On Martin Luther King Day 2021, Live Like Blaine Foundation sponsored the Sixth Annual Captains’ Practice Leadership Conference, bringing together over 120 high school female athletes from over 52 schools for a day of leadership, positivity and resilience. Due to COVID restrictions, the conference met virtually for the first time this year, allowing high school female athletes from across the country to join to hear from and connect with female leaders in sports and business, as well as a panel of collegiate athletes. The conference focused on leading with resilience and gratitude as we navigate through this uniquely challenging time.
The day began with an inspiring talk from co-founders Jill and Sid Steinberg about the LLB mission to empower young women and to carry on Blaine’s legacy through sports and leadership.
Felicia Norwood, the Executive Vice President of Anthem Inc.’s Government Business Division, then spoke about her career path and leadership journey. She shared the importance of risk taking and resilience, whether it be in applying to law school or shifting career paths. Felicia also touched on the ways in which she connects with and inspires her team and colleagues. We then had the opportunity to ask Felicia questions about her leadership experiences.
Next, Linda Shirmeister-Gess led a Strive-Leadership Training session that focused on how we can energize ourselves to achieve our goals by recognizing our sources of passion and happiness in our lives. She shared how we can apply the same resilient mentality we use when completing practice reps in sports to facing challenges in all areas of our lives. Through a variety of exercises, we learned to practice deliberate gratitude while having fun. Have you set your gratitude alarm yet?
“Everytime you fail, you gain information to make you better….Every mistake is just one rep.” -Linda Shirmeister-Gess
Next, we heard from Tamika Catchings, VP of Basketball Operations and GM of the Indiana Fever, WNBA Champion, and Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist. Tamika shared her lifelong journey of resilience, beginning with the discovery of her hearing disability as a child and continuing through her many accomplishments as a professional female athlete and leader in sports. Tamika encouraged all of us to use our voices and to have courage to speak up. The attendees asked Tamika questions about her own role models, how she responds to failure, and her leadership lessons.
The day concluded with a collegiate athlete panel featuring Kenya Boston from Yale Lacrosse, Eleah Parker from Penn Basketball, and Helen Mackay from Franklin & Marshall Lacrosse. The college panelists shared their experiences balancing academics and athletics and working with their teams to stay unified during COVID-19 and promote positive social change. The attendees had the chance to interact with the panelists and ask them questions about life as college athletes.
I recently joined the LLB team as an intern, and I was so excited to participate in Captains’ Practice and to share my experience as a college athlete. During the panel, one attendee asked us what we wish we had known in high school. I shared that in high school, we tend to think of everything as a stepping stone to college and sacrifice important experiences in pursuit of an ideal future. But, we fail to realize that this won’t end once we get to college. New challenges and goals will always replace the ones we just faced. Living in the “What’s next?” mentality can eventually become unsustainable and unfulling, but finding passion and joy in our current lives can help us move towards our future goals. Obviously, this is much easier said than done, especially during a pandemic, but the first step is just becoming conscious of when we have moments of tunnel vision. I wish I could tell my younger self not to let the pressure of the college recruiting process impact so much of my early high school experience. It wasn’t until I stopped obsessing over the future that I finally separated what I really wanted from what I just felt expected to do.
As many athletes struggle with the cancellations of our in-person sports and with the loss of time with our teams, Captains Practice provided a much needed opportunity to connect with and learn from new people with shared passions. Since joining my team at F&M, I have been so positively impacted by my teammates and alumni, and they have shown me the value of connecting with older girls and women. I am grateful that speaking at Captains’ Practice gave me a chance to help younger athletes navigate these exciting and uncertain times in the way that my teammates have helped me.
Jan 18, 2021 – Tamika Catchings, of WMBA Indiana Fever and Captains’ Practice 2021 Guest Speaker received Dr. MLK, JR. Indiana Holiday Commission Freedom Award. Congratulations Tamika!!! #FITTOLEAD
Enjoy a week at Jill and Sid’s beach house (brand new construction) in Ventnor, NJ.! Desirable southside location, just 1.5 blocks from the beach & boardwalk, heated in-ground pool and ocean views from top deck. 5 bedrooms (1 king bed, 2 queen beds, 1 queen sleeper sofa and 1 queen Frontgate blow up mattress on legs). 3.5 nicely appointed bathrooms.
