I was recently invited by Lyn St. James to be the opening key note speaker at the Women with Drive II conference held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lyn, the first woman selected as Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, and I met 23 years ago at a Women’s Sports Foundation dinner in NYC. Although Lyn didn’t know anything about sailing and I didn’t know anything about racing cars, we had mutual respect for the excellence we each pursued in our respective sports. This is where our conversation started about creating pathways to advancement for women to reach the highest echelons of competition in each of our sports.
As a coach, mentor and speaker, Lyn has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years to create opportunities for and develop women drivers. Through the Lyn St. James Foundation— setting up clinics, raising sponsorships and promoting young drivers– she has changed the way decision-makers value women behind the wheel and in all areas of the motorsport industry. In 2021 she founded WIMNA (Women in Motorsports North America) with Beth Paretta, CEO/ Team Owner Paretta Autosport to foster mentorship, advocacy, education and growth for women in the motorsport industry.
Lyn St. James at Women with Drive II
You Can’t Be What You Can’t See…
One of the most resonate topics with this audience was the “3-legged stool” concept that I call SEA, necessary for girls and women to excel at anything.
SEE: Possibility and inspiration in others that look like you.
EQUIP/EXPERIENCE: Consistent development and pursuit of excellence
ACCESS/ ALLIES: Enablers for inclusion, participation and competition.
By building bridges at events like WWDII, we create opportunities to learn from one another. The exuberant energy in the room validated for me the power of seeing women excel at the highest level. As we work together to increase women behind the wheel, on the water and in the boardroom, it’s encouraging to see how much we have in common.– LLB
On June 23, 1972 the global movement that has empowered girls and women to compete and excel in sport at all levels was launched with the passage of Title IX.
I recently had the opportunity to speak about women in sailing as part of Newsy’s week-long tribute to the landmark 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking legislation.
In 1994, I worked with Doug McCormick, then CEO and President of Lifetime Television on sponsorship development for our America3 Women’s Team. Doug produced Rocking the Boat— Women Race for the America’s Cup and with that the first network sports division devoted solely to women’s sports was born. It was on this project that I also met Brian Donlon, now Executive Producer at Newsy. We recently reconnected after his sterling tribute to Doug, who passed away in May.
While the path to equity in sport is far from over, we have come a long way – thanks to titans of change who stood up to say ‘all girls can play’, ‘women can win’ and ‘I am going to fight for equality.’ Sports legends including Billy Jean King, Donna DeVarona, Lyn St. James, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Dawn Riley, Julie Foudy and Rusty Kanokogi blazed trails for women both on and off of the playing field. As we stand on their shoulders, we must support those yet to embark on their path.
I really enjoyed sharing some of my story and the stories of people I admire – those who have had the courage to embrace and excel in the face of difficult change. It has been rewarding and inspiring to hear from the Traverse City attendees and YouTube viewers that my talk gave them language, and a visual image, for where they are in their own journey of change. I also met some very talented people among my fellow TEDx Traverse City speakers, who I will introduce to you in the days ahead.
By watching ‘A Mountain of Courage’ you will learn more about my personal journey – the journey that led me to create Courageous Thinking Inc. Every day I am energized by the challenge of assisting adventurous leaders who seek excellence in their personal growth, and strive for success in their organizations.
Where are YOU in your life right now?
Are you looking for ‘what’s next’?
Do you have a clear vision of where you want to go?
Are you questioning how to get there?
Thank your for taking the time to share in this ever evolving journey with me. I’d love to hear where you are on your ‘Mountain of Courage’ – firstname.lastname@example.org