With a closer eye on diversity in the workplace now more than ever – I often find myself reflecting on what it’s like being a woman in the sports industry and the countless people I’ve cultivated relationships with from all over the world, and their experiences in the industry.
To be honest, I consider myself lucky and fortunate…I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of four Super Bowls, two New York City Marathons, three major PGA tournaments, and work with countless brands, properties, and live sporting events. Yet I know there are women all over the world eager for their shot in the sports world and to ultimately make a difference.
Something as simple as respect – which takes years to build and seconds to dissolve – for women in sports, there’s often an added layer of having to prove why you should be respected and have a seat at the table.
We’ve come a long way with heroes like Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe being idolized by generations of women (and men) around the world for their athleticism, grit on and off the field, and their voices. Yet we still hear unfathomable stories about how women are treated across the board.
Something as simple as respect – which takes years to build and seconds to dissolve – for women in sports, there’s often an added layer of having to prove why you should be respected and have a seat at the table. I’ve experienced having to prove why I belong at the table, many times – and every time I do, I know it’s not the last time it’ll happen. Time and time again, I’ve read about how a more masculine name in an e-mail or on a resume is more respected, so my question is what needs to be done to shift mindsets, both personally and professionally? Here’s some food for thought:
Create a culture that empowers EVERYONE to be heard, no matter the issue
Workplace culture is of the utmost importance today – from Gen Z to baby boomers and everyone in-between, there are now five different generations in today’s workplace, each with a different set of values, way of thinking, and skill-sets. Creating a culture that celebrates and empowers everyone, whether it’s the baby boomer that might retire soon or the eager Gen Z at her first job hungry to take on the world and make a difference, give every employee a voice and chance to speak up.
*If you’re looking for a good book to read about generational change in the workplace – I highly suggest “The Remix” by Lindsey Pollak
Celebrate each other year-round
While there are certain moments every year where we celebrate specific people, cultures, etc. – we should champion and celebrate each other on and off the court every day. Whether it’s giving women more leadership opportunities (and preparing them properly for it), celebrating wins – no matter the size, and reminding yourself (and others) the value you bring to an organization are things that can go a long way.
Surround yourself with a diverse support system
Finding a support system in and around the sports industry is oftentimes immeasurable, and it’s important to align with women who understand what working in the industry is like. What’s even better is finding people that support you and who are different from you. Different schools of thought and differences of opinion from a diverse group of people will only help you grow and become better personally and professionally. Your support system can be small, medium or big, depending on preference.
While we’ve come a long way, there is still SO much left to be done until women can truly be considered on the same level as men across the sports world. The more we celebrate each other every day, equally, the more access we have to each other and the more respect we provide to each other…the more we’ll see change in our industry.
Tamarah Strauss is a Vice President in the Sports group at DKC and has vast experience in executing public relations campaigns for clients in and around the sports space. At DKC, she leads global media relations and strategic communications efforts, working with clients and journalists all over the world. Throughout her career Tamarah has spearheaded and managed several press initiatives and launches for clients including: Red Bull, Delta Air Lines, Microsoft Surface, Golden State Warriors/Chase Center, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Gen.G, among others. She's also a mentor in theClubhouse and you can set up a call with her by going here.