Durham summit aims to help women explore opportunities in sports

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Thursday, April 11, 2024
Durham summit aims to help women explore opportunities in sports
More than 150 people attended the Emerging Women in Sports Leadership Summit to hear from leaders such as Duke athletics director Nina King.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- For more than five hours, up-and-coming and professional women in sports had the chance to learn from and connect at the Durham Convention Center where the Emerging Women in Sports Leadership Summit took place for a second year on Thursday.

"We are doing what we can do in Durham for women and for women who want to work in sports," Durham Sports Commision's Kaila'Shea Menendez said.

More than 150 people attended to hear from leaders such as Nina King, who's the vice president and director of athletics at Duke University, talk about the ever-competitive industry, especially in North Carolina.

"There's so many sports and sports adjacent companies, organizations in North Carolina," King said. "In college athletics, we've got four universities ... then if you look at professional sports and NC Courage and youth sports all over our state, it really is a hotbed for sports."

From representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities such as North Carolina Central women's softball, which just recently won a championship, to exploring different opportunities within sports, the summit is meant for "strong women to lift each other up," according to Menendez.

"There are some who are looking for a pivot and looking for a change within the sports industry and how to do that," Menendez said. "We hope that they walk away with those keys and insights."

NCCU's Jai'lyn Edwards, who attended for the first time, said it's great to see women empowerment, especially as a softball player.

"Sometimes we don't always get the representation we do deserve in this level of sport and sometimes it's underfunded," Edwards said.

There's a lot of momentum right now with what's going on with women in sports and women in leadership, in part because of the growing interest in the women's NCAA tournament.

"I think especially with the recent run, especially with NC State women's basketball, I think everyone is just kind of leaning on each other and just giving each other props," Edwards said.

The "one-of-a-kind" opportunity included professional headshots and a happy hour until 6:30 p.m.

"Just watching the growth and the investment and the enthusiasm around women's sports all around the country, across all genders, being interested and inspired by female athletes competing, it's really great," King said.