Women Leaders in College Sports and NCAA Partner for the 5th Annual President/Search Firm Roundtable Event Virtually

A powerful event positioning senior-level women in front of hiring influencers in collegiate athletics


February 24, 2021

Meg Dowd
Women Leaders in College Sports
[email protected] 

Kansas City, Mo.— Women Leaders in College Sports (Women Leaders) and the NCAA hosted its 5th Annual President/Search Firm Roundtable Event on February 23, 2021  in a virtual format. 
The event included 70 talented and diverse executive women from all three NCAA divisions, 36% of which were women of color. The participants are members of Women Leaders in College Sports with executive profiles in Women Leaders’ Career Connect platform, and were identified for the program based on their level and years of experience in the industry, and an expressed desire to step into an athletic and commissioner role within the next one to three years. 

The roundtable event positioned senior-level women in front of a diverse and influential group of industry experts and leaders who are deeply connected to collegiate athletics, and have a strong understanding of the hiring landscape and process.  

Among the experts engaged were 20 university presidents and chancellors and 38 industry experts inclusive of search firm representatives, industry consultants, as well as sitting athletic directors and commissioners.  

“The purpose of this event is to provide a platform for women to connect with hiring influencers, and to gain access to information to help them prepare, position themselves, and ultimately, win executive-level jobs” said Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. “It also connects hirers and influencers with talented and ready female leaders. The time to move the needle on more diverse and inclusive hires is now.”

The President/Search Firm Roundtable event comprised of three components:

  1. A panel featuring recent Athletic Director hires who shared their personal perspective and experience navigating the search process 
  2. Small group roundtable discussions led by the university presidents and chancellors 
  3. One-on-one coaching sessions with industry experts
Each participant met with three presidents and four industry experts throughout the virtual event and had the opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the search process and hiring trends. Influencers involved were asked to inform and advise women candidates on navigating the search process.
“This event serves as a platform for connection between emerging women executives and hiring influencers in the industry” said, Dr. Derrick Gragg, Senior Vice President of Inclusion, Education & Community at the NCAA. “We are thrilled to align with Women Leaders on this powerful event that supports the advancement of women in collegiate athletics.” 

Over the past five years, Women Leaders and the NCAA have partnered on the President/Search Firm Roundtable event and hosted it in-person at the Women Leaders in College Sports National Convention. The annual event was created in support of The NCAA Presidential Pledge  and reflects the NCAA and Women Leaders in College Sports joint commitment to promoting diversity and gender equity in intercollegiate athletics. The program has engaged over 200 women executives from across all three NCAA divisions. This year’s virtual format has allowed the program to accept a record high number of women and engage four times as many presidents, chancellors and industry experts.

The 2021 President/Search Firm Roundtable Participants Included:
  • Sarah Adams, Eastern Washington University 
  • Tiffany Alford, NCAA 
  • Cat Alves, John Jay College of Criminal Justice 
  • Jacquelyn Antoine, SUNY Oswego 
  • Nikki Ayers, Claremont Mudd Scripps Athletics  
  • Sarah Baumgartner, Rutgers University 
  • Leah Beasley, Mississippi State University 
  • Corey Berg, NCAA 
  • Jenny Bramer, San Diego State University
  • Kristen Brown, Texas A&M University 
  • Lauren Cevis, Jacksonville University  
  • Jessica Cherry, Marymount University 
  • Leslie Claybrook, Southeastern Conference 
  • Marie Curran-Headley, SUNY Cobleskill 
  • Stephanie Dollar, University of Massachusetts Boston 
  • Jasmine Ellis, Central State University 
  • Betsy Feutz, Lindenwood University 
  • Kirsten Ford, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 
  • Amy Foster, Seattle Pacific University 
  • Megan Franklin, Drake University 
  • Katie Fraumann, University of Michigan 
  • Dena Freeman-Patton, University of New Orleans 
  • Kristin Gillette, MidAmerica Nazarene University  
  • Tiffini Grimes, The University of Alabama 
  • Amy Heard, Texas Tech University 
  • Monique Holland, Auburn University 
  • Angie Jabir, Lynn University 
  • China Jude, University of Wyoming 
  • D'Ann Keller, University at Buffalo 
  • Maisha Kelly, Bucknell University 
  • Allie Kolezynski, Mountain East Conference 

The 2021 President/Search Firm Roundtable Presidents and Chancellors Included:
Division I
  • Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, President, Norfolk State University  
  • F. King Alexander, Ph.D., President, Oregon State University    
  • Rev.  Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco  
  • Dr. Chris Howard, President, Robert Morris University  
  • Renu  Khator, Chancellor, University of Houston System and President, University of Houston  
  • Tom  LeBlanc, President, The George Washington University  
  • Linda  A . Livingstone, Ph.D., President, Baylor University  
  • Quinton  T.  Ross, Jr.,  Ed.D., President, Alabama State University   
  • Kent Syverud, Chancellor  and President, Syracuse University  
  • Dr. Marlene Tromp, President, Boise State University

The 2021 President/Search Firm Roundtable Industry Experts Included:

