Women Leaders in College Sports Announces 2021 Award Winners


September 13, 2021

Beth Sigman Somerset
Women Leaders in College Sports
[email protected] 

Kansas City, Mo.— Women Leaders in College Sports announced today its 2021 award recipients. The honors include the Nike Lifetime Achievement, Nike Executive of the Year (formerly known as Administrator of the Year), Jostens Rising Star, Jostens Promising Professional, and Jostens Commitment awards.  
The recipients will be recognized through Women Leaders’ Nike Celebration of Women social media campaign starting today, September 13. They also will be honored during the Nike Celebration of Women session on Sunday, October 10 (5:05-5:40 pm CT) during WOMEN LEADERS X, the organization’s second virtual national convention. Nominated by their peers and selected by the Women Leaders Awards Committee for their service during 2020-2021, the award recipients are:

Nike Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients:

  • Nike Lifetime Achievement Award: Bridget Belgiovine, Former Director of Athletics and Chair of PERA, Wellesley College 
  • Nike Lifetime Achievement Award: Julie Soriero, Former Director of Athletics and Department Head of DAPER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
  • Nike Lifetime Achievement Award: Connee Zotos, Former Director of Athletics, Drew University 

Nike Executive of the Year Award Recipients: 

  • NCAA Division I FBS Nike Executive of the Year: Nina King, Vice President and Director of Athletics, Duke University 
  • NCAA Division I FCS Nike Executive of the Year: Dianthia Ford-Kee, Director of Athletics, Mississippi Valley State University  
  • NCAA Division I Nike Executive of the Year: Jaunelle Hamilton White, Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 
  • NCAA Division II Nike Executive of the Year: Courtney Lovely Evans, Director of Athletics, Palm Beach Atlantic University  
  • NCAA Division III Nike Executive of the Year: Nan Carney-DeBord, Associate Vice President of Athletics and Recreation, Denison University  
  • Conference/Organization Nike Executive of the Year: Louise McCleary, Interim Vice President of Division III, NCAA 
  • NAIA/NJCAA/CC Nike Executive of the Year: Natasha Wilson, Vice President for Student Life & Athletic Director, Central Methodist University  
  • Nell Jackson Nike Executive of the Year: Kiki Baker Barnes, PhD, Director of Athletics and Commissioner, Dillard University/Gulf Coast Athletic Conference 

Jostens Award Recipients:

  • Jostens Rising Star Award: Kelsey L. Parks Smith, Project Coach Coordinator & Student-Athlete Wellness Coordinator, Smith College  
  • Jostens Promising Professional Award: Jessica Ramberg, Director of Digital Media, America East Conference 
  • Jostens Commitment Award: Shelby McKay, Assistant Director of Athletics, Student-Athlete Development, Washington State University 

"It is an honor to recognize and celebrate this group of exemplary women, including emerging leaders, seasoned executives and industry women who dedicated their careers to advancing women in sport,” says Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. "These women represent exceptional leadership and are highly deserving of their awards.”  
Learn more about the Women Leaders’ annual awards here and view past Women Leaders award winners here. A special thanks to our partners, Nike and Jostens


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 athletics. More than 3,800 members strong, Women Leaders promotes the growth, leadership and success of women as athletics administrators, conference commissioners, professional staff, coaches and student-athletes. Read about the recent advancement landscape for women athletic directors in CEO Patti Phillips’ May 2021 USA Today op-ed, and follow Women Leaders on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @WomenLeadersCS.