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She’s Got Next: Amplifying Women’s Voices in the Wide World of Sports

November 29, 2023

It was simultaneously the most well-intentioned and worst advice I ever received.

In the late 1990s and early in my career as a sports reporter, an editor I respected advised me not to cover women’s sports. If I let people pigeonhole me—as the woman who covered girls’ sports—I would never be taken seriously enough to cover men’s sports.

I did not follow that advice.

Instead, I spent two decades pushing my respective editors to cover women’s sports and celebrate the stories intertwined with these fascinating athletes. Today, this work continues with The Martin Group. Working with colleagues across our agency, we’ve created She’s Got Next, an ongoing content series designed to illuminate the accomplishments and wisdom of women in sports and sports-adjacent fields while amplifying their voices and experiences.

In our first season, we spoke with women from all backgrounds and all job titles—from leaders in sports brand marketing, to presidents of organizations and sports teams, to advocates and athletes. Each shared their own unique experiences, helping us understand the nuances of diversity in sports while demonstrating the commonalities of being a woman in this space.

Times have changed since my first days as a sportswriter. The 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship game had a record 9.9 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most viewed college basketball game on the network ever—men’s or women’s.

People are watching, and opportunities are growing. We’re paying attention—and with this series, we hope to help this moment for women in sports turn into a movement with momentum, highlighted by inclusivity and diversity.

Below are some of our top takeaways from the inaugural season of She’s Got Next:

We need women’s voices.

Historically, women athletes are more likely to use their voice to advocate on social justice issues. Female athletes have often contended with attitudes and biases that diminish their accomplishments along with outright discrimination. They are more likely to advocate for change—from gender pay gaps in their sports to issues of systemic racism—and their lived experiences give them the confidence to use their voices.

Getting a seat at the table in your field is just the beginning. Women in sports leadership positions work not just for access to have their voices heard and valued. Having confidence in your abilities helps you succeed and allows you to stay open and collaborative, leaning into the knowledge that there’s room at the table for everyone.

Representation matters.

While media coverage of women’s sports has grown, the need for more media exposure is critical to shaping future opportunities. Exposure to women’s sports connects fans, provides sponsorship possibilities, and inspires the next generation to view women as strong and capable—traits that matter on the playing field and in executive boardrooms.

But it’s not just about increasing the volume of media coverage. Diversity needs to be a key component of media coverage and marketing and sponsorship packages. Black women, Native American women, Asian women, Hispanic women all need to see themselves as valued parts of the women’s sports community.

Cultivate relationships.

The most popular career advice: talk with as many people as possible. Embrace cold-emailing women you admire and ask for a few minutes of their time to ask questions about their work. The worst someone does is not reply.

When it’s time for you to be on the other side of that exchange, remember to pay it forward. Open doors for others when you can and remember that you never know who may look to you for inspiration along their journey.

Contact us here if you have a nomination for this valuable series. To read all our inspiring interviews from Season One and keep up with what’s on tap for Season Two, visit The Martin Group’s blog – and be on the listen for the She’s Got Next podcast with extended cuts of our conversations, coming soon!

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