National Convention History

November 17, 1980: Council of Collegiate Women's Athletics Administrators hosts first annual meeting. It will evolve over the years to be the annual National Convention

1989: Annual meeting evolves into the Fall Forum. First fundraising auction is conducted.

1990: Launched awards to be given out at Fall Forum.

1991: CCWAA rebrands to NACWAA 

1994: NCAA Executive Director, Ced Dempsey, spoke at the Fall Forum for the first time.

1998: Fall Forum hit all-time attendance record with 258 attendees.

1999: Launched Foundation Fund at the Fall Forum, raising $25,873. 

2000: Launched the Nell Jackson Award

2003: Fall Forum grants were made available for Division II and Division III SWA's. 

2004: Fall forum attendance reached an all-time high with 480 attendees; $53,000 was raised at the Fall Forum Awesome Auction

2005: Fall Forum was renamed National Convention

2008: National Convention dates were changed from Saturday-Tuesday to Sunday-Wednesday.

2012: All-time high attendance record was broken with 651 members attending National Convention.

2015: Launched the Executive Leadership Track and President/Search Firm Round Table at National Convention.

2017: Registration for National Convention reaches all-time high: 835 attendees.

2019: Women Leaders in College Sports celebrated its 40th Anniversary all year long by honoring its past presidents and all members and the role they played throughout 40 years as a Force for Change.

2022: Returned to in-person Convention with record-breaking attendance of 1,126. Celebrated the 50 year anniversary of Title IX by doing a brand takeover. Phoenix Rising  was the theme. 

2023: The first Women Leaders in Sports Convention as we evolved our brand. All-time attendance record / sold-out event, and the first-ever second line parade down the streets of New Orleans!


Women Leaders X

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary to find an alternative to hosting an in-person National Convention. Women Leaders developed an innovative and dynamic two-day virtual event called Women Leaders X. In 2020 and 2021, Women Leaders was able to stream inspirational and timely content to over 5,000 people. World-renowned speakers included Brené Brown, Robyn Roberts, Muffet McGraw, Carla Harris, President Mark Emmert, Amy Morin and Erica Dhawan. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to connect with one another in intimate breakout sessions designed to create the deep connections that have been missing in the time of isolation. 

The two main objectives for this event was to provide CONNECTION and INSPIRATION for members during such an uncertain time. 


2020's WOMEN LEADERS X transformed everything our members love about convention – the energy, connectivity, growth and inspiration – into one-of-a-kind virtual leadership experience with FREE access to our members. Inspiring keynotes Robin Roberts, Carla Harris, Muffet McGraw and Brené Brown headlined the event along with powerful relevant industry panels. WOMEN LEADERS X was the energy boost we all needed and reminded us that we truly are STRONGER TOGETHER. Check out the recap!


2,500 women (and men!) participated in 2021's WOMEN LEADERS X, our second virtual convention. The investment and engagement of our members made it an outstanding success and proved that our connection with and support of each other has no physical bounds. The first-ever Women Leaders Blue Table Talk, keynotes from Amy Morin and Erica Dhawan, and a Leadership Masterclass highlighted the two-day event. It served as a reminder that we are RISING STRONGER TOGETHER! Check out the recap!