Women Leaders in College Sports Evolves to Women Leaders in Sports


September 6, 2023
Contact: Mandy Marks
Women Leaders in Sports
[email protected]

Kansas City, Mo.—Women Leaders in College Sports announces it will now be known as Women Leaders in Sports. The evolution of the name, including a refreshed logo and brand identity, represents the organization’s continued commitment to accelerating the leadership potential of all women working in sports.

"As we continue to grow and adapt to the dynamic landscape of sports leadership, we are embracing a new and more inclusive chapter in our organization by evolving our name to Women Leaders in Sports,” said Patti Phillips, CEO. “We will continue to be the organization that positively impacts all women working in sports because we believe the world needs more women leaders in sports.”

The brand evolution highlights the organization's growth that has been happening over the last several years, with more women from adjacent industries seeking out the community and resources provided through a Women Leaders membership.

Women Leaders is an expanding membership community of women and men who strive to grow as leaders and believe in diversity and equity in leadership. Through year-round world-class leadership development, career training, and access to a powerful network, Women Leaders accelerates the leadership potential of women to positively impact sports.

“This is more than a mere name change. It is a brand evolution that reflects the impressive growth and impact our organization continues to have on women leaders beyond the collegiate athletics space,” said Heather Lyke, Women Leaders President, Board Chair, and Director of Athletics at the University of Pittsburgh. “The advancement of women’s sports in terms of participation, investment, and attention is at historic highs. The time is right for our organization to broaden our impact to engage, inspire, and develop women in leadership at all levels of sports and society at large.”

The new brand will come to life at the Women Leaders National Convention in New Orleans, from October 8th-10th. Learn more here and register by September 30th to attend.

Watch the brand evolution video here.

Women Leaders CEO Patti Phillips and President penned a letter to members. Read it here


“Women Leaders continues to do amazing work and today’s evolution not only broadens the community and embraces inclusivity, but it will directly impact and benefit even more women in the sports profession. This tremendous organization, led by Patti Phillips, is always working to enhance leadership opportunities for women across all areas of the industry. To be certain, I applaud the members of Women Leaders in Sports and encourage everyone in our industry to support the organization and its meaningful programs.”

- Jim Phillips, Ph.D, ACC Commissioner

"Expanding our reach builds upon the organization's mission by making it more inclusive of all women who need a community that supports and celebrates them. As the Women Leaders community expands, we will only gain strength, support, and connection – something every woman working and leading in college sports needs now more than ever."

- Meg Stevens, Director of Athletics at Averett University and Incoming President of Women Leaders in Sports

“I am thrilled for everyone at Women Leaders in Sports on this next step in their evolution. For so long, this organization has been a crucial part of the landscape for women in college sports to learn and grow. Now with this next step, women leaders across all sectors of sport have a stronger community to advance and continue their professional development. We are incredibly fortunate to have this organization in Kansas City and look forward to continuing our work with them on building stronger leaders in sport!”

- Allison Howard, Kansas City Current, President

“As a Champion and Advocate for women in our industry, I think Women Leaders in Sports is a perfect evolution of the name and brand for the preeminent organization for women in sports business. Patti is a phenomenal leader and is attuned to the needs of the organization. The membership growth of women leaders outside of college athletics makes this the perfect time to provide those members with a better sense of belonging."

- Tim Duncan, University of New Orleans, Vice President of Athletics & Recreation

“Women Leaders in Sports is a gold-standard organization responsible for the advancement of women in sports in this country and beyond. The NFL has been proud to work with Women Leaders for almost a decade and much of the credit for the advancement of women in football roles belongs to Patti Phillips and the programming of Women Leaders in Sports. The evolution of this organization will only lead to better leadership parity in sports and more women involved in the landscape.”

- Sam Rapoport, NFL, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

“This rebrand represents yet another forward-thinking and dynamic response to the professional landscape awaiting the best and brightest Women Leaders in Sports! No organization has been more attuned and responsive to preparing female executives in every facet of sports operations, business and education.”

- Christine Plonsky, University of Texas, Chief of Staff & Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director

“This is such a natural evolution for this organization as it continues to lead, empower and amplify the voice of the female sports professional. Having worked in both the professional and collegiate space, I am excited for my colleagues in the sports profession to tap into the rich resources of Women Leaders as the organization expands its reach!”

- Tiffany Daniels, Associate Commissioner and SWA, Southeastern Conference

"The change to "Women's Leaders in Sports" perfectly demonstrates the continued evolvement and growth we have seen over the past decade. It is exciting to see the diversity of women across the sports industry and how we will include them in this dynamic community of women leaders. The timing is right and now for us to engage like we have never done before unapologetically to fulfill our mission to develop, connect, and advance ALL women in the sports industry."

- Jacqie McWilliams, CIAA Commissioner and Women Leaders Past President

“Patti Phillips and her team have long provided extensive and impactful mentoring, networking and professional development services to women throughout the college sports world, and their plan to expand their reach to other sectors can only strengthen the role of women as leaders and decision-makers across the sports landscape."

- Val Ackerman, Big East Conference, Commissioner

From a young woman entering into collegiate sports, to my transition to a leadership role within professional sports and now back to the collegiate ranks as an executive, Women Leaders in Sports has been instrumental in providing not only support for my professional development, but most importantly, it has provided me a community of sisters to learn from, grow from, cry with and thrive with. I’m forever grateful to be a part of an organization focused on uplifting and amplifying women at every level.”

- Jenn Hunter, JD, Chief Impact Officer, Big 12 Conference

“It was 17 years ago that I transitioned from the college coaching ranks to intercollegiate administration. I was young and hungry but needed resources to support me in navigating an unfamiliar space. The support that I received from Women in Sports was beyond what I would have ever imagined. As a member, a past committee member of two committees, an award recipient, and a participant in several leadership programs, I have evolved, like Women in Sports. Thanks to Patti Phillips and the entire Women in Sports team for playing a part in strengthening my leadership skills, knowledge, and confidence to pursue and excel in my current position at an NFL team.”

- China Jude, EdD, Denver Broncos, Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

About Women Leaders in Sports

Founded in 1979, Women Leaders in Sports is the only nationally recognized professional membership organization whose mission is to develop, connect, advance, and champion women leaders working in sports. Women Leaders provides career and leadership training, access to a powerful network, and the resources to advance women at every stage of their careers. Learn more about the organization here and follow Women Leaders on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok @_WomenLeaders.