TEAM. They understood that we were always better as a five-person unit than any of us could have ever been as individuals. Their work ethic and intelligent discipline also set them apart from most teams. We always had players arrive early for practice, and stay late to work on their games.  And we took great pride in being intelligent on the floor, with the discipline to do what would lead us to success on and off the court.”

Kenyatta Bynoe – Trailblazer Awardplay like a girl honorees

Kenyatta Bynoe is an accomplished sports marketing executive with a 20-year career as a thought leader that challenges conventional thinking and a solid track record of engineering innovative, 360-degree marketing strategy. In the past year, her accomplishments have earned her key industry awards including Adweek’s “Most Powerful Women in Sports” and Sports Business Journal’s “Game Changer." Kenyatta has a BS in Public Relations from Central Michigan University and a MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Eastern Michigan University.  She currently resides in Nashville where she serves as Co-Chair of the Nashville Alumnae Chapter Public Relations Committee for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and mentors with Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

“In the business world and in life you have any number of opportunities to share your thoughts, voice your opinion and impact change. My job is to find ways to make a difference on every field of play I’m connected to; offering… Click To Tweet

Game Changers:

Female role models growing up? “Coaches, educators and business women inspired me more so by example than with words. I could see in them character traits that I wanted to emulate and levels of success I wanted to achieve. They helped me understand that much more was possible than I had imagined.”

How has sports impacted your life? “Sports provided an early example of teamwork and camaraderie that has translated into every aspect of my life. In addition, sports provided a positive way to channel competitive energy and come together with teammates to pursue a common goal. One of the most valuable lessons I learned is the notion of work ethic and what it takes to “play” at a high level. There is no shortcut around the hard work necessary to succeed or the multiple times you may fall on the road to greatness. But all of this is what makes victory so sweet.”

What does the Trailblazer Award mean to you? “It’s special to me because it symbolizes making the pathway clearer for those who come after me. To be thought of as a pioneer, innovator or trendsetter in this regard means everything. As an African-American woman there are many obstacles that I face in life and in business. Some highly visible, and others, often the most difficult, are the battles I fight in silence. But I continue to fight because I know that young girls need examples of women who come from all walks of life--from humble beginnings, from disadvantage and from poor circumstances--who have overcome.”

What personal traits help you succeed in sports marketing? “One of my personal philosophies is that there is no finish line. When approaching a goal, reevaluate it to determine how you can go to the next level. While you must find periods of rest and reflection along the way, don’t become comfortable or stagnant. There is a degree of fearlessness required to excel, especially in male-dominated careers.  To other women interested in this career path; speak up, stand strong on your position and back it up with data and skill. Most importantly, don’t let rejection of your ideas be fuel for quitting, let it motivate you to go harder the next time.”

Sammie Griffin – Corporate Partner Awardplay like a girl honorees

Sammie Griffin is an Assistant Vice President Treasury Management Sales Analyst at Wells Fargo Bank. She is a graduate of the University of North Alabama with a BBA and an MBA. Sammie currently resides in Brentwood, TN with her eleven-year-old son, Landon. She is passionate about giving back to her community and serves on the Advisory Board and Homeowner’s Selection Committee for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville as well as the Board of Directors for Distinguished Young Women of Music City. She is also President of the Wells Fargo Nashville Volunteer Chapter where she was first introduced to Play Like a Girl. Wells Fargo volunteers now partner with Play Like a Girl to teach financial literacy lessons.

“I love being able to empower and encourage other females. The older I get I understand more and more how important it is for young girls to have someone on their side, motivating them and reminding them that they can do it and they… Click To Tweet

Game Changers:

Favorite way to play? “Dancing and moving freely fills me with so much joy. Now as a boy mom, I’ve been able to venture out into other sports or “play” that I’m not as familiar with but enjoy just as much such as waffle ball and kayaking.”

Female role model growing up? “My mom. She is one of the most selfless individuals I’ve ever known. Her love for me and her family allowed me to always feel safe. She always encouraged me in anything and everything I wanted to do.”

How has sports impacted your life? “I was a part of a competitive cheerleading team my junior and senior year in high school. This showed me how to work with others and also how to resolve conflicts. It allowed me to build close bonds with young women who shared the same passion as me. It gave me self-confidence, made me want to be my best self--and whether I succeeded or failed--I had my team to lift me up or celebrate. I learned that if you really want something; with hard work, you can achieve or obtain it. These things shaped me into the person I am which has led me to where I am in my career.”

