espnW’s Women + Sports Summit Inspired Attendees at The Resort at Pelican Hill
Written By: Jordan Ligons espnW Women + Sports Summit
Photography Provided By: ESPN Images espnW Women + Sports Summit
Some fearless women were among us recently and, in case you missed it, you’re in need of a recap. espnW’s 8th annual Women + Sports Summit in October brought together some of the biggest names in sports, business and entertainment to discuss advancing women and girls in sports. The event was made up of panels, keynotes, office hour sessions and sports activities, and addressed topics like how sports are changing social norms for women and girls, breaking barriers in women’s sports and marketing to the female sports fan. Oh, and did we mention Sheryl Crow performed?
In the sold out three-day event at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, women came together to be reminded exactly how cool we are. From MC Sage Steele to panel speakers from Wells Fargo, Uber and WWE to professional athletes across the board, wisdom was dropped and #girlboss inspo was consumed. Here are four women that you need to know about:
Laura Gentile, Founder of espnW
The Senior Vice President and founder of ESPN’s women-focused brand, Gentile, expressed how far women in sports have come since starting espnW eight years ago. She then listed the “firsts” that women have achieved since espnW’s inception: the first woman in the booth for Sunday night baseball, calling a Monday night football game, as an NBA game analyst, Editor-in-Chief for a national sports magazine, and the list goes on.
Basically, we’ve been kicking butt and we’re not slowing down anytime soon, she says. “I still see a lot more progress,” Gentile says about the next eight years, “where women are even more the decision makers in sports and have an even greater influence.” In the meantime, espnW.com will continue to share the stories of women in sports on their website and highlight them in summits to come.
Bozoma Saint John, Chief Brand Officer of Uber
From Spike Lee’s Ad Agency to Pepsi to Ashley Stewart back to Pepsi to Beats by Dre to Apple and now at Uber, Saint John’s path was anything but ordinary. “Yes, I’m competitive with myself and everyone else,” she said. “And I’m petty, too.” The Pelican Hill lawn roared with laughter. She has been in her new role for about four months at Uber and is moving full steam ahead. “First of all, let’s count how many African American women are in the C-suite in Silicon Valley. Do you know any?” she asks the crowd. “So when an opportunity comes, I must take it. I do have something to prove and I have to hold the door open!” She continues to say that the “door” that she’s holding open is heavy. “It’s heavy because of the burden; it’s heavy because of the expectations, and because you can’t let the door slip. And if you do, it will shut tight and then you’ll be outside,” she said motioning to Cari Champion, interviewer and ESPN Analyst. Saint John is a force to be reckoned with. See the full interview here.
Jeanie Buss, CEO, Co-Owner, President and Governor of the Los Angeles Lakers
Buss was 18 years old attending USC when her father, Jerry Buss, purchased the Lakers and LA Kings sports teams. She got her start as the LA Springs tennis promoter and later took charge of the roller hockey team that The Forum had. Buss has recently fired her brother, Jim Buss, from the Lakers organization and hired Erving “Magic” Johnson as Director of Operations for the betterment of her organization. She channeled her “Mamba Mentality”, made the tough decision and did what she felt was necessary, she said. In her tell-all book “Laker Girl”, Buss mentioned that her late father said that her and Magic would run the team someday and he was right. Now, the Lakers drafted the second overall pick in Lonzo Ball for the 2017-2018 season in hopes of bringing the Showtime back to LA. Watch the full interview here!
Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer of WWE
Growing up, McMahon didn’t see gender as a barrier with her mom being the former CEO of WWE. The McMahon family has been leading WWE for four generations. “I believe that all women are forces of nature,” she said on stage with ESPN’s Hannah Storm. “I believe in men, too, but I believe in women.” WWE is the fifth highest streaming app in the world and the second highest YouTube channel watched globally. McMahon has worked her way up from the writing team to the digital team to transforming the WWE Divas from being perceived as simply models to now being recognized as some of the top athletes in the world. “Our mission is to put smiles on people’s faces. That’s it,” she said. In her conversation with Storm, she got emotional while discussing the balancing act of being a mom to three kids versus being a traveling business woman. “My mom always told me it’s never going to be 50/50. It’s going to be 80/20 and 70/30 at times,” McMahon said. “And it is hard. Growth is painful, but it’s worth it at the end of the day.”
Other speakers during the week included Veteran and Paralympian Kirstie Ennis, first female Golden Glove Winner and Professional Softball Player A.J. Andrews, Olympic Champion and WNBA Seattle Storm Player Sue Bird, first female coach in the NFL Dr. Jenn Welter, Champion Show Jumper Jessica Springsteen, the sisters of the San Diego Splash and so much more. See you next year, espnW!
The Resort at Pelican Hill
22701 S Pelican Hill Rd
Newport Coast, CA 92657
These 4 Women Spoke at espnW’s Annual Summit and You Can’t Miss Their Advice
Jordan is a storyteller with a creative passion for things LOCALE. She loves dogs, macaroni and cheese and buying shoes. This former student-athlete could always be found watching ESPN or actively engaged in a Kobe-verse-LeBron debate, with Kobe winning every time.