2020 WCS Program & Schedule

Join us as we come together as a constellation of women sport coaches and leaders.

Constellations are small patterns within a bigger system.

constellationConstellations are roadmaps for a movement, and show the way by providing points of light to let others know they are not alone. Constellations are not always visible, but invisible does not mean non-existent.

Your network and community of women coaches and those who support you is always there.

Join the 2020 WCS constellation for networking, professional development and community building.

See the Speakers Tab for our confirmed speaker list.

***session times, speakers and speaker placement is subject to change*** [updated 11.27.2019]


Come early! Doors open at 7:00am for Registration, Networking, Vendor Exposition, Raffle item viewing, Online Auction, & Breakfast in the DQ Room.

7:15-8:00 MORNING YOGA

Star your day off with a morning flow yoga practice with Kinesology Professor and CorePower instructor Dr. Daheia Barr-Anderson.  Bring your mat if you have one, but it isn't required to participate. ALL levels welcome!

8:30-8:35 WELCOME

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

Julie Manning, Executive Associate Athletics Director, University of Minnesota

Megan Kahn, Executive Director, Alliance of Women Coaches


featuring Dr. Robin Martin, Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in coversation with Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi on topics related to women in sport leadership. Dr. Martin will share her personal and professional experiences and thoughts about the risks that lurk behind every opportunity afforded women of color in the workplace, and will provide insight on how to navigate courage and use your voice to make a difference. Check out her book, Navigate Courage: Leading Beyond Fear (2019)!


featuring Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, and Tucker Team members Courtney Boucher, McKenzie Arbeiter, and Sophie Glassford will share the latest research for and about women sport coaches. Check out all the research produced by the Tucker Center.

Including the new Game On: Women Can Coach Toolkit developed to help recruit, retain and advance women in sport coaching,

tucker center



10:05-10:55 BREAKOUT SESSION #1

A. Sleep: Connecting the Dots between Fatigue, Recovery, Mental Health & Performance, Roxanne Prichard (DQ Room)

Female athletes show high levels of insufficient sleep, depression, and anxiety, and they identify getting good sleep as one of the top three things they wished coaches and administrators would talk about more. This presentation will review the science of sleep for performance, cover the NCAA Taskforce for Sleep and Well-being recommendations regarding sleep health, and will identify practical strategies coaches and athletic staff can use to better assess and promote healthy sleep for all team members (including coaches!).

B. WeCOACH Panel, (Indoor Club Room) featuring a panel of women coaches who are TBD.

moderated by Megan Kahn, Executive Director, WeCOACH








C. STUDENT & STUDENT-ATHLETE TRACK, Shine Bright as You Launch Your Career with Her Next Play, Audra Emerson & Sara Wegmann (M Club Room)

Competition for top internships, coaching jobs, and entry level opportunities in all fields is fierce.  Fortunately, student-athletes have an edge in this competitive landscape. Discover how to use the competitive mindset you’ve developed as an athlete to shine bright and stand out in your early career.  Through case studies, and interactive exercises, learn how to build your professional brand, market the skills you’ve developed as an athlete, and differentiate yourself as you launch your career.

D. MNIAA Women Administrator Meeting, (President's Suite)


11:05-12:05 JEAN K. FREEMAN KEYNOTE feauring Valorie Kondos Field, former Head Coach UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team (DQ Room)

Jean K. Freeman swam for the Gophers and was the Women's Swimming Head Coach at the University of Minnesota for 31 years, from 1973-2004. Freeman's teams had 29 winning seasons, two national individual champions and seven top-20 team national finishes. Her teams won 76 Big Ten individual and relay titles, and Freeman was honored four times as Big Ten Coach of the Year. In 1999, she was the first woman to win the Outstanding Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. To honor Jean’s legacy as a pioneer in women’s sport and her commitment to giving back, hard work, honesty, team, caring for the whole person and excellence in every way, we have named this keynote in her honor. Jean passed away in 2010 after a battle with colon cancer. Watch a video tribute to Jean K. Freeman “More Than a Swim Coach” here.

Jean K. Freeman Keynote 2020: Valorie Kondos Field




B. Working Lunch: Coaching in the 21st-century. Navigating the black holes that can impact your career with Marsha Frese of docUssist (Indoor Club Room)

Today's coaching climate seems like something from outer space as more and more coaches are exposed to personal liability and risk.  Female coaches are especially vulnerable as they are increasingly being accused of abuse and bullying.  Issues can arise from anywhere, including player meetings, phone calls from parents or one-sided end of season reviews.  In today's litigious climate, find out what coaches can do to protect themselves.