Why is it important for girls to understand money?  “Statistics show spending habits start developing at age seven. That’s crazy to think about, but basic knowledge on managing money and understanding credit cards and loans could ultimately be the difference between thriving after high school into college and work or falling into a financial hole. I wish someone had taken the time when I was younger to teach this to me. I personally had some tough financial experiences because of poor decisions I made from lack of education.”

Paula Hood – Corporate Partner Awardplay like a girl honorees

Paula Hood has an extensive background in banking and finance with a Fortune 50 company and over two decades of combined experience in onboarding, developing new talent and community outreach. She has taught in the professional classroom and in school systems across the country delivering training that prepares employees and students for career and financial success. First introduced to Play Like a Girl at a community fundraiser for Junior Achievement, she has since volunteered to provide financial education to young girls, coupled with the motivation to stay active and healthy throughout life. Although not fortunate enough to participate in sports as a young girl, she’s proud to be an example of how physical fitness and education can open doors to a future that once seemed out of reach.

Click To Tweet

Game Changers:

Favorite way to play?  “Running is my therapy. I used to weigh 130 pounds more than now; that’s when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I realized I was just surviving, not living and needed to make a change. I started looking at fun ways to get moving like belly dancing then I joined a walking group. One day I thought ‘why don’t I run to that mailbox?’ I tried it, made it and then began to set goals for myself until I could run a mile. Now I’m running half marathons.”

Female role model growing up?  “My mom. She worked three jobs at times to make sure my sister and I were taken care of. My parents divorced when I was nine and my dad was very present if my sister and I needed anything ourselves, but mom was independent and determined to keep a roof over our head herself. She was just doing what she had to do; that’s the era she came from. I’ve never known anyone to work that hard and I’m not sure she understood the impact that had on me.”

Advice for girls with similar health diagnosis? “For me when I received my diagnosis, I was so afraid if I stopped going, what if I couldn’t start again? That’s when I really became active, to experience it while I could. Then I realized this is what I’ve been missing, so I try to share how physical activity can affect quality of life, prolong a more positive state and perhaps even help as a preventative measure. My previous doctor was always shocked I could be so active; I’d even wear high heels to my appointments to say, ‘See, I’m still walking!’”

What impact do you want to make? “I, as an adult, hid my diagnosis for 14 years for fear of how people would react. Imagine a kid dealing with this situation. I want them to see if you’re battling something, whether physical, mental or emotional, there is a role model out there. And there is strength in sharing your story. You’re struggling yes, but imagine the people you can help if you’re brave enough to say ‘Look at me doing these things they said I’d never be able to do.’ We need more of that.”

Kenisha Rhone – Volunteer of the Yearplay like a girl honorees

Kenisha Rhone is Director of Digital Media & Social Strategy at Belmont University. She is heavily involved in numerous professional organizations as well as in community service throughout Nashville. Kenisha is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., serves on the Greater Nashville Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure steering committee and volunteers frequently to speak to youth groups including the Girls Scouts of Greater Nashville. Previous roles include serving as Sports Information Coordinator at Tennessee State University and as an Athletic Communications Assistant at the University of Pennsylvania. Kenisha began her career in sports through internships with the St. Louis Sports Commission and the St. Louis Gateway Classic before working in media relations for the St. Louis Rams during their successful Super Bowl XXXIV run in 1999-2000.

“Too often we’re told, ‘You can’t do that, you’re a girl.’ I had those moments; I remember them, we all do. But what can we do to change that narrative in the lives of girls? That’s why I do this, to see faces light up when they say… Click To Tweet

Game Changers:

Female role model growing up? “I’m from St. Louis it was Jackie Joyner-Kersee for me. Seeing her do things in the Olympics I never thought people could do; then to see her doing a camp, building a community center in East St. Louis; that made her real. The idea of giving even when you have more than enough, impacted me. I met her once and told her that. She said she wasn’t doing it for the accolades but because it needed to be done; other kids needed the opportunities she was given. It’s always about paying it back.”

How has sports impacted your life? “My parents were both athletes and growing up around sports it never occurred to me there was a lack of opportunities when I was young. That said, I was visually disabled and while my parents allowed me to play some, not having depth perception and trying to figure out how to play in my own way was tough. I didn’t look disabled so it was difficult to get teachers, instructors to understand that I needed some special accommodations. That, plus my parents being terrified I might get hurt and go blind almost made me not want to play. We compromised and I did just about every non-sport-related activity.”

