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Tackling sports leadership under crisis

  • Ella Neiles
  • |
  • Feb 8, 2021
Tackling sports leadership under crisis

Guest speakers and Ivey faculty at the Ivey Sports Leadership Conference

Ella Neiles is an HBA2 student and a Co-Chair of the Ivey Sports Leadership Conference 2021, presented by the Chayka Family (John and Kathryn Chayka, both HBA ’14) and Golf Canada. She writes about the two kickoff keynote panels of the Ivey Sports Leadership Conference, which ran January 29-30. The goal of the conference is to bring together students and executives interested in furthering the growth of the sports management industry for an intensive leadership development program, case competition, and networking.

The third annual Ivey Sports Leadership Conference, which is developed entirely by Western University students, took place virtually for the first time. After two years of successful in-person events, this year’s conference team worked hard to continue the excitement and engagement, while delivering the conference in a virtual setting. The conference theme, Leadership Through Crisis, highlighted the challenges industry leaders have had to face while navigating uncertainty and crisis in 2020.

The conference featured two kickoff keynote panels. One was titled Sportsnet’s Top of [HER] Game with Tara Slone, which was presented by the Chayka Family. It featured Tara Slone, Co-host of Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sportsnet, and Justine Siegal, an American baseball coach and founder of the non-profit organization, Baseball For All. The other panel was From the Studio: A Conversation on Diversity in Hockey. It featured Christine Simpson, a rinkside and features reporter with Sportsnet, and Harnarayan Singh, a sports announcer on Sportsnet and bestselling author of One Game at a Time: My Journey from Small-Town Alberta to Hockey's Biggest Stage.

Sportsnet’s Top Of [HER] Game with Tara Slone

During this panel, Slone interviewed Siegel, who was the first woman to coach in Major League Baseball. Slone asked Siegel if the sports industry has met a tipping point in regards to women securing leadership positions. Siegel confirmed we are at a tipping point, and continuing to see more women leaders within sports.

“It has been a long road, and a lot of work, but I believe our culture shift is here,” she said.  

The conversation also tackled the issue of girls being excluded from baseball at a young age. Siegel highlighted the importance of inclusion to build girls’ confidence and inspire them to lead in baseball later on. She also discussed how Baseball For All is working to change this narrative and create greater gender equity within the sport.

From the Studio: A Conversation on Diversity in Hockey

During this keynote, listeners gained insight into the career paths and lessons learned from the Sportsnet celebrities. In particular, Singh discussed how he overcame adversity to become the television personality he is today.

For more information on the Ivey Sports Leadership Conference, visit the website, or connect on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.