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IWLCA Students of Color Leadership Academy Recap

By IWLCA Admin, 01/14/22, 1:30PM EST


IWLCA Students of Color Leadership Academy Recap


The IWLCA concluded the Future Leaders of the Game: IWLCA Students of Color Leadership Academy yesterday. The virtual event included a series of three online presentations focusing on leadership topics interspersed with smaller group discussions and networking opportunities. 57 student-athletes representing NCAA Divisions I, II, II, and the NAIA and the graduating classes of 2022 - 2025 were selected to participate in the program.

The Future Leaders of the Game: IWLCA Students of Color Leadership Academy was designed to empower and encourage student-athletes to develop their own leadership skills and embrace their potential to lead in their program and on their campus. The Academy was facilitated by a diverse group of coaches and administrators to help participants to recognize their own power and develop into strong leaders and role models on their teams, campuses, and in their communities. Additionally, the Academy endeavored to foster a sense of community and belonging among the participants and provide them with networking opportunities and interactions with current IWLCA coaches of color.

Jessy Morgan, chair of the IWLCA’s Racial Equity Task Force and athletic director at Garrison Forest School, gave brief remarks at the closing session on the final day of the Academy. In addressing the participants, her message was straightforward, striking a balance between encouraging them to help grow the sport by serving as visible leaders and role models, while also acknowledging that the lacrosse community is open to continued change to make the sport more welcoming to those that represent a more diverse populace than the current demographics.

“One of the best aspects about the sport of lacrosse is the network of people,” Morgan said. “That network creates access and opportunities for young women to gain employment, educate themselves, and make a career in the sport. What we are creating with the Leadership Academy is a network and community where a subset of women can grow, feel included, and expand the reach of the sport to their own communities. It's a beautiful thing to be part of this growth of the sport and to interact with all of the young women involved.”

The planning for the Leadership Academy was led by a few key members of the IWLCA’s Racial Equity Task Force: Mary Ann Meltzer, Abi Jackson, Alice Lee, and Zhanè Ruffin. The participant application and selection process was managed by the IWLCA’s Outreach Committee. Jackson, formerly the head coach at Union College, served as the event host, and worked with the featured presenters and a group of current IWLCA member coaches who led the participants in small group activities: Jennifer Wong (Temple University), Alice Lee (Williams College), Karen Healy Silcott (Howard University), Yousra Manar (Earlham College), Katy Sherman (William Penn), Taylor Paige (University of Virginia), Llaquelin Reyes (Hartwick College), Malia Shimabukuro (Midland University), Brian Liitle (Emmanuel College), Liz Geyer (Bethany College) and Thuy Williams (Pacific University). The full Leadership Academy schedule of featured presentations and discussion sessions is listed below.



Leadership Academy Kickoff Session/Small Group Discussion Session #1
January 2

Developing Vocal Leadership

Creating a Network of Champions
January 4
Presenter: Patricia Thomas, University of the District of Columbia

Small Group Discussion Session #2
January 5 or 6
Having Tough Conversations

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership
January 7
Presenter: Fran'Cee Brown-McClure, Union College

Small Group Discussion Session #3
January 9 or 10
Leadership Styles - Finding Yours 

Non-Diverse/Heteronormative Workspaces and Confidence
January 13
Presenter: Deidre D. Pierson (she/her/hers), Hamilton College

Leadership Academy Closing Social
January 13
Networking Event