What influences your work at Play Like a Girl? “I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last little kid with a disability so I’m always on the lookout for those playing slightly different. I see it because I did that myself. I’m always conscious of kids who want to play but can’t figure out how because they either don’t have the ability to say or admit something’s wrong, they don’t feel safe enough to say it or don’t have an adult to advocate for them. If they want to play we need to figure out how to get them in the game, period.”

What this experience taught you about yourself? “It reminded me of young disabled me. Being a pre-teen is awkward enough without navigating a disability. It’s very difficult mentally so you can’t imagine the level of empathy I have for kids in that space. To pull these kids aside and say ‘Let me show you how I did this, have you thought about doing it that way?’ I remember wanting someone to say that. It’s often small considerations that just take five minutes extra to think about. They need a voice to say, ‘It’s ok to do it a different way and I will help you.’ Because to play is the most important part.”

To meet our Honorees, join us at the Honors Gala. The event will feature a cocktail hour with open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, live music, red carpet and more. Get your ticket today!

Follow the event on Facebook for updates and other information.


Nashville Young Professionals Organize for Play Like a Girl

Millennials may go down as one of the most giving generations in history, even as young professionals with less disposable income and student loans to pay. In fact, according to The Case Foundation’s Millennial Impact Report in 2014, 84 percent of millennials gave charitably and 70 percent volunteered for a charitable cause. Across the world and right here in Nashville, millennials want to make the world a better place, and that’s an example that inspires us and our girls. Click To Tweet

A  New Opportunity for Young Professionals in Nashville

As Play Like a Girl invests in the next generation of confident, successful women, who better to help us than today’s confident, successful young professionals? You understand all too well the obstacles girls face to stay in the game through college and as they begin careers.

That’s why we’re starting the Play Like a Girl All Stars, our new young professionals network. The goal is to provide young professionals in Nashville the opportunity to expand their professional network and build leadership skills while supporting our mission to ensure that every girl reaches her full potential by providing them a chance--sometimes their only chance--to participate in sport and physical activity.

Make a Difference Doing What You Know

The Millennial Impact Report also states that 77 percent of millennials are more likely to volunteer when they can use their specific skills to maximize their philanthropic impact. Play Like a Girl All Stars have plenty of opportunity to do just that, “Acting as ambassadors, members of this young professionals network will engage the community through skilled volunteering, fundraising, networking and advocacy opportunities targeting young professionals with an interest or background in sports and/or STEM (science, tech, engineering and math),” says Dr. McKenna Healy, Play Like a Girl Board Member and All Stars Chair.

Giving Back Gives You Even More

Today’s young professionals know that when you give back, you get even more through the impact you make in young lives. Play Like a Girl All Stars will meet young professionals across the Nashville metro area to create innovative cross-sector STEM and sports partnerships, support the alumnae of Play Like a Girl programs as well as learn more about how to get involved in keeping girls in sports and, ultimately, propel young women into careers at the intersection of STEM and sports.

The perks of All Stars:

  • Receive invites to exclusive All Stars happy hours, socials and other insider-only events.
  • Get active in our summer sports league, top secret boot camps and fitness classes.
  • Roll up your sleeves or lace up your shoes to volunteer and fundraise for Play Like a Girl.
  • Develop your professional muscle through professional development events with a variety of thought leaders in the sports industry.
  • Get featured on our website and social media.
  • Have fun!

Start the MOVEment

The Play Like a Girl Honors Gala is known to gather hundreds to raise awareness and funds to support our programs for girls in Nashville and across the country. This year's star-studded event will take place Monday, November 26 at Marriott Hotel Cool Springs in Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville.

Of course, the cost of a single ticket is cost prohibitive for most individuals who might want to attend. But this year, we didn’t want to leave out our young patrons, so we're launching the All Stars Young Professional Network at the Play Like a Girl Honors VIP Reception starting at 5:00 p.m.

The event will feature a cocktail hour with open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, live music, red carpet and more. Plus, young professionals will rub elbows with elite athletes, celebrities and influencers across a variety of industries.

A special $99 early bird ticket is available for young professionals through November 5. This ticket includes entrance to the VIP Reception, the main Honors event and annual All Stars membership for 2019--a value of over $300.

Proceeds from the event will help Play Like a Girl serve 500 Nashville girls in 2019. What’s more, we are currently recruiting members of the All Stars Steering Committee.

