The third annual espnW Women + Sports Summit presented by Lexus kicks off Monday in Tucson, Ariz. The three-day event will unite women’s sports enthusiasts for an important dialogue around the growing importance of the women’s sports industry. This year’s Summit, themed ‘The Future Is Ours’, will focus on the significant role of women in sports through a mix of panel discussions, interactive work sessions and speakers.
Laura Gentile, vice president, espnW, spoke with Front Row about the Summit, an event she believes will “stimulate an important dialogue on the role and future of women in sports”.
This is the third annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit. How has the event evolved the past few years?
The Summit has become more forward-looking. The first year we were happy to gather a group of influencers in the women and sports space. The energy was tremendous. This year we’re focusing on developing real collaboration among attendees that will drive women forward in the sports marketplace – as fans, as decision makers, as athletes and participants. We’ve also increased the number of attendees from 140 in the first year to 250 this year.
It’s been a monumental year for women in sports from record-breaking performances by female athletes during the Summer Olympics to the 40th anniversary of Title IX. How will those milestones impact the discussion during this year’s Summit?
They will be central to the conversation. We’ll focus on capitalizing on those milestones and continuing the momentum while learning from the past year to positively impact the future. And we’re particularly excited to welcome some of the most accomplished female athletes from this year’s London Games, including sprinter Carmelita Jeter, gymnast Aly Raisman and beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh, as panelists.
The theme of this year’s Summit, ‘The Future is Ours’, indicates a growing opportunity for women and sports. What are your goals for the Summit, and what do you hope attendees and viewers of the Livestream take away from the event?
By bringing together a top-notch group of influencers, executives, athletes and innovators associated with women and sports, we hope to develop a game plan for growth across the industry. For those who aren’t able to attend the Summit, we hope the Livestreams encourage people to think and ask new questions about women in sports, the future and the possibilities.
Which sessions or panels are you most looking forward to and why?
All of them. The best part of the Summit is the gathering of such smart, inspiring people all in one place. I look forward to that environment, being inspired further about the possibilities for espnW and our industry and what we can accomplish collaboratively.
Click here for a list of Summit speakers and special guests to follow on Twitter.