Ford to Represent NCAA at GNAC's 'Women in Sports' Event
NCAA Director of Minority Inclusion Kimberly Ford will speak at the GNAC-hosted Women in Sports Career Seminar on May 17 in Seattle.
NCAA Director of Minority Inclusion Kimberly Ford will speak at the GNAC-hosted Women in Sports Career Seminar on May 17 in Seattle.

Friday, January 31, 2014
by Evan O'Kelly, Media Relations Assistant

Second in a series

Previous Panelist Profiles
Lynda Goodrich: Western Washington  (Jan. 24)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Growing up in the small town of Desoto, Texas, Kimberly Ford had ambitions to be a dentist and took an interest towards speed skating and swimming. As her life began to take shape as an undergraduate student at Baylor University, Ford recognized an opportunity to pursue a career in sports, which eventually led her on a 950-mile journey northeast to the NCAA headquarter offices in Indianapolis.

Today, Ford is in her 14th year as Director of Minority Inclusion for the NCAA, and will share her perspective on the development of women in collegiate athletics this May at the Women in Sports Career Seminar, hosted by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

“The first thing is to follow your dreams and I’d like to express how rewarding my experience has been for my career,” Ford commented regarding her planned presentation at the seminar.

All women currently enrolled in college and who have an interest in pursuing a career in athletics are encouraged to submit an application to attend the seminar, which will provide an excellent networking opportunity and advice from panelists such as Ford and Western Washington legend Lynda Goodrich.

Applying for one of the NCAA’s competitive internships in 2000, Ford was accepted and got her first taste of the administrative side of collegiate athletics. “If I hadn’t been bitten by the bug of wanting to give back to something that benefitted me, I probably would have been on a different career path,” Ford said regarding her motivations for pursuing athletics.Ford went on to earn her Master’s in sports administration, after focusing on health, physical education and coaching during her undergraduate studies. “Because of the impact that my coaches had on me, I decided to make the switch from studying to be a dentist to student affairs,” Ford recalled about her time at Baylor. “At that point I really felt that I wanted to give back to athletics, which is ultimately why I made the switch.”

As the Director of Inclusion, Ford works to ensure minority groups are equally represented across all of the NCAA’s collegiate sports and levels. Her goal is to facilitate progression towards full equality in all sports, and urges the importance of recognizing the opportunities out there for inspired young women.

“People don’t realize that this is a viable profession and many of them don’t have many opportunities for advancement as they rightfully should,” Ford said regarding a variety of chances for development and growth within her organization. “If (young women) don’t see examples of success for themselves, they aren’t as likely to pursue a career like mine, and they really need to see an active role model.” 

Ford believes there is still room for plenty of growth and improvement for women and minorities in the industry. “I’ve seen it change in that there are more opportunities out there,” Ford said regarding athletics administrative roles for women. “If more of those who are currently in the industry were more accessible to women who may be interested in getting involved, then I think we would see more women in roles as coaches and administrators.”

Up to this point, Ford’s career has been focused on creating a positive change and enhancing an entire industry through helping diversify the range of people who have opportunities to be successful within it. “I have certainly witnessed the importance of diversity and inclusion during my time in this position,” Ford said regarding the significant impact she has had in her 13 years at the NCAA. “We are continuing to work with leadership to create opportunities like the one I had as a young woman for the next generation as well.”

To register for the Women in Sports Career Seminar and hear Ford speak as a panelist, visit the related links section of this article for details on how to apply.

“Any time you can invest in someone who is interested in a career in sports, its what we as administrators like to do,” Ford said. “We want them to know they can be a part of this, be a part of the change, growth and development of athletics as a whole.”