Women Changing the Game

Recently, Major League Girls founder, Anya Alvarez, went to California and met with several women in the sports industry. She recounts her experiences and how it reinforced her belief that #TheFutureofSportsisGirls

When I planned my trip to California, I did not anticipate how inspired I would feel after leaving the Golden State. Over the course of four days, I met with various women in the sports industry, all inkling to make a change with women in sports. I also found myself discussing the future of sports with the CEO of a large media sports company, who sees the value of investing in women and girls’ sports coverage, and has positioned himself as a male ally. 

So without further ado, here’s a brief recap of the women who left me feeling pumped:

Amanda McGrew, a former University of Rhode Island women’s basketball player. Amanda took her passion for sports and people, and created the Playoff Dating App, a dating app for former and current college and professional athletes. Her hope is to create love connections through sports, giving athletes the opportunity to connect with someone who understands the sacrifice and discipline required to remain at the top of his or her game. And there’s a possibility she’ll be opening the app up to the recreational athletes. Till then, Playoff will remain a safe haven for competitive athletes who can compete for each other’s hearts (cheesy pun intended).

Founder of Playoff Dating App, Amanda McGrew

Founder of Playoff Dating App, Amanda McGrew

Christine Simmons, President and COO of the L.A. Sparks. I’ve already had the pleasure of speaking with Christine on the phone, but meeting her in person was a special treat. Serving in her fourth year with WNBA and Sparks, Christine is already leaving a mark and actively aiming to inspire girls and women to pursue leadership roles in the world of sports. Rocking her 2016 WNBA Championship ring on her right hand, sporting sky high Christian Louboutins, and touting red lipstick, it’s hard not to notice Christine. Beyond that though, she has her sights set on changing the way people perceive women’s basketball. And she’s doing that by actively engaging the Sparks into the Los Angeles community through charity work, their Spark STEM program for girls, and speaking on various panels to talk about the power of sports and the importance of getting more women into the business side sports. You could say that Christine is slam-dunking it (cheesy pun intended again).

 Christine Simmons, President and COO of the L.A. Sparks 

 Christine Simmons, President and COO of the L.A. Sparks 

Patty Hubbard and Stephanie Martin, co-founders of BFWD, a company aimed at helping athletes define and manage their personal brands. Their goal is to empower athletes to create a social media presence that they can capitalize on, whether its opportunities for speaking engagements, sponsorship deals, and business opportunities, all without the help of an agent. With clients such a soccer legend Brandi Chastain, WNBA and Olympic athletes, and the Major League Soccer organization, Patty and Stephanie bring in their years of experience of working in sports and the marketing world to help athletes see their full potential off the field.

Stephanie Smith and Patty Hubbard, with client and MLS player, Amobi Okugo

Stephanie Smith and Patty Hubbard, with client and MLS player, Amobi Okugo

Cynthia Calvillo, a top 10 UFC fighter. I had the pleasure of filming a segment with Cynthia, watching her train and learn more about her journey to being one of the best fighters in the UFC. Filled with determination and grit, Cynthia overcame breaking the same arm three times, knowing her destiny was to fight on MMA’s biggest stage. Named UFC’S Newcomer of the Year in 2017, Cynthia hopes to continue to finding success in the ring. Beyond that though, she hopes to inspire young girls to follow their dreams and to never give up on themselves, no matter the obstacles they may face.

UFC fighter, Cynthia Calvillo 

UFC fighter, Cynthia Calvillo 

Each of these encounters reinforced the belief that I’ve held for so long that future of sports is in good hands. The more women we have competing, making decisions, creating new products, and empowering people through sports, the more unique and interesting sports will become.

With that in mind, #TheFutureofSportsisGirls and these women are helping make sure of that.

 

Anya Alvarez