All Stars help transform lives on and off the field; bring your game by filling out the Young Professionals Interest Form or getting your early bird ticket to the Play Like a Girl Honors Gala.

Follow the event on Facebook for updates and other information.


espnW: Women + Sports Summit

Our founder and CEO, Dr. Kimberly Clay, will speak at the 9th Annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit. This exclusive two-day event will unite a stellar group of female athletes, leaders in the sports world and industry influencers for a two-day program of speakers, sports activities and networking, all focused on creating positive change and opportunity for women in sports.

Through keynotes, panel discussions and interactive work sessions, the Summit will address a wide range of topics, from global access to sports and opportunities for the advancement of women, to the marketing of female athletes and the business of women’s sports.

The Summit is a one-of-a-kind event that connects, motivates and enables attendees to gain valuable insights and data points, and collaborate on creating an actionable vision for the future of women and sports.

Dr. Kim will join ESPN personality Sarah Spain and Deborah Morant of Local Initiatives Support Corporation in a thought-provoking breakout session entitled "Social Impact: Making a difference in your community" on Tuesday, October 1st at 2:15 p.m.


Inspiring Leadership Through Sport

To know what truly makes a great leader you need to ask one.

Turns out, 74 percent of C-suite business women believe that their athletic endeavors developed their leadership muscle, attributing skills that they learned through sports—communication, problem-solving, confidence and resilience—as critical to driving their achievements in business.

Surprised? We’re not and that’s why we’re committed to our belief that play changes everything.

The Facts

  • Active girls aim higher on and off the field. Active girls are more attentive students, they retain more of what they learn and they do better on standardized tests.
  • The extra confidence, support of a team and work ethic earned while participating in sports positions young women to be more appealing candidates with more opportunities to succeed, earning nearly 10 percent more income than their inactive peers.
  • Girls report increased leadership skills (54%) as one of the top benefits of staying in sports.
  • 94% of C-suite women participated in sports at some point in their life—the majority (52%) played at the collegiate level.

Leadership in Action

Play Like a Girl builds a supportive sisterhood of coaches, teammates and role models who help develop the traits needed to succeed and lead, particularly in male-dominated careers in STEM and sports. We’re honored to share some of the stories of how sport and physical activity are preparing girls today to become leaders tomorrow.

Imisi, age 8

Imisi recently attended the Camp on Ice with the Nashville Predators. When asked about the benefits of Play Like a Girl, Iyanu, Imisi’s brother, states, “Women don’t get as many chances as men and they don’t get the same pay, so this is a chance to make a difference.”

As for Imisi herself, “I learned that you may fall but with practice you will get somewhere.” What a sentiment for hockey and for life!

Alana, age 10

Alana has been a part of multiple Play Like a Girl programs and events--most recently, our ice skating event with the Predators. When asked what she enjoyed most about the panel discussion by women employees in the Preds organization, Alana states, “I liked hearing about their jobs because I didn’t know about them.”

Alana’s mom echoes that sentiment, believing the long-term impact of Play Like a Girl will be that, “It lets her [Alana] see women in powerful roles in the sports industry.”

Jasmine, age 11

Jasmine also attended the panel hosted by the Nashville Predators. Her biggest takeaway was that, “Women can have the chance to do what they want in their careers.” And what does Jasmine want for her future? “To run track and later become a doctor,” she says.

Smarnunt, Jasmine’s mom, doesn’t want her daughter’s participation with Play Like a Girl to end with one event. She wants her to learn even more about STEM as well as have more “exposure to women speaking about their careers in sports.”

Lydia, age 8

Lydia came bursting through the doors at the Ford Ice Center last July, excited about learning to ice skate. Her mom, Melissa, is a big proponent of encouraging her daughter to step outside her comfort zone and try new things so that's exactly what she did.

Melissa states, “I currently coach youth sports and try to instill confidence and strong work ethic in my players. I see some girls who don’t feel confident or have anxiety. Sports can help them overcome those issues and change their lives.”

As evidenced by these short stories, girls who participate in sports learn a number of skills that can help them fulfill leadership roles in adulthood.

“When given some voice in their own participation, girls practice making timely decisions, recovering from failure, coordinating team members and setting and keeping schedules—just to name a few,” said Dr. Marlene Dixon, professor… Click To Tweet

If you want to help your girl gain transferable leadership skills, find a Sports Club or STEM Camp today! Or, Get Involved in our mission by partnering, fundraising, volunteering or donating.


