Weekend Plans With Women Leaders In College Sports CEO Patti Phillips
Women Leaders in College Sports is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and CEO PATTI PHILLIPS is doing all she can to make sure everything runs smoothly for their annual national convention set to take place Sunday-Tuesday in Phoenix. While Phillips would like to say her job responsibilities are solely focused on high-level donors, sponsors and key influencers, running the organization requires her to have a touch point on everything as it relates to the business. Phillips took some time to speak with THE DAILY before she heads to the desert to give the inside scoop on the preparation that goes into setting up a convention, big names to watch out for and why she'll be fantasizing about Sedona all weekend.
MAKING PREPARATIONS: My team arrived in Phoenix on Thursday, but I will arrive on Friday. This year, I've got a team of mostly freshman -- we have five new team members in really key positions, so I feel like I've been more engaged in the whole process. They don't know what is about to hit them this weekend, but they've all been great. We have a really great group -- I call them high-potential rising stars -- so the lead-up has been really task-oriented and super busy, but with great excitement. Friday will involve a lot of checking out the ballroom and the staging. We hired a production crew and we'll be meeting with them that night to go over the set-up. We do a lot of on-site branding, so that will be taking place too and I'll be checking in on that. I'll also probably still be writing some scripts at the last minute and we'll have some team meetings as well. For the 24 hours Friday afternoon through Saturday evening, it's really kind of the on-site prep and checking everything out with the hotel and making sure we're all good leading up to the convention.
FULL STEAM AHEAD: Our board members will start flying in on Saturday evening, as we have several meetings Sunday morning. I'm involved with the D-II Governance Academy beginning at 8:00am, then I'll meet with our president starting at 9:30am and then our BOD from 11:00am-2:00pm. The programming for the convention starts on Sunday afternoon around 3:00pm, and once it gets going, it's all day, every day for the next three days. We're almost to 1,000 attendees and that's really amazing for Phoenix. Traditionally, the bigger conventions have been in locations that are drivable for our members. We had 1,100 in Atlanta last year and it'll be huge in Boston next year, so we're pleasantly surprised with our numbers this year.
STAR-STUDDED LINEUP: For an organization our size, I'm quite frankly amazed at the caliber of speakers we have this year. We have six keynote speakers and three executive leadership track speakers. Monday afternoon we're celebrating the '99 World Cup-winning U.S. Women's National Team on their 20th anniversary -- talk about a force for change. JULIE FOUDY will be there, as will DR. COLLEEN HACKER, who was the mental performance consultant with the team. She helped them deal with all the pressure they had around them at that time. ESPN's SAGE STEELE will be the emcee for that event. VIOLET PALMER, the NBA's first woman referee, and NCAA President MARK EMMERT will also speak on Tuesday morning. In addition to the convention, our luncheons on Monday and Tuesday are celebration luncheons for our members. Monday is our Lifetime Achievement luncheon, where we're recognizing our past presidents, and we do Administrator of the Year on Tuesday.
MISSING OUT: The prep work will take up most of my weekend, I wish I could hang out in Phoenix. I will tell you that Sedona is my go-to place after the convention, I've done that the last three years. I love to go to Sedona to hike -- I'm an avid outdoor person and I just love the energy in Sedona, so I'm bummed I won't get to do it on this trip. We'll be in Phoenix for basically a week, and there's obviously a lot of wrap-up, so I won't get to enjoy Phoenix this time. But I know how fabulous it is, so I will be visualizing that during the convention.
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