National Office & Staff

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National Office Mailing Address
2024 Main Street, #1W
Kansas City, MO 64108

We are here for you, and we proudly and passionately give 100 percent to fulfill the NACWAA mission of empowering, developing, and advancing the success of you, our valued member. Each NACWAA staff member is deeply committed to helping you achieve your personal and professional aspirations.

Patti Phillips /// Chief Executive Officer
Patti Phillips is known for her authenticity, charismatic leadership, and her tireless commitment to women’s advancement and leadership development. She believes there are no limits on what individuals can achieve, and she personally lives it. Part of her job, and her passion, is to coach women to Pursue Their Potential and their dreams. Patti is also a well-known keynote speaker on topics such as leadership, teamwork, culture, and potential. She gave a TEDx Talk in 2014 on the topic of potential.

Patti has spent her entire career working in the fields of women’s sports and leadership. She has served as the CEO of NACWAA since 2010. In her short time at the helm of NACWAA, the association has been rejuvenated with a new brand and renewed focus on advancing and empowering women. Membership numbers have more than doubled in four years, and levels of membership engagement, and programming are at an all-time high.

Under Patti’s direction, NACWAA established the “Advancement Initiative” that provides a road map, resources, and coaching for women wanting to advance into positions of leadership, while creating networks and relationships with search firms, university presidents/chancellors, and others involved in the hiring process. As a result, the numbers of women advancing into athletic director and commissioner positions has risen steadily in the last six years. With Patti at the helm, NACWAA has established itself as an industry influencer, and the premier leadership association for women in athletics.  

Prior to assuming this position, Patti served for 11 years as the executive director of the Women’s Intersport Network based in Kansas City. WIN for KC, which is a nonprofit dedicated to leadership development in girls and women through participation in sports, saw unprecedented growth and success under her leadership, achieving national recognition from leaders in women’s sports, including Robin Roberts, Julie Foudy, and Billie Jean King. Patti started the extremely successful Camp WIN, a week-long girls sport day camp that introduces girls to 12 different sports in a supportive, empowering environment. She also initiated the WIN for KC Triathlon, still the largest all women’s tri in the region that sells out annually with more than 1,000 participants, many of them first-timers that experience life-changing empowerment. In addition, Patti was a color analyst for ESPN, FOX Sports Midwest, Sooner Sports, and Metro Sports television broadcasts of collegiate women’s basketball and volleyball games. 

Earlier in her career, Patti worked for the NCAA (in Kansas City) as the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program Coordinator, where her primary duties included planning, organizing, and implementing three national conferences per year. She was involved in leadership training, programming, and curriculum writing for the Life Skills program.

Patti got her start in the business of women’s sports at a young age. She was hired as the head women’s basketball and volleyball coach at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas, at the age of 22. She inherited a losing basketball program at Ottawa and turned it into a regional power, receiving their first national ranking in school history.

Patti was inducted into both the Baker University Athletic Hall of Fame and O’Hara High School Hall of Fame in 2011. She currently serves on the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame executive committee and the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards Board of Directors.

She received her degree with honors from Baker University and earned her master’s degree in Athletic Administration and Sport Psychology from the University of Kansas.

Follow Patti on Twitter: @PattiPhillips10
Contact Patti: or 816-389-8215


Ashley Broockerd /// Senior Director of Events & Operations
Ashley Broockerd joined the NACWAA team as the Director of National Events in August 2010 and earned the role of Senior Director in January 2016. She oversees all organizational events, including all facets of the NACWAA National Rally, in addition to internal operations of the national office and budget oversight for the association. 

Prior to her time at NACWAA, Ashley previously served as Assistant Director at the Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City (WIN for KC), an organization under the Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation. While at WIN for KC, she was responsible for the planning and execution of all WIN events, including The Women’s Sports Awards Celebration, an annual sell-out and one of the largest luncheons in Kansas City; the WIN for KC Women’s Triathlon, the largest all-women’s race in the Midwest; Camp WIN, a week-long girls sport day camp; and various programs surrounding the Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Championship.

Ashley is a member of NACDA and PCMA and serves on the Friends of Powell Gardens and WIN for KC board of directors in Kansas City. Originally from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Broockerd has a bachelor of science in accounting and sports management from the University of Kansas, where she was a four-year member of the women’s rowing team.

