Inspiring Leadership through Sport

To know what truly makes a great leader you need to ask one.

Turns out, 74 percent of C-suite business women believe that their athletic endeavors developed their leadership muscle, attributing skills that they learned through sports—communication, problem-solving, confidence and resilience—as critical to driving their achievements in business.

Surprised? We’re not and that’s why we’re committed to our belief that play changes everything.

The Facts

  • Active girls aim higher on and off the field. Active girls are more attentive students, they retain more of what they learn and they do better on standardized tests.
  • The extra confidence, support of a team and work ethic earned while participating in sports positions young women to be more appealing candidates with more opportunities to succeed, earning nearly 10 percent more income than their inactive peers.
  • Girls report increased leadership skills (54%) as one of the top benefits of staying in sports.
  • 94% of C-suite women participated in sports at some point in their life—the majority (52%) played at the collegiate level.

Leadership in Action

Play Like a Girl builds a supportive sisterhood of coaches, teammates and role models who help develop the traits needed to succeed and lead, particularly in male-dominated careers in STEM and sports. We’re honored to share some of the stories of how sport and physical activity are preparing girls today to become leaders tomorrow.

Imisi, age 8

Imisi recently attended the Camp on Ice with the Nashville Predators. When asked about the benefits of Play Like a Girl, Iyanu, Imisi’s brother, states, “Women don’t get as many chances as men and they don’t get the same pay, so this is a chance to make a difference.”

As for Imisi herself, “I learned that you may fall but with practice you will get somewhere.” What a sentiment for hockey and for life!

Alana, age 10

Alana has been a part of multiple Play Like a Girl programs and events–most recently, our ice skating event with the Predators. When asked what she enjoyed most about the panel discussion by women employees in the Preds organization, Alana states, “I liked hearing about their jobs because I didn’t know about them.”

Alana’s mom echoes that sentiment, believing the long-term impact of Play Like a Girl will be that, “It lets her [Alana] see women in powerful roles in the sports industry.”

Jasmine, age 11

Jasmine also attended the panel hosted by the Nashville Predators. Her biggest takeaway was that, “Women can have the chance to do what they want in their careers.” And what does Jasmine want for her future? “To run track and later become a doctor,” she says.

Smarnunt, Jasmine’s mom, doesn’t want her daughter’s participation with Play Like a Girl to end with one event. She wants her to learn even more about STEM as well as have more “exposure to women speaking about their careers in sports.”

Lydia, age 8

Lydia came bursting through the doors at the Ford Ice Center last July, excited about learning to ice skate. Her mom, Melissa, is a big proponent of encouraging her daughter to step outside her comfort zone and try new things so that’s exactly what she did.

Melissa states, “I currently coach youth sports and try to instill confidence and strong work ethic in my players. I see some girls who don’t feel confident or have anxiety. Sports can help them overcome those issues and change their lives.”

As evidenced by these short stories, girls who participate in sports learn a number of skills that can help them fulfill leadership roles in adulthood.

“When given some voice in their own participation, girls practice making timely decisions, recovering from failure, coordinating team members and setting and keeping schedules—just to name a few,” said Dr. Marlene Dixon, professor… Click To Tweet

If you want to help your girl gain transferable leadership skills, find a Sports Club or STEM Camp today! Or, Get Involved in our mission by partnering, fundraising, volunteering or donating.