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, CEO, WeCOACH


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, featuring a panel of women coaches (Indoor Club Room)

Laura Burnett-Kurie, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Gustavus Adolphus College

Anya Covington, Assistant Women's Basketball Coach, UW-Milwaukee

Jennifer Green, Assistant Women's Gymnastics Coach, University of Iowa

moderated by Megan Kahn, CEO, 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. Administrators Meeting, The Path to Leadership from Student-Athlete to Athletic Director and Everywhere In-Between, Andrea Schmidt & Jacquelyn Randall (President's Suite)

High school sports have made strides in gender equity in sport offerings and participation opportunities over the past fifty years.  Unfortunately, the same growth has not been reflected in the administration of these sports. Across the United States, less than fourteen percent of high school and nineteen percent of collegiate athletic administrators identify as women.  Title IX has ensured that at least fifty percent of all high school and collegiate athletic opportunities are available to girls and women, so why aren’t those numbers translating to coaching and leadership positions as women enter and progress in the professional world?

Two current athletic administrators with collegiate and high school experience will discuss  trends with current and perspective coaches and athletic administrators in an effort to arm them with strategies and tools to help move and steady the needle.  They will touch on career roadblocks, explicit and implicit biases, and gender role expectations that ultimately limit the path to higher level coaching and professional sport leadership roles for women.  More importantly, they will discuss capitalizing on opportunities, curating connections with male allies, pivoting in your career, and acquiring language stems that curb microaggressions for women currently in coaching and administrative roles.

11:05-12:05 JEAN K. FREEMAN KEYNOTE featuring 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. Building Blocks of Success, Lea B. Olsen of Rethink the Win (DQ 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.

B.Changemakers in Women's Sport Panel,Kerri HeffernanKari Krakow,  Muna Mohamed,  Alicia PeltonMaria Stuber (Indoor Club Room)

This panel constellation is comprised of women in sport coaching changemakers at all levels of sport from across the country! They will share initiatives they are involved in, why they started the initiatives, lessons learned, and offer advice and insight on how to create change in the system for women and girls in sport. Attend this session to learn from women on the forefront of making a difference.

C. STUDENT & STUDENT-ATHLETE TRACK, Adapting Your Communication, Pam Baker, Cindy Hunt of Journeous (M Club Room)

Knowing how to adapt to the communication preferences of those around us - coaches, teammates, leaders and professors - allows athletes to make the most of their campus and athletic experience and prepares them to thrive in the workplace just as they did in sport. In this session on Adaptive Communication, you’ll learn how to communicate and connect easily and efficiently while being able to identify and remedy signs of distress that signal communication breakdown. You’ll discover why understanding the science of communication allows you to improve the clarity and effectiveness of your communication, gain an increased potential to lead change and gain support for your ideas and how to avoid communication breakdowns so you can improve the quality of all interactions - on the field, in the classroom and at home. 

D. Coaching the Whole Athlete – Transforming the Girls’ Sport Pipeline, Emily Stets of The Aspen Institute (President's Suite)

In late 2019, high school phenom runner Mary Cain’s New York Times op-ed illustrated cracks in the girl’s sport pipeline, including issues of disordered eating, emotional abuse at the hands of ill-equipped coaches, and other mental health concerns. How do we move forward from these stories and create a pipeline that does not sacrifice girls’ mental and physical health in the name of athletic success, but rather supports their holistic development physically, mentally, and emotionally?

Guided by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society program’s Calls for Coaches report, attendees will engage in a solutions-based session to discuss concrete strategies and best practices coaches can use to model and create positive, safe environments for female athletes. Together, we can catalyze a “constellation” of partners to transform our girls’ sport pipelin


A. Landing Your Message: Adapting Your Communication to Advocate, Recruit and Lead, Pam 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. 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. The Playbook: A Woman’s Guide to Life and Money, Sara Asatiani & Brent Gray (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 to the Indoor Club Room in TCF Bank Stadium immedately following the WCS. We'll continue conversations, network, catch up, and unwind "off the court."