Women In Sports: Alliance of Women Coaches' Ann Walker
Now in an administrative role with the Alliance of Women Coaches, Ann Walker (third from left) spent the first part of her college career as a coach.
Now in an administrative role with the Alliance of Women Coaches, Ann Walker (third from left) spent the first part of her college career as a coach.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The third “Women in Sports” career seminar, presented by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, will be held on Sat., April 8 in Portland, Ore.

Designed for college and high school females interested in pursuing sports-related careers, the seminar will take place at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum.

The event will feature panelists from a broad cross-section of occupational paths, including coaching, administration, business, marketing, media, media relations, NCAA compliance, sports medicine, ticket sales and officiating. Attendees will have an opportunity to interact with — and seek career advice from — a slate of experienced sports professionals in a round-table format.

Attendance is limited to the first 100 registrants. Register Now.

Below is a profile on a panelist who will be featured at this year's event.

Director of Events & Communication at Alliance of Women Coaches
Colleges Attended: Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa; University of Iowa
College Major: Elementary Education; Sport Psychology
Years In Current Position: First Year

Primary Job Responsibilities: I’m responsible for implementing all details for the core events of the Alliance, including the NCAA Women Coaches Academy, the Huddle, one-day regional workshops, and "Meet & Greets" at select sport association national conventions. I oversee all email communication with coaches and administrators, prepare the monthly newsletters and Take10 talk series. I also help with social media, branding and educational pieces.

Things You Enjoy Most About Your Job: The ability to work with, and for, college coaches at all levels across the country. As part of the Alliance team, we are fearless advocates, defenders, supporters and promoters for all women in the coaching profession. I get to help in empowering women to be more aware of the realities of the profession and help to expand career opportunities for women at all levels and in all sports.

Why Did You Pursue A Professional Career In The Athletics Industry: I was a college athlete and, at the time when I was in college, there wasn't an opportunity to play professionally. I knew, however, that I wanted to stay in college athletics, so I pursued college coaching as soon as my playing days were over.

First Job In The Sports Industry: Head women's college basketball coach.

A Key Mentor Who Helped You On Your Career Path: My college basketball coach, Kelly Kruger. Also, Michael Marcil, who was the commissioner of the Sunshine State Conference in the early-mid 2000's. 

Most Influential Person In Your Early Professional Development: Cheryl Ewert, who was the vice president of student affairs at the college I got my first coaching job. She showed me tremendous support, but also challenged me in ways both personally and professionally which allowed me to grow. Also, Jim Flannery, who I was a fellow assistant coach with at a Division I college (he is now the head coach). He gave me a different perspective on coaching women's basketball.

Biggest Hurdle You Overcame Breaking Into The Sports Industry: It was a constant hurdle to be a woman in a "man's world." I worked extremely hard and poured my heart and soul into my coaching, often times for less money than my male colleagues.

Key Attributes That Have Helped Shape Your Career Path: Staying true to myself; undeniable work ethic; showing gratitude towards anyone who has helped me along the way; wanting others around me to feel needed, worthy, and special; showing a true passion for what I do; willingness to do anything for the betterment of the program (no job was beneath me).

Looking Back, What Is One Thing That You Did In College Or Early On To Help You Along Your Career Path? I learned as much as I could about leadership and coaching my sport and attended as many professional development opportunities as I could. I would speak with others in the coaching profession about issues and X's & O's. I watched a lot of videos and read books/articles on coaching, being a leader, recruiting, etc.

Best Advice You Would Give To A Young Female Wanting To Work In Sports: Find your passion and GO! Surround yourself with those who share your vision and who you trust. Aim to be a positive role model. Evaluate yourself honestly and take in constructive criticism. Always support and challenge those around you. Be a good communicator! Spread your love for what you do. Do things to become a better person, leader, colleague, friend, teacher. Put YOU first ... you must take care of you before you can be the best for others.

Favorite Sports Team: College – Iowa Hawkeyes Football; Professional – Minnesota Vikings

Favorite Athlete: Martina Navratilova

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: There are so many: going to The Master's; attending a Notre Dame football game; scoring 42 points in a game in high school; striking out the best boy on the other team in Little League baseball (I was the only girl...early '70s). As a coach, beating ranked teams or whenever a player broke a record or had a milestone. Probably the most memorable moments as a coach was the final game each year for the seniors. On that day, you realize what an impact you had on them and their four years being a part of a team.