16 Women Making a Difference in Sport
To honor Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Global Sport Matters is highlighting and celebrating some of the amazing women who have shared their stories with us and have dedicated their careers to using sport as a vehicle for positive change.
Victoria Jackson, PhD
Victoria Jackson, PhD is a professor of history at Arizona State University and a member of the first cohort of Global Sport Scholars. A former NCAA champion and professional runner, Jackson uses sport as a tool to explore history. She is an advocate for creating and expanding opportunities for sport in higher education institutions.
Dr. Michelle Tom
Dr. Michelle Tom (Diné) is a physician, athlete, and activist. She was a starter and captain of the Arizona State University Women’s Basketball team. She has achieved both a M.P.H. and a M.D., and she is currently treating COVID-19 patients at Winslow Indian Health Care Center and Little Colorado Medical Center. She is dedicated to advocating for and empowering Indigenous communities.
Brenda Elsey is an associate professor of history at Hofstra University and the co-host of the weekly sport and feminism podcast, Burn It All Down. She is the author of multiple research articles that explore gender and culture in Latin America. She is also the development lead for Fare Network, a NGO that develops grassroots soccer programs for social justice.
Gwen Berry is an Olympian and activist. At the 2019 Pan American Games, Berry raised her fist in a protest against injustice in the United States. After being fined by the Olympic Committee, she spoke out against the organization’s hypocrisy and used her platform to advocate for social justice.
Kim Woozy is the Director of Development for Skate Like a Girl, a Bay Area non-profit that educates youth about social justice and empowers them to be confident leaders in their communities. She is also a co-founder of Women’s Skateboarding Alliance (WSA), which is an international consulting and management agency for skateboarding athletes.
Renee Montgomery is a 2x WNBA champion and WNBA All-Star. Montgomery announced she would be stepping away from her 2020 WNBA season to concentrate on social justice reform and her organization, Renee Montgomery Foundation. She also recently made history as the first former player to become an owner and executive of a WNBA team when she joined a new ownership group for the Atlanta Dream. She also recently launched her own podcast series, Remotely Renee, where she discusses sports, pop culture, and activism.
Natalie Diaz (Mojave) is a poet, activist, and former athlete. She was a student-athlete at Old Dominion University, and played basketball internationally. She is the award-winning author of poetry collections including When My Brother Was an Aztec and Postcolonial Love Poems. She is 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program.
Maggie Ntim is one of the first Black woman agents in professional soccer. She is the founder of Trinity 3 Agency and the co-host of The Inside Agents, a podcast series where she provides her unique perspective as an agent in the soccer world.
Lori Okimura is a former chairwoman for USA Volleyball and CEO of Creative Sport Strategies. She recently joined World ParaVolley as the chair of the Beach ParaVolley Rules of the Game Committee and is a committed supporter of Angel City Sports, which provides year-round free adaptive sports opportunities for kids, adults and veterans. She is dedicated to elevating athlete advocacy and working towards justice in sports.
Marian Rhodes is a consultant based in Florida who works with clients to connect with local businesses and improve community relations. She has made waves in the C-suites of MLB organizations. She is the former Senior VP of Human Resources & Diversity for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the former VP for Public Affairs & Employee Relations for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Anita Lucette DeFrantz
Anita Lucette DeFrantz is an Olympian and the former captain of the U.S. women’s rowing team. She was the first woman Vice President of an Olympic Organizing Committee and she was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 1986. She is also the former president of the LA84 Foundation.
Kavitha Davidson is a sportswriter whose work has been featured in The Guardian and Rolling Stone. She is the host of The Lead, a sports podcast produced by The Athletic, as well as a member on the board of directors at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. She is the co-author of Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back.
Jessica Luther is a freelance journalist who has been featured in ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Huffington Post, and more. She has covered the intersection of sports and violence, and is the co-author of Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back.
Ilhaam Groenewald is the chief director for Maties Sports at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She is committed to bringing activism to the C-suites and using sport as a vehicle for social justice. She has advocated for more inclusive and equitable policies in sport that elevate athletes’ voices.
Dr. Wilsa Charles Malveaux
Dr. Wilsa Charles Malveaux is a sport psychiatrist and former athlete. She helps athletes navigate mental health, life and career transitions, and overcoming setbacks. She is a psychiatric consultant to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and multiple professional sports organizations and the CEO and President of WCM Sports Psych.
Shalise Manza Young
Shalise Manza Young is an award-winning journalist and columnist for Yahoo Sports. She uses her platform to advocate for racial, gender, and social justice in sport and beyond. She teaches sports journalism at Emerson College and is the head coach of track and field at Winsor School.