espnW’s fifth Women + Sports Summit begins

DANA POINT, Calif. – Yesterday espnW kicked off its fifth “espnW: Women + Sports Summit,” and the annual conference will continue through Friday.

Youth sports grant announced

The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), in collaboration with espnW, today announced the “Sports 4 Life” grant initiative, a national effort to increase the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls, ages 11-18, in developmental youth sports programs.

The Summit brings together the top athletes and leaders in women’s sports, including Equinox President Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Women’s Tennis Association CEO Stacey Allaster and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan, Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne, Little League World Series sensation Mo’ne Davis and U.S. Paralympian Amy Purdy.

This year’s theme is “Making an Impact,” focusing on the influence athletes and business leaders have on the women’s sports landscape examined through open conversations, compelling presentations and expert panels. Throughout the multi-day event, ideas are turned into action items, aimed at driving greater opportunities for women in sports.

Front Row caught up with Vice President, espnW, Laura Gentile to talk about how the Summit intends to achieve its goals.

SportsCenter anchor  Sage Steele addressed the audience during the 2014 ESPNW Summit. (Kohjiro Kinno/ESPN Images)
NBA Countdown host and SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele addressed the audience during the 2014 espnW Summit.
(Kohjiro Kinno/ESPN Images)

Why is the Summit important, not just for women, but for the larger sports community?
The Summit is the only multi-day conference within the sports industry that focuses on the impact that women can make and are making. It brings together the brightest, most influential minds to work together and create change.

This year’s theme is “Making an Impact” – how is that reflected through the speakers and discussions scheduled?
Everything we have created at the Summit is built around the premise that we can all make an impact — big or small — on the sports landscape. We can make an impact in our own communities, in the industry, on the field – as executives, as athletes, as journalists, as leaders and as fans.

What do you expect to result from this year’s Summit?
I’d expect the strengthening of a network of women who are interested in working together and the casting of an even wider net to include passionate men who are supportive of what we’re building to give women and girls greater opportunities within sports.

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