Our Purpose

We believe the world needs more women leaders in sports.

Our Mission

Women Leaders in Sports is the premier leadership organization that develops, connects, and champions women to advance in sports and be a powerful influence in sports.

We are an expanding community of thousands of women and men—from interns to CEOs, conference commissioners, and athletic directors—who strive to grow as leaders and believe in diversity and equity in leadership. 

Women Leaders provides leadership development, career training, access to a powerful network, and the resources to advance women at every stage of their careers. We are re-shaping the leadership landscape by elevating the women leaders of today and cultivating the women leaders of tomorrow by accelerating the leadership potential of women to positively impact sports. 

We build a path to leadership for women by:

  • Training and mentoring members through our world-class leadership experiences.
  • Creating opportunities for connection and community, giving women a robust network to support their entire career journey.
  • Providing access to an exclusive career platform, Career Connect, to assist women with their job searches and/or hiring of top talent in sports. 
  • Championing women leaders by promoting their success through awards and media recognition. 
  • Educating, engaging and challenging industry leaders to make more diverse and equitable hires. 


Our Values

Women Leaders in Sports is guided by the following values:

  • Excellence: We strive to be the best professional organization for women’s athletics by pursuing excellence in every facet of the organization
  • Leadership: We are devoted to developing the leaders of tomorrow while guiding and supporting our membership on national issues
  • Diversity: We embrace women of every race, color, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, age, and ability
  • Equity: We believe in equal opportunity for women in all areas and that equality for women in athletics is imperative
  • Education: We are committed to contributing to our members professional development through mentoring, networking and educational programming
  • Advocacy: We support the advancement of women in athletics and take responsibility for advancing pertinent issues for women at all levels
  • Empowerment: We strive to provide women with the tools and the support to be successful in their professional and personal lives
  • Commitment: We remain steadfast in our efforts to nurture our membership and serve their professional development needs at the highest possible level


Women of Color Commitment

Women Leaders in Sports is committed to the access, inclusion, advancement, and retention of women of color in college sports and beyond. The Women of Color Initiative was born from our organizational commitment to provide a platform for Women Leaders members to connect, address issues specific to women of color, and support one another. The programming from that initiative is now infused into everything we do. 

The goal of our commitment to women of color is to: 

  • Broadly increase their exposure across the industry;
  • Raise awareness of the barriers women of color experience; 
  • Assist in building more inclusive communities of excellence;
  • And expand the pipeline of women of color working in sport.

We infuse our commitment to women of color into our member services and benefits. We are intentional about programming, education and, engaging women of color as speakers, institute faculty and participants, podcast guests, scholarship recipients, and much more.

In 2022, women of color were...

  • 45% of women hired into athletic director and commissioner positions
  • 47% of scholarship recipients
  • 31% of annual award recipients
  • 46% of women leaders podcast guests
  • 27% of participants in our Institutes
  • 300 Circle Members

In 2022, to further support this commitment, Women Leaders is launching a Women of Color member Circle. The purpose of this affinity group (a virtual community) is to enhance engagement among Women of Color and allies through regular connection, education, and a supportive community. The Women of Color Circle thrives on member engagement—it is an open and inclusive space where individuals can support one another, share resources and be empowered to make positive changes in their organizations and more broadly. This Circle is your space and community, and we encourage you engage and lean on this group as you navigate your career journey.

The Women of Color Circle and annual programming are supported in part by Morgan Stanley, the industry leader in promoting multicultural leadership opportunities and empowering women. 


We Stand with the Black Community and all People of Color

A letter from CEO Patti Phillips and Women Leaders Past President Jacqie McWilliams:

Women Leaders in Sports Bylaws

View the current Women Leaders in Sports Bylaws (updated December 2022) (PDF)