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Women Leading in Sports: A Panel Discussion

Megan Galane
May 10, 2024
Women Leading in Sports: A Panel Discussion

In a recent panel discussion titled “Women Leading in Sports”, four accomplished women leaders shared their experiences, insights, and advice. The panelists included Johari, Vice President and Executive Director of the Tennessee Titans Foundation; Beth, Commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference; Michelle, President of the Nashville Predators; and Shannon, SVP and CFO of the Tennessee Titans.

Authentic Leadership

The panelists emphasized the importance of being an authentic leader, especially when working with a diverse range of constituents. They agreed that authenticity involves caring, honesty, and being true to oneself. They also highlighted the importance of credibility and trust in leadership, particularly in times of crisis.

Beth stated, “You can’t fake it till you make it on this one. It has to be absolutely real. And so it’s about caring. It’s about being the true self.” She also stressed the importance of being an authentic leader that has credibility and trust, especially in the current state of crisis in intercollegiate athletics.

Overcoming Gender Bias

The panelists shared their experiences with gender bias and how they have navigated it in their careers. They discussed the importance of representation and retention of women at all levels of leadership in an organization. They also highlighted the importance of allowing people to show up as their authentic selves and not feeling like they have to fit into a certain mold.

Johari shared her journey to the Titans, which involved a transition rather than a move up within the organization. She emphasized the importance of speaking up about what you want and sharing your aspirations with others. She also highlighted the value of having a supportive network of people who can provide honest feedback and guidance.

Supporting Other Women

The panelists also discussed the role of women in supporting other women, either in their organization or in their community. They emphasized the importance of showing that they are human and that it’s okay not to feel like their best self every single day. They also highlighted the importance of helping others become what they want to become.

Shannon shared, “I think finding joy and purpose in what you do… I’m there to support them, I’m there to lead them, I’m there to help them find their purpose, I’m there to help encourage them.”


When asked what thriving means to them, the panelists emphasized the importance of acknowledging one’s accomplishments and progress, rather than just focusing on the destination. They also highlighted the importance of taking a moment to look back and see how far one has come.

Johari shared, “Thriving means taking a moment to look back and see how far I’ve come and to pat myself on the back to say, girl, you’re doing it, you’re brave and spoke into existence. You’re doing it.”

This panel discussion underscored the importance of authenticity, representation, retention, and support in leadership and career development. The insights shared by these women leaders in sports could be valuable for anyone aspiring to leadership roles, regardless of their field. They also highlighted the power of women supporting other women in their careers and personal growth.

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