Inspiring Confidence Through Sport

Girls today are up against some tough opponents—access, exposure, self-perception— trying to keep them sidelined, in sport and in life. Luckily we have the playbook to change that and it all starts with inspiring confidence.

The Facts

  • Ongoing participation in sports and physical activity is a high contributor to confidence in girls, and provides valuable skills to help them stay confident.
  • The strong connections made through sport help girls discover positive ways to combat emotional pressures, which helps them to develop a stronger sense of confidence and broader range of social skills that reduce their likelihood of smoking, becoming pregnant at an early age or using drugs.
  • The extra confidence, support of a team and work ethic earned while participating in sports positions young women to be more appealing candidates with more opportunities to succeed, earning nearly 10% more income than their inactive peers.

Our Girls in Action

Play Like a Girl builds a supportive sisterhood of coaches, teammates and role models to build our girls’ confidence on and off the field of play. There’s nothing like witnessing a girl find that spark of confidence for the first time, and we’re honored to share just some of the stories of how sport and physical activity are changing girls’ lives across the country.

Trinity, age 10

Trinity and her family drove three hours to attend Play Like a Girl's Softball Skills Clinic with the Nashville Sounds and Camp on Ice with the Nashville Predators.

When asked about the benefits of Play Like a Girl, Deloria, Trinity’s mother, states, “I believe it helps with character development and confidence building. Girls are often overlooked in sports. They are not given the same opportunities as boys despite their talent and skill. I want her [Trinity] to take the lessons she learns here and teach others. As a young woman, I want her to be able to empower other girls.”

Trinity plans to do just that, “I’m thinking about becoming a doctor.” And she’s thankful Play Like a Girl gives her the opportunity to try new sports “like rugby,” which helps her develop the grit and teamwork she needs in and out of the game.

Ella, age 13

Ella attended Camp on Ice with the Nashville Predators and has previously attended Play Like a Girl's Game Changers Camp with Google & Gatorade. She loves the camps: “They help teach girls that 'playing like a girl' is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Ella's mother, Tamara, agrees, “Play Like a Girl provides the girls new experiences and exposure. It opens their eyes to new possibilities in all areas—especially careers in STEM and sports.” Click To Tweet

When asked about her future, Ella says “I want to have my own business and it’s important to have confidence to be able to do that.”

Lydia, age 8

Lydia attended the Play Like a Girl Camp on Ice with the Nashville Predators and her sister has previously participated in a softball camp.

They both loved the experience and their mom, Melissa, states, “Play Like a Girl encourages my daughters to step outside their comfort zone. Long term, I hope they never feel alone and embarrassed to be strong. I grew up being the only girl in some sports and even college classes, but it never bothered me because my parents raised me to be confident mentally and physically.”

These are just a few stories about how play is impacting the girls we serve at Play Like a Girl.

If you want to level the playing field for your girl, find a Sports Club or STEM Camp today! Or, Get Involved in our mission by partnering, fundraising, volunteering or donating.


Beyond Innovation

Over 2.8 million STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs are expected to go unfilled this year alone and those filled won't be filled by women. While women continue to make gains across the broader economy, they remain underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders--just like in sports.

Though numbers are growing, only 27% of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are female. The gender gap only grows worse from there: Just 18% of American computer-science college degrees go to women. And that's in the U.S., where many college men proudly self-identify as "male feminists" and girls are taught they can be anything they want to be.

Advancing gender parity in the workplace requires that we start early and design programs to tap into the potential of young women to contribute further in this vital sector. Middle school girls in Nashville are learning STEM lessons through the context of sport thanks to our programs at Play Like a Girl. They also are mentored by professionals whose day-to-day work crosses the lines of STEM and sports.

To do this work, we're continually developing our knowledge and partnerships through experiences like Beyond Innovation 2018 which brought together 200 global leaders from across the sports, tech, nonprofit, education, business, entertainment and development landscape, to create innovative cross-sector partnerships that use the global appeal of sport to advance STEM.

Former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color to go into space, Dr. Mae Jemison reminded us that we all have a responsibility to be beneficial to society as we are all connected and have all the answers we need to solve the world's problems. The renowned physician, engineer, social scientist, entrepreneur and educator suggested that “hands on, hearts on, minds on” is “the best way to teach STEM.” And we agree.