Coach and Athletic Director

November/December 2020

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24 N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 "Be brave enough to start conversations that matter." These are the words I continue to repeat. These are the words I needed to believe. I was a female working in a male-dominated industry. Often I was told I did not belong. Often I was told my opinion didn't matter. I had to be brave enough to start the conversations that mattered. I had to remind myself of that. If I am honest, it took years for me to be brave enough. I was mad enough. I just wasn't brave enough. I wasn't even sure where to start. I'll start my story in the middle. It was years before I was brave enough to start the conversation. I was no longer mad; I was inspired. You see, I had had enough. I had had enough of walking into a room of people — all men — and they did not acknowledge me. I was tired of being asked if I was in the right place. I had enough of being invisible. Being brave means taking a leap of faith. It means being willing to push yourself into a place that most likely will, at first, be very uncomfortable. Being brave means being willing to lead. I was ready to do all of those things. I had some reservations, no doubt, but it was time to start the conversation. It was time to be seen. It sounds as though I was gearing up for war or facing a huge medical crisis. Rather, I was living life as a female Athletic Director. I don't say this to ask for pity. I don't want pity. If you are a female who wants to be an Athletic Director, I don't say this as a scare tactic. If you were one of the men who looked through me, I don't say this to make you feel bad — I say this because I want you to hear what it's like to be the only woman in the room. If you can see me, you will hear me. I had to decide if I was going to allow being the only woman in the room to continue to intimidate me or if I was going to be brave enough to start the conversations that mattered. I chose to empower myself and to start the conversation. I became aware that I needed to use my position as "the only" to benefit other women; those who couldn't be in the room or at the table. It was here that the Global Community of Women in High School Sports was created. It was here where I became brave enough to start conversations that mattered. By Jen Brooks, CMAA, Athletic Director Ursuline Academy, St. Louis, Founder of The Global Community of Women in High School Sports (S) SITTING AT THE TABLE The Global Community of Women in High School Sports

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