Landscaped back patio with outdoor space including sectional sofa, chaise lounge chairs, TV, grill and enclosed outside shower – perfect for entertaining & family fun! Three decks, one with full dining table and others with rocking chairs. Beautiful new kitchen with island, two sitting areas with TVs and dining room. Attached garage plus 2 additional parking spots! (Photos show original staged furniture which has been replaced). Use on a mutually agreeable week in 2021. Excludes summer holiday weekends and August 13-20. No pets allowed.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Kirsten Gillibrand inherited a dedication to public service from her grandmother and mother, who organized women and served their communities as activists. Gillibrand received her law degree from the UCLA School of Law and served as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Drawing inspiration from the women in her life, Gillibrand worked as an attorney in New York City for more than a decade and then decided to pursue a path of public service leadership.
After serving in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., she decided to move home to upstate New York to raise her family. She pulled off a stunning upset in her first Congressional race, unseating an entrenched incumbent by building the biggest grassroots campaign in the district’s history. She served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for two years before being sworn in as United States Senator from New York in January 2009. Gillibrand won her 2012 re-election campaign with a New York statewide record 72 percent of the vote. She has earned national recognition for creating bipartisan coalitions, especially on issues such as how sexual assaults are handled by our military and on our college campuses. She has also fought for congressional ethics reform and paid family leave.
Gillibrand has made it her life’s mission to support and empower more women to step up and run for office. Ten years ago, Gillibrand launched Off The Sidelines, a call to action to encourage women and girls to make their voices heard on the issues they care about. Off the Sidelines has since recruited, mentored, and supported dozens of women candidates for higher office and helped elect some of the brightest rising stars in office today.
Senator Gillibrand is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College. Sports have been a big part of Senator Gillibrand’s life dating back to high school when she played tennis and soccer. She entered Dartmouth as a tennis player but was then recruited away to play squash by the squash coach. Gillibrand ended up leading the Dartmouth squash team as its captain. She has spoken about how her tough matches prepared her for the competitiveness of politics later in life. She said her sports experience “helped take the fear out of something like running for office and putting yourself out there in a competitive contest and letting the people choose.” Senator Gillibrand was also a member of Dartmouth’s Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority that Blaine later joined as well.
Laurel Richie has made a name for herself as a proven leader in multiple fields throughout her career, including marketing, education, sports and the nonprofit world. She has weaved women’s advocacy into all aspects of her career.
Ms. Richie currently serves as an independent director at Synchrony Financial and Bright Horizons and as a leadership consultant to Fortune 100 c-suite executives at Merryck & Co. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College where she has served for eight years on the board of trustees eight years ago and currently serves as its chair.
Richie became the first person of color to lead a major national sports league when she served as President of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) from 2011 to 2015, leading led the league’s business, operations, and marketing initiatives. While she did not play sports growing up, she understands the value of teams through her group experiences in theater. She has also spoken about the fact that research suggests that participation in sports has a very positive impact on girls, leading to higher self-esteem, higher likelihood of graduating from college, and a large percentage of female executives played team sports growing up.
Prior to leading the WNBA, she served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, where she led the development of a new brand strategy that helped revitalize this iconic brand, and as a senior partner and executive group director at advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather, where she worked with many blue-chip corporate and pro-bono nonprofit clients and became a founding member of the agency’s external Diversity Advisory Board.
A frequent keynote speaker and panelist on Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, Richie is a recipient of the Black Girls Rock! Shot Caller Award, Sports Business Journal’s Game Changer Award, and the YMCA Black Achievers in Industry Award. She was awarded Ebony magazine’s Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications award and named to its Power 100 List. Black Enterprise magazine named her one of the Most Influential African Americans in Sports, and Savoy magazine recognized her as one of the Most Influential Black Corporate Directors.
Throughout her life, Gail Boudreaux has exhibited a strong commitment to athletics as a means to develop leadership skills. She has been quoted as saying, “By playing sports, I learned a great deal that helped me to be successful in business—how to be part of a team, how to work hard, how to overcome adversity.” Many of the lessons Gail learned through athletics have stuck with her as she has risen to the top ranks of Corporate America.
