Women Leaders in Sports Announces 2023 Award Winners


August 15, 2023

Mandy Marks
Women Leaders in College Sports
[email protected] 

Kansas City, Mo.— Women Leaders in Sports (Women Leaders) announced today its 2023 award recipients. The honors include the Nike Lifetime Achievement Awards, Nike Executives of the Year, and Herff Jones Rising Executive Awards.

Women Leaders is committed to recognizing the achievements and successes of women working in sports. Celebrating these accomplishments is an integral piece of advancing women in sports.

"We are thrilled to celebrate this group of outstanding women who are blazing trails in the sports industry,” says Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. "These women are the definition of leaders and innovators. They are highly deserving of their awards, and we can’t wait to honor them in New Orleans."
These recipients will be recognized at the Women Leaders National Convention held in New Orleans from October 8-10th. Learn more about the Women Leaders’ annual awards here. A special thanks to our partners, Nike: the presenting sponsor of the Lifetime Achievement and Executive of the Year Awards, and Herff Jones: the official award provider of Women Leaders in College Sports.

Nominated by their peers and selected by the Women Leaders Awards Committee for their service during 2022-2023, the award recipients are: 

    Nike Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients:

    • Nike Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Jean Cerra, Former Dean and Director of Athletics, Barry University, Associate Athletic Director, University of Missouri
    • Nike Lifetime Achievement Award: Jean Lenti Ponsetto, Former Director of Athletics, DePaul University 
    • Nike Lifetime Achievement Award: Cathie Schweitzer, Former Director of Athletics, Springfield College 
    • Nike Lifetime Achievement Award: Delores "Dee" Todd, Former Assistant Commissioner, Atlantic Coast Conference 

    Nike Executive of the Year Award Recipients: 

    • NCAA Division I FBS Nike Executive of the Year: Julie Cromer, Director of Athletics, Ohio University
    • NCAA Division I FCS Nike Executive of the Year: Lisa Archbald, Associate Commissioner for Compliance and Governance/SWA, Northeast Conference 
    • NCAA Division I Nike Executive of the Year: Amanda Braun, Director of Athletics, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
    • NCAA Division II Nike Executive of the Year:  Jennifer Bell, Director of Athletics, Converse University
    • NCAA Division III Nike Executive of the Year: Kristin Hughes, Director of Athletics, Smith College
    • Association/Organization Nike Executive of the Year: DeeDee Merritt, Director of Leadership Development, NCAA
    • NAIA Executive of the Year: Janet Eaton-Smith, Vice President of Athletics, Lourdes University
    • Nell Jackson Nike Executive of the Year: Marchelle "Cricket" Lane, Senior Associate Athletic Director, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Rising Executive Award Recipients:

    • Rising Star Award: Christine "C.C" Colwell, Assistant Director of Enforcement, NCAA
    • Promising Professional Award: Jana' Boyd, Assistant Director for Creative Services & Digital Content, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
    • Commitment Award: Jashell Mitchell, Chief of Staff for Football Operations, Jackson State University

About Women Leaders in College Sports

Founded in 1979, Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) is the only nationally recognized collegiate professional membership organization whose mission is to develop, connect and advance women leaders working in intercollegiate sports. More than 5,000 members strong, Women Leaders promotes the growth, leadership and success of women as athletics administrators, conference commissioners, professional staff, coaches and student-athletes. Follow @WomenLeadersCS on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.