ORLANDO – For the second straight year, the Orlando Magic celebrated International Women’s Day with a signature event.
In honor of the special day, the organization hosted over 100 women at the Magic’s Gamechang(HERS) Summit. The program brings together a group of influential women to empower and inspire current and future female leaders across sports, business, and the community.
The event featured three panels of speakers, which included Orlando Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell, UCF Women’s Soccer Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, U.S. Tennis Association’s Managing Director of Major Events Megan Rose, former WWE Superstar Torrie Wilson, RL Engineering and Tech Solutions CEO Rose LeJiste, and Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins. Those panels were moderated by Let’s Spill the Tea founder Monica May and Orange County Government Senior Public Information Officer Despina Barton.
The keynote speaker of the summit was Dr. Keita Joy, who shared her experiences as a success maximizer, motivational teacher, and CEO of Success Uncensored Coaching.
"I think people took a lot of key insights away from those conversations," said Magic Senior Vice President of Marketing and Social Responsibility Shelly Wilkes of the event. "They were really powerful discussions."
Points of emphasis throughout the event included the value of networking, leadership lessons, the importance of mentorship and providing inspiration for other leaders and future leaders. After the four-hour session, attendees were invited to a happy hour and provided tickets to attend the Magic’s home game against the Phoenix Suns.
"We really had the opportunity to uplift one another, network, and hear from fantastic speakers," said Wilkes. "The goal was really to find opportunities to connect. I think we were able to do that today. I think everybody walked away with some new connections in the room. It was really just an inspiring afternoon."
International Women's Day is a global holiday that commemorates the cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women. It serves as an important focal point for issues such as gender equity, equality, and empowerment.
The Magic celebrate diversity and embrace its many characteristics and the value it brings to both business and community—understanding what can be accomplished when everyone works together to achieve legendary moments. The Magic are committed to creating an environment in which employees, community partners and fans feel welcome, valued and appreciated. The Magic’s full-time staff includes close to 100 women, making up nearly 50 percent of their employees.
The Magic’s leadership team features a number of prominent women on both the business and basketball operations sides, including Director of Player Development and Basketball Operations Becky Bonner and Director of High Performance Lindsay Winninger.
"I have been here now for eighteen seasons and the organization has significantly grown in size. With that, there has been a commitment to diversity across all levels," Wilkes explained. "We are committed to continuing to diversify all levels of our organization. I think that Becky Bonner and Lindsay on the basketball operations side definitely show that we are committed at the Orlando Magic to create more diversity and more opportunities for women in the sports industry."