Gail Boudreaux is President and Chief Executive Officer of Anthem, Inc., a Fortune 50 company and leading health benefits company dedicated to improving lives and communities and to making healthcare simpler, more affordable and more accessible. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves more than 106 million people. Prior to her time at Anthem, she founded her own healthcare strategy and business advisory firm and was the CEO of United Healthcare.
Boudreaux’s track record of success is widely recognized across the business world. She has made both Forbes and Fortune magazines’ lists of Most Powerful Women multiple times and was listed among the Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare. Boudreaux currently serves on the board of directors for Zimmer Biomet Holdings, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Inc., and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), and was formerly on the boards of trustees for Dartmouth College and the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. In 2018, Gail was honored with the Billie Jean King Contribution Award, which is an annual award granted by the Women’s Sports Foundation to an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the development and advancement of women’s sports.
Boudreaux graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College and graduated with high honors from business school at Columbia University. At Dartmouth, Boudreaux was one of the best athletes in the school’s history, becoming an All-American in both basketball and track and field. She still holds multiple school scoring records in basketball and won four consecutive Ivy League shot put titles. She won the exclusive NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for outstanding professionalism and athletic achievement winner and was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as well as the Dartmouth Wearer of the Green Hall of Fame.
After months of planning, discussing, preparing, interviewing, and more, we are beyond excited to welcome 15 girls to the Leadership Academy. We will be kicking things off with a Welcome dinner for our high school sophomores, their parents/guardians, mentors, and volunteers on August 25th!
The Leadership Academy is an in-depth, 10 month program designed to help female, high school sophomore athletes develop leadership and interpersonal skills, connect with peers and female professionals in the area, and give back to their communities. Details and more information about the Leadership Academy can be found here.
Our first cohort of girls to enter the Leadership Academy is comprised of 15 young women from diverse backgrounds who share a strong motivation to develop as leaders. We could not be more impressed with what we have seen so far from our Leadership Academy participants, and we can’t wait to watch them grow over the course of the next 10 months. Stay tuned for more updates on the Leadership Academy as we really get going in September!
We are thrilled to provide full scholarships to 15 girls – the most in our history – to attend summer programs that build leadership skills for our young female athletes.
This summer, our scholarship recipients are having incredible experiences at The Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, Sports Challenge, and GenHERation Discovery Days. We are incredibly proud to partner with these organizations who are leaders in their field, providing high quality and effective programming to hundreds of girls each summer. These experiences help create the next generation of female leaders. Our 15 scholarship recipients have benefitted and will continue to benefit substantially from attending these programs, and it would not have been possible without the passion and generosity of the LLB community.
Thanks to over 250 donors, this year’s March MATCH-ness campaign in honor of Blaine’s birthday raised over $30,000. It is because of this campaign that we have been able to expand our scholarship programs so significantly. Thank you for helping us spread Blaine’s spirit by supporting more young women than ever!
On Saturday evening, November 11, 2017, we hosted the second annual LEAD (Leadership. Education. Athletics. Dreams.) Event at YSC Sports in Wayne, PA. 250 friends and supporters gathered for a night of food, dancing, beer pong, corn hole, and, most of all, fun. Blaine’s spirit, joy and laughter filled the room. The event raised $160,000 for our FIT TO LEAD programming, including our annual Captains’ Practice Leadership Conference, Harlem Lacrosse Philadelphia, and our Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy scholarships.
Christine Page, Harlem Lacrosse Program Director at the Finletter School in the Olney section of Philadelphia, spoke to the crowd about the incredible impact Harlem Lacrosse has had on her students in just three short months. Finletter teacher James Groff also spoke about the positive effect the Harlem Lacrosse program is having on his students. But the real highlight was hearing from Harlem Lacrosse student athletes, Kadiatou and Elijah, about how Harlem Lacrosse has influenced their lives.
Thanks to all who joined us for the evening and supported Live Like Blaine’s effort to help young women become FIT TO LEAD.
To view a list of our sponsors, please click here.