By Brook Patterson
Conference Carolinas sponsored the league’s first women’s summit last weekend with a commitment to strengthen the reputation of women’s athletics within Conference Carolinas, Division II and in college athletics altogether.
The weekend conference, called SOAR (“Strengthening Our Athletic Reputation”) was packed with meetings, business sessions, round-table discussions and motivational speakers who highlighted all aspects of women in college athletics. The summit was conducted Sept. 10-11 at the U.S. Whitewater Center near Charlotte, N.C.
The program hit the mark with participants.
“This is the best professional development opportunity I have had to date,” said Coker compliance officer Katie Flaherty.
Friday evening’s program featured a powerful message by Jeannie King, athletics director at Queens University of Charlotte, who described the communication strategies she used along her successful career path. From there, the group wrapped up the evening by participating in a bonfire activity that prompted open-ended discussion about challenging scenarios that females in athletics face.
On Saturday, participants heard from Judy Rose, athletics director at Charlotte, who spoke on effective management and leadership in collegiate athletics. After her presentation, the participants were immediately placed into challenging obstacle courses that involved climbing, zip lining and freefall jumping.
The last business session was facilitated by Karen Morrison, NCAA director of gender initiatives, who discussed the initiatives implemented by the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics, including educational aspects of gender equity and Title IX.
Afterward, participants praised the program.
“That was one of the best things that a conference could do for its female members,” said Mary Ann Sunbury, association director of athletics at Pfeiffer. “Hopefully this will become a Conference Carolinas tradition.”
Michele Williams, basketball coach at King College, added: “I hope this is something that we can do every year because I was very inspired over the two days. Listening to women who have been where I am now, inspires me to reach for bigger goals.”
Brook Patterson is associate commissioner of Conference Carolinas.