Our Purpose

We believe the world needs more women leaders in sports.

Our Mission

Women Leaders in Sports exists to develop, connect, and champion women to advance and be a powerful influence in sports.


  • Develop women leaders. 
  • Connect women to a powerful network.
  • Champion women to rise higher.
  • Advance women's influence in sports. 

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. 

We build a path to leadership for women by:

  • Training and mentoring 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
  • Educating, engaging, and challenging industry leaders to make more diverse and equitable hires


Women Leaders in College Sports has evolved to Women Leaders in Sports to embrace a new and more inclusive chapter in our organizational journey.

With this evolution, we are broadening our mandate as we become an even more inclusive platform that welcomes and supports women leaders from diverse backgrounds and professional experiences. More than ever women are pivoting across sectors of sports, and we want you to know there is always a place for you in our community as a woman leader in sports. 

Our CEO Patti Phillips and President Heather Lyke penned a letter to membership about the brand evolution. Read it here


  • Excellence: We strive to be the best professional organization for women working in sports 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 working in sports 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 working in sports 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 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 2023, women of color were...

  • 33% of women hired into athletic director and commissioner positions
  • 64% of scholarship recipients
  • 33% of annual award recipients
  • 46% of women leaders podcast guests
  • 34% of participants in our Institutes
  • 334 Circle Members

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.