espnW’s “Impact 25” is a reminder that anyone can #MakeAnImpact


espnW editor-in-chief Alison Overholt (Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
espnW editor-in-chief Alison Overholt
(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)

On Tuesday, espnW released its inaugural “Impact 25” list – a who’s who of athletes and influencers who made the biggest imprint on women’s sports in the last year. Front Row caught up with espnW editor-in-chief Alison Overholt to discuss how the “Impact 25” was formulated.

How did the idea for the “Impact 25” come about?
It was a very collaborative effort, built on last year’s espnW’s “Impact 10” showcase. We wanted to turn that up a notch with a larger list that had a specific year-end focus on achievements. That will enable us to spark conversation and mark change and progress from year to year. It was also important to us to include both athletes and influencers — recognizing that making an impact takes place in so many venues, whether on the field, in the owner’s box, as a coach or in the back office.

What was some of the criteria used for making the determinations?
We conducted a baseline a survey of former athletes, sports industry influencers and ESPN editors and executives to identify standouts in two categories: athletes with the most significant accomplishments in this last year; and influencers who broke barriers or made significant advances on behalf of women in sports (don’t forget, we have men on this list!). Then we had some healthy debates within espnW’s editorial team on the reach of the storylines under consideration, across traditional and social media. Who was moving the needle this year for women in sports? Who was leading the conversation?

I’ve already seen on Twitter that people feel more motivated and inspired by the Impact 25 – it’s reminded them anyone can #MakeAnImpact.
espnW editor-in-chief Alison Overholt

Why create an “Impact 25” list, and what do you hope results from it?
News moves so quickly. It’s easy to cover athletic achievements and behind-the-scenes breakthroughs when they happen, then never look back or acknowledge them again. With a list like this, at this time of year, and by commissioning a few deeper interviews, features and profiles around a few of the folks in this group, it’s an opportunity to press pause and reflect and give these individuals an extended moment in the spotlight.

For fans, it’s an opportunity to relive some of the most game-changing developments of 2014. I’ve already seen on Twitter that people feel more motivated and inspired by the “Impact 25” — it’s reminded them anyone can #MakeAnImpact. That’s the best possible result for a project like this. We can’t wait to see who makes the list next year!

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