Follow Ashley on Twitter: @amb828
Contact Ashley: or 816-389-8211
Rachel DeSchepper /// Director of Marketing & Digital Strategy
Rachel DeSchepper joined NACWAA in October 2016 andi is responsible for the organization's marketing strategy, brand identity, digital presence, and media relations—and extending NACWAA's mission even further and empowering more women leaders in collegiate sports. 
Rachel comes to the team from digital publishing and content marketing space, where for the last 10 years she’s spearheaded the editorial, audience development, and social media strategies for national magazines, including,,, and She also worked as an editor for Country Home and Portland Spaces magazines, and led content marketing for mySidewalk, a civic tech start-up and other various clients. 
Originally from the Kansas City area, Rachel was a softball pitcher and catcher throughout high school. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she studied magazine journalism and psychology. DeSchepper briefly lived in Portland, Oregon, and in 2008 landed in New York City where she lived and worked for seven years before returning home to the Midwest. Rachel enjoys doing yoga, running, and playing sand volleyball and softball—though she’s now retired to purely recreational teams. 
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rkdeschepper
Contact Rachel: or 816-389-8208


Katie Hoffman /// Sr. Director of Strategic Partnerships
Katie Hoffman joined the NACWAA team in November 2016 as the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships. A seasoned revenue professional with high-level athletic experience, Katie is responsible for securing most revenue for the association, including corporate sponsorship, foundation grants and individual philanthropic giving. Katie also works to increase community engagement with corporate members and partners. 

Prior to joining NACWAA, Katie served as Manager of Partnership Activation for the Kansas City Chiefs. In this position, she was responsible for managing and growing all current Chiefs partnerships. She was also responsible for inventory management and working with the sales team on putting together proposals for all new business. Additionally, she oversaw the digital, production and in stadium aspects of all partnerships as well as overseeing the Arrowhead Events partnership division—maintaining those relationships and overseeing all trademarking and intellectual property questions.

Prior to her role with the Chiefs, Katie was an Account Executive for Sooner Sports Properties, a Learfield Division responsible for handling all corporate revenue for the University of Oklahoma Athletics Department. She took the Account Executive position after three years serving as the Director of Human Resources for OU Athletics. Katie initially started her career as an Associate Attorney with a Civil Litigation firm in Los Angeles, California, before deciding to pursue a career in college athletics.

Katie received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami. She also earned a master's degree in Intercollegiate Athletics from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in Business/Finance from the University of Nebraska where she was also a member of the Big XII Champion Women’s Swim Team.

Follow Katie on Twitter: @ktjo39
Contact Katie: or 816-389-8222

Natalie Martinez /// Multimedia Coordinator 
Natalie Martinez joined the NACWAA team as Multimedia Coordinator in June 2016. She earned her undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Art from The University of Mississippi. While at Ole Miss, Natalie represented nearly 400 student-athletes as the Vice President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). As a four-year member of SAAC, Natalie helped change NCAA legislation and bridged the gap between leadership groups on campus. She was one of the universities 150 representatives of the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges."

The California native was a part of the most successful softball season in Ole Miss history. In Natalie’s four years, she contributed to the school’s first NCAA Regional appearance, first NCAA Regional win, first SEC tournament win, first 41-winning season, tied the 10 game conference wins record, and an all-around historic season of “Firsts.” 


While earning her degree, Natalie interned with the Ole Miss Sports Productions team as an Interviewee. Through her internship, she saw the sports world from another side and brought the student-athletes experience to life.


You can find Natalie with a camera in hand, drafting a tweet, or singing along to any up-beat tune. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys running, taking photos, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. She is determined to advance women’s athletics through inspiring media content and initiative.


Contact Natalie: or 816-389-8209


Elisha Orama /// Leadership & Events Coordinator 
Elisha Orama comes to NACWAA by way of San Juan, South Florida, and Boston. She attended undergrad at Wellesley College, majored in psychology and got her master’s degree in sports management from UMass Amherst.

Elisha spent the last year interning in the athletic events and operations department at Harvard University to complete her master’s degree. While at Harvard she was the event manager for field hockey, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse. She was responsible for all game day operations for those varsity sports. Prior to graduate school, Elisha worked as a women’s basketball assistant coach at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, for two seasons. During the 2012-2013 season, Merrimack had the largest win turn around in Division II women’s basketball history.

As a former basketball player at Wellesley, Elisha has a special place for the game in her heart. Loves watching college basketball, getting a workout in, and enjoying time with friends and family. She is invested in progressing women’s athletics and the power of sport in making societal change.

Contact Elisha: or 816-389-8207

Lisa R. Thuer /// Director of Membership Engagement
Lisa R. Thuer began her new role as NACWAA Director of Membership Engagement in August 2015. In this position, Lisa’s primary responsibilities are NACWAA member recruitment and retention process and membership engagement, including connecting members with platforms, resources, and people. 

