RECAP: ODAC Conducts Fourth Successful Women in Athletics Symposium

RECAP: ODAC Conducts Fourth Successful Women in Athletics Symposium

FOREST, Va. --- The ODAC continued its trend of immersive professional development and alternative programming this past May with a fourth successful Women in Athletics Symposium. Roanoke College served as the host venue for the popular two-day affair on May 20-21.

Eighty women from the conference's 14 full-time member schools -- plus incoming member Ferrum College -- attended the event conducted by the league's Senior Woman Administrators in conjunction with the conference office. This particular symposium focused on professional development and networking opportunities for women working in member school athletic departments. Those in attendance included administrators, coaches, athletic trainers, and sports information personnel.

Six distinguished presenters provided the content for the programming, which centered on developing skill sets and facilitating networking opportunities to help with the retention of women in athletics. Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, the co-director at the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, served as the keynote speaker. She conducted a session on Sunday afternoon titled “The Current Landscape for Women in Athletics”, which delved into her seminal research on the underrepresentation of women in the coaching profession. Dr. LaVoi uses her longitudinal research series to generate the Women in College Coaching Report Card, which documents the percentage of women coaches of women’s teams in college athletics.

Dr. LaVoi then kicked off Monday morning with her lecture, “Success Strategies for Women in Athletics: Being GREAT!”, which focused on strategies for overcoming the barriers that are often present for women working in athletics.

RELATED: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

Following the keynote talk, the attendees were split into three groups to attend various breakout sessions. Two of the sessions were led by Pam Herath, Raven Scott, and Linda Schirmeister-Gess from Strive Leadership. One session focused on core values, leadership styles, and self-reflection on individual philosophies. The other session zeroed in on communication strategies and helped develop an awareness of the different types of communication and ways to effectively communicate with colleagues.


The final session was led by Julie Soriero, Director of Athletics at MIT, and Mike Lynch, Director of Athletics at Babson College. The pair spoke on mentor relationships. Soriero provided an example of a mentoring program she has within her athletics department and they spoke about ways to be intentional when seeking out a mentor or mentoring others.

The 2018 Women in Athletics Symposium continued a series of associative programming for various ODAC constituencies. Previously, the conference has used funding from NCAA Division III's various initiatives to focus on sportsmanship, student-athlete well-being, and minorities in athletics in addition to four comprehensive women in athletics symposiums. Programming has focused on those working in conference athletic departments, student-athletes competing in league sponsored sports, or a combination of both.