A. Landing Your Message: Adapting Your Communication to Advocate, Recruit and LeadPam Baker, Cindy Hunt of Journeous (DQ Room)

Great leadership means connecting, inspiring, and establishing trust. But that can be challenging when your ideas don't land with those around you. And unfortunately stressful situations make it worse. There’s a scientific reason why this happens. When you understand why you can put easy fixes to use - with colleagues and athletes - immediately.

Our speakers bring more than five decades of experience from sport, the corporate and startup environments, leading system-wide change, and in global and domestic education. Across all of these environments, what’s common to those who create real and meaningful impact is the ability to communicate in a way that lands with those around us. Understanding the science behind communication and miscommunication and how to assess our own assets and those of our athletes and colleagues allows us to quickly recognize and navigate away from distress. When we do, the result is a cohesive team that not only excels on the field but becomes a network of support through our transitions of life

B.Changemakers in Women's Sport Panel, Alicia PeltonKerri HeffernanKari KrakowMaria Stuber (Indoor Club Room)

C. Building Blocks of Success Lea B. Olsen of Rethink the Win (M Club Room)

At the base of winning and success is connection, sometimes overlooked in our drive to be great. What is the key to making long term connections that will guide us through our lives? Learning from challenging moments, relationship building, and being our uniques selves will help guide us to success just as the constellations help us connect the dots and guide us in space.

D. TBD, Emily Stets (President's Suite)



A. Staying Connected and Well at Work, and Influencing Change, Dr. Leanne Norman (DQ Room)

Constellations, the theme of this year’s symposium, implies networks and connections. So how do we stay connected to the organisations for whom we work whilst staying connected to other interests and commitments outside of our coaching role? How do we do this in order to feel more well, purposeful, and fulfilled? This session will present some of the most recent research from an English soccer context, funded by The English Football Association, as to what are some of the pertinent issues impacting occupational wellbeing for women coaches working in this setting as well as what is the ‘appetite’ for hiring more gender inclusive coaching teams from a soccer club perspective. From the session, coaches will walk away with some strategies not to only improve or strengthen their wellbeing, but also how to influence change in the contexts in which they work. 

B. TRIA Women's Sport Medicine Clinic Panel, A Team Approach to Injury and Recovery: Avoiding Pitfalls for You and Your Female Athletes (Indoor Club Room) sponsored by TRIA.

TRIADr. Heather Cichanowski, Jennie Beth Kruger, MS, ATC; Jillian Tholen MS, RDN, LD, CSSD; and Pete Larson PT, DPT, OCS, MTC. This panel of sports medicine professionals will inform coaches what they need to know about common issues related to female athletes including information and tips on getting a female athlete through puberty to adulthood, bone stress injuries, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports (RED-S), and biomechanical issues specific to female athletes.

Check out the Women’s Sports Medicine at TRIA Woodbury that brings together experts who treat active and athletic women of all ages and ability. Whether you’re a casual runner or a competitive triathlete, our specialists offer innovative, personalized care.

C. STUDENT & STUDENT-ATHLETE TRACK, Build Your Constellation of Connections with Her Next Play, Audra Emerson & Sara Wegmann (M Club Room)

As an athlete, you have a support system of coaches, teammates, trainers, fans, friends, and family.  As an emerging professional, building a constellation of career support is just as critical, but many student-athletes miss opportunities to create the connections they’ll need to successfully transition from sport to career.

Through stories, case studies, and exercises, discover how to build professional relationships and create networks of support.   Learn how to find and approach mentors and sponsors, and build and maintain professional connections to help you successfully navigate your early career.

D. TBD (President's Suite)



A constellation of Inclusive Excellence… How You Can Make The Stars Align featuring Jen Fry (DQ Room)

Diversity and Inclusion are words that are consistently used, but many times lack the action that is truly needed to help start transforming individuals, teams, and departments. Within this session we will critically discuss personal identities and how those identities effect interactions with co-workers, staff members, coaches, athletes, hiring, firing, recruiting, handbooks, and policies. Identity must be critically considered in order to not only start, but maintain a diverse and inclusive environment.


Pick up your items on the way out!

4:00-6:00 Happy Hour! 

Attendees are invited across the street to Buffalo Wild Wings immedateily following the WCS. We'll continue conversations, network, catch up, and unwind "off the court"

(Buffalo Wild Wings, 2001 University Ave SE)