Over the last six years, Lisa has served at the NCAA Division II and III levels as an athletic administrator, head coach and faculty member. Thuer began her athletics administration career at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she was Assistant Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator and Head Softball Coach. She then served in similar roles at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, where Lisa was responsible for the university’s Gender Equity Plan. 

After a stint at Immaculata University as Coordinator of Diversity & Achievement in Athletics, Lisa most recently served as an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Field Practicum at the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Kentucky. A graduate of MacMurray College, Lisa also holds a master’s degree in education from Holy Names University and a master’s of social work from Washington University in St. Louis. 

An active and dedicated NACWAA member, Lisa is co-leader of the NACWAA Title IX Circle and serves on the Membership Committee, she is also credited with developing the Member Happy Hour concept and creating year-round engagement for her NCAA/NACWAA Institute for Administrative Advancement class (West 2014). A native of St. Louis, Lisa is an advocate for healthy living and holds spinning and yoga instructor certifications.

Follow Lisa on Twitter: @lrthuer
Contact Lisa: or 816-389-8216


Sarah Vap /// Executive Assistant & Special Projects Manager
Sarah Vap joined the NACWAA team as Executive Assistant and Special Projects Manager in September 2015. Bringing extensive administrative experience to this role, Sarah provides support to NACWAA CEO, Patti Phillips, as well as oversee special projects for the organization. 

Prior to NACWAA, Sarah served as administrative assistant at the non-profit program, Kauffman Scholars, at The Kauffman Foundation. Her career has also included employment at H&R Block World Headquarters as the executive assistant for the President of Financial Services. Currently enrolled in Baker University, Sarah expects to complete her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2017. 

A Kansas City native and a mother of two daughters, Sarah coaches a Girls on The Run team, volunteers at Harvesters and The Rivalry Run, practices yoga, and enjoys running in her spare time.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarah_vap
Contact Sarah: or 816-389-8215


2017 Membership Interns


Megan Cairns /// Member Services Intern
Megan Cairns joined the NACWAA team November 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Evangel University where she competed on one of the most successful softball teams in the school’s history. In Megan’s four years on the team, Evangel won three conference championships and earned a 125-58 record. Individually, Megan served as a team captain in her final two years, earned All-Conference honors, and was named an Academic All-American. Outside of softball at Evangel, Megan served as president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In 2012 Megan received her Master of Science in Physical Education with an emphasis in Sports Administration from Eastern New Mexico University. At ENMU, she served as a Graduate Assistant Softball coach for the Zias, focusing specifically on recruiting and coaching hitters. In addition to coaching duties, Megan taught courses within the Health and Physical Education department.

For the last four years 2012-2016, Megan served as head softball coach and full-time faculty member at North Central Missouri College. She inherited a program with significant struggles, but turned the program around, increasing the team’s win total in all four of her seasons. Megan helped the Lady Pirates finish in the top three at the Region XVI Tournament for the last two years, and she coached 13 players who received All-Region Honors and one player who was named All-American.

In the future, Megan hopes to make a difference in the world using the powerful influence of sports. In her free time, you can find Megan playing tennis, golf, Frisbee, volleyball—or really, any other sport that presents itself. As a proud Kansas Citian, Megan’s an avid fan of the Chiefs and Royals.

Contact Megan: or 816-389-8213


Nicole Jackson /// Member Services Intern
Nicole Jackson joined the NACWAA team in December 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Sport Science and Fitness Management from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and in May 2017, she’ll complete a Master of Science in Health and Physical Education (Sport Administration), also from North Carolina A&T. Prior to joining NACWAA, Nicole worked as a graduate assistant in North Carolina A&T’s Human Performance and Leisure Studies Department. She was a critical asset to the department chair, responsible for overseeing academic advisement and degree auditing for students in the department. 

Nicole is no stranger to inspiring young athletes and students. She has worked as a Youth Recreation Assistant for Fayetteville (NC) Parks and Recreation, as well as a substitute teacher for the Cumberland County School System. While a volunteer coordinator at the nonprofit organization Empowered Girls of North Carolina, Nicole cultivated her supervisory and managerial skills, and was the driving force behind implementing new social media techniques to market and advertise events, as well as bringing in and training new volunteers.

Nicole is known for her charismatic personality and keen analytical skills, and she aspires to work in intercollegiate athletics at the senior administrative level. She finds continual inspiration through her volunteer work as an active member of Phi Epsilon Kappa honors fraternity. In her spare time, she is a huge Denver Broncos fan, an avid traveler, and enjoys spending time with family and friends. 

Contact Nicole: or 816-389-8214


Photography by Amelia Howard Photography

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