Atlanta Hawks She Leads Summit
(BJ Johnson Photography)

Hawks Empower the Next Generation of Women Leaders at Inaugural 'She LEADS' Summit

Fifty Early-Career Atlanta Women Attended a Special Day of Programming as Part of Yearlong Commitment Focused on Professional Development, Leadership and Self-Advocacy for Women; Civil Rights Icon Xernona Clayton Presented with First ‘She LEADS’ Award

ATLANTA – Earlier today, the Atlanta Hawks hosted our first summit, ‘She LEADS’ at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex, the official practice and training facility of the team, in Brookhaven, GA. The inaugural summit featured discussions, skill-building, and networking focused on developing, encouraging, and celebrating 50 Atlanta early-career women leaders.

As part of the event, the participants listened to local women leaders from various industries discuss the importance of championing gender equality by empowering young women to be bold, courageous, persistent, and strive for greatness. 

The one-day summit tipped off a yearlong program in which the 50 women will be paired with a mentor who aligns with their desired career pathway. Throughout the year, curated programming and checkpoints will continually engage and track their progress. The various programs include a mentorship program, quarterly workshops and gatherings, and a graduation to celebrate the program’s conclusion. 

“The summit is designed to inspire, celebrate and empower early-career women to build legacies that last for multiple generations,” said Camye Mackey, EVP and Chief People, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Hawks and State Farm Arena. “This level of success not only benefits the women in this cohort but also strengthens the city of Atlanta.” 

The summit included speakers who covered topics in business, entertainment, entrepreneurship, equity and belonging, innovation and technology, and more.

Featured speakers included Rashan Ali (Actress and Media Personality), Kimberly Blackwell (Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PMM Agency), Dr. Maxine Cain (Founder and President, STEM Atlanta Women, Inc.), Alyse Eady (News Anchor, FOX5’s Good Day Atlanta), Chanel Frazier (Managing Director, BlackRock), Dr. Kensa Gunter (Licensed Clinical and Sport Psychologist), LeAndra Jordan (Site Lead, The Garage at Microsoft), Morgan Shaw Parker (President and Chief Operations Officer, Atlanta Dream), Laura Prunty (Former News Anchor and Member of the Lady Hawks Auxiliary Group), Kim Rometo (Chief Innovation and Technology Officer, Hawks and State Farm Arena), Dr. Maureen Schumacher (Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Global Payments Inc.), and more. 

During the summit, Xernona Clayton was presented with the first She LEADS Award for her civic work and contributions to Atlanta. The She LEADS Award is given to a woman who is a trailblazer and exemplifies care for the welfare of women in Atlanta.

Clayton is a civil rights leader and pioneering broadcasting executive best known as the founder and CEO of the Trumpet Awards, an annual awards program distributed internationally to more than 185 countries. The program features the accomplishments of African Americans in a variety of fields.

In 1968, she became the first Black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, “Variations”, which later became “The Xernona Clayton Show”. 

“We all have to realize now, the reality of life. Women make the world go round, and that’s exactly what they’re doing today; going round and round, higher and higher, one round at a time,” said Ms. Clayton. “I am grateful for the award given to me today. The award is the stimulus to go higher and higher, and to help everyone, men and women, reach the top.”

The afternoon featured breakout sessions on non-traditional careers in sports, tips for financing entrepreneurial efforts, steps to climbing the corporate ladder, brand building, building confidence in the workplace, and tips for launching an effective business.

The workshops were facilitated by Deisha Barnett (President of Global Communications, UPS), Jasmine Elliott (Program Coordinator, Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative), Levetta Futrell (Vice President, Entertainment Industry Relations, Hawks and State Farm Arena), Monica Delores Hooks (Executive Director, Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative), Janice Koon (Vice President of G League and 2K Operations, Hawks and State Farm Arena), Meagan Naraine (Co-Founder, Culturally Relevant Science), Carolyn Pitt (Founder and CEO,, Melissa Proctor (Chief Marketing Officer, Hawks and State Farm Arena), and Jacque Rushin (Partner, Alexander & Rushin Holistic Mental Health and Wellness, LLC).

The summit concluded with skill-building workshops on creating connection and championing equity and belonging, engaging in empowering conversations, and navigating workplace dilemmas for women. 

The Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena are committed to being a valued community asset that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels. Within the city of Atlanta, a melting pot of different backgrounds and beliefs, the organization strives to be a reflection of the various walks of life that call this great city home and fosters an environment that embraces all communities with equality and respect.

For more information about the Hawks and State Farm Arena’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, please visit