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First-Time Partnership Between Three Organizations to Offer Skill Building and Professional Networking Focused on Sports and Business Careers 


Durham, NC (January 30, 2023) – The Durham Sports Commission in partnership with Women Leaders in College Sports, along with presenting sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, are proud to announce the first Emerging Women in Sports Leadership Summit will be held on Wednesday, April 19 at 1 p.m. at the Durham Convention Center. Registration for the event is now open and more information can be found at 

“Leadership is not limited by gender, but strengthened by diversity,” said Kaila’Shea Menendez, Deputy Director of the Durham Sports Commission. “This summit is a powerful opportunity for women to come together, connect, and learn from each other as we work towards becoming more effective leaders. We are thrilled to bring together these three amazing organizations to elevate the women leaders of today and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.” 

The Emerging Women in Sports Leadership Summit will be an unparalleled event that brings together women who are passionate about sports and business. The summit is geared towards promoting the growth and development of women in the sports industry and beyond by providing a platform for student-athletes, graduate assistants, interns, volunteers, and young professionals to enhance their skills and expand their professional network.  

“By supporting women, we celebrate our shared commitment to provide inclusive opportunities that empower our next generation of leaders,” said Cheryl Parquet, Director of Community Engagement and Marketing Activation for Blue Cross NC. “We look forward to working with these future leaders and building healthier communities for all North Carolinians.” 

The summit is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for emerging women leaders in the Durham community and surrounding Triangle region to connect with industry leaders, gain valuable insights and career tools, and build lasting relationships. It will be a day packed with speakers delivering real-world expertise and guidance along with opportunities for professional networking and skill building. There will also be an on-site photographer offering professional headshots to attendees. The speaker lineup will be announced in early March.  

“We are thrilled to be a part of this local event that empowers women to reach their full potential and pursue a career in sports,” said Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. “The Durham Sports Commission and Blue Cross NC are actively cultivating the pipeline of women working in sports on a local level and we hope it inspires other organizations to do the same.”  

For all summit participants, Women Leaders in College Sports is providing a one-year membership to access leadership and career resources and connect with a powerful network of women working in sports to support them on their career journey. For those wishing to attend and in need of financial assistance, a total of 20 summit scholarships will be made available by the participating organizations. More information about scholarship opportunities can be found on the event’s website. 

“I am delighted about the opportunity for the Durham Sports Commission to partner with Women Leaders in College Sports, an organization that contributed greatly to my career in college athletics,” said Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree, former Athletic Director at North Carolina Central University and current chair of the Durham Sports Commission Board of Directors. “This is an amazing opportunity for women at various stages of their careers to connect and learn from experienced leaders in the sports industry.” 

About Durham Sports Commission  

The Durham Sports Commission (DSC) is a collaboration of the City of Durham, the County of Durham, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Discover Durham. The DSC was established in 2016 as a 501(c)(3) with a mission to create economic and social impact by leading the community’s efforts to attract, support, and promote youth, amateur, collegiate, and professional sporting and recreational events and is operated by Discover Durham. The DSC provides leadership for sports-based initiatives and creates positive economic impact and quality of life in Durham and the surrounding region. Be sure to follow the DSC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with all sports-related news in Durham, NC, and other announcements.  

About Women Leaders in College Sports 

Founded in 1979, Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) is the only nationally recognized professional membership organization whose mission is to develop, connect and advance women leaders working in college sports and beyond. Nearly 5,000 members strong, Women Leaders provides career and leadership training, access to a powerful network, and the resources to advance women at every stage of their careers. Women Leaders is reshaping the leadership landscape by elevating the women leaders of today and cultivating the women leaders of tomorrow. Follow Women Leaders on Twitter, Instagram, & TikTok @WomenLeadersCS.