Testimonials

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2014 NACWAA National Convention Testimonials

Daily convention blog posts from first-time attendee Katie Rose Thornton, Villanova University:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

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"Words cannot begin to describe how thankful I am to be part of such a thriving and prosperous association. Through the generous donations of so many inspiring women, I was able to attend my first NACWAA Convention in 2014. Although I had a brief description to help prepare me for the experience, those words failed to capture the warming embrace I felt upon arrival and throughout the days of the Convention. Although it was my first time meeting many of the people in attendance, I felt like we had known each other for years and found solace in reconnecting with familiar faces. It was such a comforting and inspiring feeling to not only be reunited with friends and colleagues from across the nation, but to walk away with additional supporters, challengers, and mentors who are helping to illuminate a path towards my goals." JP Abercrumbie, University of California, Berkeley

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“The 2014 NACWAA National Convention was an amazing experience. I was able to reconnect with many of the women I met last year and I was surprised by how many people actually remembered me and wanted to see how I was doing. This organization has such a strong support system and it is refreshing to go to an event and see people helping one another, and not just competing against each other. ” Veronica Cardenas, Illinois State University

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“I was ecstatic to be a scholarship beneficiary and first-time attendee; I left Louisville empowered and inspired. The convention offered targeted opportunities to engage with fellow members and to utilize the wealth of industry knowledge. Each session provided a multitude of educational breakouts to accommodate the diverse membership of NACWAA. The organization promises premier leadership and the convention exploited it by celebrating the advancement of women, advocating on national issues, and challenging members to 'lift as you rise'.  I couldn't be happier with my experience and I look forward to the innovative programming in Tampa Bay.”Janine Emmer

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“Attending the 2014 NACWAA Convention was a career-changing experience. The energy, encouragement, and inspiration that I received in such a short time was unparalleled. The sessions were informative and specifically designed to not only enhance our professional development, but our personal development as well.  Gleaning words of wisdom from Joyce Roche, Donna Shalala and a host of women who are industry pioneers, provided me with the pride, confidence and rejuvenation necessary to return to campus and enhance my performance. NACWAA 2014 may have been my first convention but it will certainly not be my last!” Tiffini Grimes, Penn State University

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“The NACWAA convention was a very memorable event. I would recommend every woman in athletic administration or trying to get into athletics attend. The convention felt with renewed energy and passion for my career. I now have the confidence to go after the jobs I want and take the necessary steps to launch a successful career. Thank you NACWAA for making it possible for the younger generation of athletic administration to follow in the footsteps of those who have come before us.” Shamika Kentish, Chowan University

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“Something funny happens when you meet someone who has changed your world, even if they have no idea who you are or why you look up to them. When they smile and shake your hand, you feel like you are exactly where you are meant to be in that moment. I was lucky enough to experience several of those moments while attending the NACWAA National Convention. Every woman I met reminded me that I could do this and it wasn’t foolish to work towards a career in a field that is often uphill battle for women. Being surrounded by 800 of the toughest and bravest women I could imagine filled me with strength to keep making that climb. The NACWAA staff also deserves immense credit for the speakers and sessions they lined up. Each person was so engaging and such a joy to learn from that the three days seemed like minutes. Thank you NACWAA!” Olivia McMillen, University of Louisville

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“As a young female that aspires to become a collegiate athletic administrator, it was truly empowering to be able to be around other women that share my same passion for collegiate athletics and that are thriving within the industry. Hopefully, I am able to cultivate ongoing relationships with those that I had the opportunity to meet during the convention. All of the sessions that I had the pleasure of attending provided invaluable information. The Educational Breakouts were amazing as well and provided a great opportunity that I may not have had otherwise to hear about subjects of interest from giants in the industry.  Lee Woodruff’s session was captivating and moving and I found myself blinking to avoiding having tears fall. In essence, the 2014 NACWAA Convention was simply amazing and I eternally grateful to the scholarship committee for giving me such an amazing opportunity! As a result of my experiences at the NACWAA 2014 Convention, I look forward to attending many more NACWAA Conventions as I become a rockstar within our industry!” TaRonda Randall, University of Alabama

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“When you attend a NACWAA event, you know it is going to be a quality event.  From the morning Nike Training Workouts to the keynote speakers to the evening receptions, you can feel the energy of the attendees and the organizers. I have attended three NACWAA events and each one has left me with a sense of belonging and purpose in the realm of collegiate athletics. Through NACWAA, I have been able to create a network of supporters who genuinely care and are making me accountable for my professional future.  I am acutely aware of the responsibility that we, as women, have in collegiate athletics.  The motto “Lift As You Rise” is real and you can see by the number of women who have risen to athletic director status in the past year that organizations like NACWAA are making waves.  In its 35 year existence, NACWAA has been and will continue to be an organization that is cutting edge!” Christina “Tilly” Sheets, Chatham University

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“Never did I realized the impact the NACWAA Convention would have on my life.  Coming from a small Division III university, I feel my resources are typically limited but after networking with individuals, I feel I have created a network of sisters I can count on to propel me into an athletic administration career. 

From stepping foot into the NCAA Division III Advancement Forum all the way to Access to Experts, the well-executed programming by the NACWAA staff allowed me to fully experience what this convention had to offer.  From Joyce Roche’s inspiring speech on how to not lose sight of opportunities to Tori Murden McClure’s talk on perseverance and how to find inner strength, I cannot tell you how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be in the presence of greatness and all that is good in women’s athletic administration.

As Patti Phillips discussed in her opening address about “lighting the way,” I networked with women whom I thought could light the way for a new professional like myself. Their knowledge, confidence, and overall well-being allowed me to develop conversations and personal relationships which will propel me during the allusive job hunt.  Having the mindset of wanting to find mentors was my goal throughout convention and I achieved it.  I have reached out to those I met at convention and have already discussed the impact they had on my experience.

The city of Louisville was gorgeous and the hospitality could not have been more welcoming!  Between the amazing and wonderful NACWAA staff and the beautiful setting, this was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I look forward to continuing to be a member of such an outstanding organization and discussing the impact it has had on my life.  Thank you for all you do and I look forward to seeing you next year in Tampa!” Rachel Steward, University of Wisconsin, River Falls

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“I expected that the convention would allow me to be intentional in my growth, grow my confidence, and stop networking and start relating. Having the opportunity to attend allowed me to do all of these and more. I attended every session that I could possibly attend and found each of them to be inspiring, informational, and stimulating.  I felt that I was able to actually build genuine friendships and relationships with many women at the convention opposed to networking, which often feels insincere. It was also a great setting for me to be able to practice these skills and come out of my comfort zone. Having the opportunity to relate and listen to so many strong women was truly inspiring. I left the convention having complete confidence that I can be an extremely successful leader in intercollegiate athletics administration. I also left the convention with an affirmation that I am pursuing a career in the industry that I love.” Helen Theisen, University of North Georgia