  • Mike Alden, Principal/Retired Director of Athletics, MRJ Advisors LLC/University of Missouri 
  • Kevin Anderson, Vice President, CarrSports Consulting 
  • Sandy Barbour, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Penn State University 
  • Keri Becker, Director of Athletics, Grand Valley State University 
  • Bridget Belgiovine, Associate/Retired Director of Athletics, 3-Fold Group/Wellesley College 
  • Jill Bodensteiner, Director of Athletics, Saint Joseph’s University (panelist) 
  • Kyle Bowlsby, Founder & Principal, Bowlsby Sports Advisors 
  • Candace Campbell Jackson, Senior Vice President, Chief of Staff to the Chancellor, Syracuse University 
  • Chad Chatlos, Managing Director of Athletics Administration & Coaching, TurnkeyZRG 
  • Jen Cohen, Director of Athletics, University of Washington 
  • Jeff Compher, Principal and Practice Leader – Intercollegiate Athletics, Witt/Kieffer 
  • Brian Curtis, President, Paradigm Four 
  • Tim Duncan, Vice President of Athletics & Recreation, University of New Orleans 
  • Dr. Derrick Gragg, Senior Vice President of Inclusion, Education and Community Engagement, NCAA 
  • Sandy Hatfield Clubb, President, The PICTOR Group 
  • Jeff Hathaway, Managing Partner, CarrSports Consulting 
  • Grant Higgison, Principal, Parker Executive Search 
  • Portia Hoeg, Executive Director, Centennial Conference 
  • Lesley Irvine, Vice President & Director of Athletics, Colorado College (panelist) 
  • DeLaina Jordan, Associate, Parker Executive Search
  • Cheryl Levick, CEO, Personalized Executive Training
  • Shana Levine, Senior Associate, 3-Fold Group 
  • Karen Langston, Cal State Bakersfield 
  • Kathryn Kroupa, The Citadel
  • Marcelline (Marcy) Lanoue, University of San Diego 
  • Mónica Lebrón, University of Tennessee 
  • Tiffany McCampbell, Colorado School of Mines  
  • Meghan McDonogh, The Catholic University of America 
  • Jeanette McKillop, Franklin Pierce University 
  • Maggie McKinley, University of Cincinnati 
  • Kaitlyn McKittrick, Lafayette College 
  • Monique McLean, Trinity Washington University 
  • Suzette McQueen, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association 
  • Betsy Mitchell, California Institute of Technology 
  • Gina Nicoletti-Bellinger, Centre College 
  • Janet Oberle, Saint Louis University 
  • Terlynn Olds, University of Alaska Fairbanks 
  • Courtnie Prather, University of California, Santa Cruz 
  • Andrea Preston, Goucher College 
  • Alicia Queally, Stetson University 
  • Nona Richardson, University of Utah 
  • Erienne Roberts, Ithaca College 
  • Dawn Rogers, Baylor University 
  • Christina Roybal, University of Northern Iowa
  • Chesney Sallee, NAIA 
  • Colleen Sorem, University of Maryland 
  • Taunita Stephenson, The Pingry School 
  • Marie Stroman, Middle Atlantic Conference 
  • Katie Tarr, Bryn Mawr College 
  • Tricia Turley Brandenburg, Towson University 
  • Tonia Walker, Bluefield College 
  • Jaunelle White, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis 
  • Keli Zinn, West Virginia University 

Division II
  • Karrie G. Dixon, Ed.D., Chancellor, Elizabeth City State University   
  • Dr. Deborah L. Ford, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Parkside  
  • Dr. Sandra J. Jordan, Chancellor, University of South Carolina Aiken  
  • Philomena  V.  Mantella, President, Grand Valley State University  
  • Elwood L. Robinson, Ph.D., Chancellor, Winston-Salem State University   

Division III

  • Dr. Mary-Beth  A. Cooper, President, Springfield College  
  • Sue Henderson, Ph.D., President, New Jersey City University  
  • Fayneese  Miller, Ph.D., President, Hamline University    
  • Bill Ruud, President and Professor of Management, Marietta College  
  • Dennis  J. Shields, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

  • Heather Lyke, Director of Athletics, University of Pittsburgh 
  • Jacqie McWilliams, Commissioner, CIAA 
  • Daniel Parker, Vice President & Managing Director - Sports, Parker Executive Search 
  • Kurt Patberg, Senior Vice President, Athletics Staffing and Consultants 
  • Dell Robinson, Athletic Practice Leader- Senior Consultant, Spelman Johnson 
  • Greg Sankey, Commissioner, Southeastern Conference 
  • Jeff Schemmel, Esq, President, College Sports Solutions 
  • Eugene Smith, Senior Vice President & Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletic Director, The Ohio State University 
  • Julie Soriero, Retired Athletic Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
  • Glenn Sugiyama, Managing Partner and Global Sports Practice Leader, DHR International 
  • Jane Teixeira, Director of Athletics, Humboldt State University (panelist) 
  • Etienne Thomas, Director of Athletics, Winston-Salem State University 
  • Todd Turner, President & Founder, Collegiate Sports Associates 
  • Drew Turner, Vice President, Business Development and Finance, Collegiate Sports Associates 
  • Kevin Warren, Commissioner, Big Ten Conference 
  • Andrea Williams, Chief Operating Officer, College Football Playoff 
  • Carla Williams, Director of Athletics, University of Virginia (panelist) 
  • Jill Willson, President, Double L Consulting 
  • Natalie Winkelfoos, Associate Vice President for Athletics Advancement and Delta Lodge Director of Athletics & Physical Education, Oberlin College 
  • Katy Young Staudt, Vice President, TurnkeyZRG 
  • Jackie Zavitz, Partner-in-Charge, Philadelphia, Social Impact, Board & CEO Practices, Heidrick & Struggles 

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 3,500 members strong, Women Leaders promotes the growth, leadership, and success of women as athletics administrators, conference commissioners, professional staff, coaches, and student-athletes. Follow Women Leaders on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook @WomenLeadersCS.