March 2022 Luncheon – “She Shoots, She Scores! Women in Sports”
Submitted by Robin Haddock, RLH Development
The March luncheon panel was an inspiring showcase of the tenacity of three women who have thrived in the male-dominated sports industry. Cristy Nine, Corporate Managing Director at Savills, asked the three panelists to respond to four questions: (1) How did you make your way into this industry; (2) What obstacles have you had to overcome; (3) What are some of your proudest moments; and (4) Who has served as your mentor or helped you get your start?
The responses provided many good lessons, for women and men alike, about why representation is important. Among the highlights:
Donna Julian, Executive Vice President & Spectrum Center General Manager at Hornets Sports & Entertainment offered one of the best pieces of advice saying, “You don’t know what someone can do until you give them a chance to do it.” As an African American woman, she has often encountered biased opinions from people who think they know who she is before they get to know her. Her gauge of success is her ability to set the record straight through her accomplishments while also being a good mom. Because she has been a trailblazer in the sports industry, she had to rely on men as role models in the beginning. She is now in a position to be a mentor and champion to other women and considers it success when her team members move on to bigger opportunities because she has invested in them.
Judy Rose, UNC Charlotte Athletic Director Emeritus, credits Title IX for opening the door to the sports industry for her. And what an entrance she made! Only the third woman to achieve the level of Athletic Director of a Division 1 school, she quickly realized she had to get the men to understand what needed to be done without them realizing she was doing it. Her husband pointed out that the men were also struggling to adjust to her being in the room. As he put it “we don’t know what to do with y’all” with “we” being men and “y’all” being women, of course. His advice was to ask for what she needs without worrying about feeling weak. And she clearly made that work, as she is credited with bringing football to the Charlotte 49er athletic program.
Jasmine James rounded out the panel. The first African American to become ticket sales manager with the Carolina Panthers, she is committed to making space for others who look like her. Anyone who might question whether she earned her current role as the Manager of Group Sales for both the Carolina Panthers and the new Charlotte Football Club need only watch the coverage of the inaugural home match on March 5 as 74,479 fans packed Bank of America Stadium. She believes that networking is everything and regularly pushes herself to be present in rooms and conversations she wasn’t previously invited to.
The successes achieved by each of these women are impressive by any standard, but even more so because they had to prove they should have a seat at the table in the first place. Their businesses, their communities, and women everywhere are better for it.