Priority Health, Detroit Pistons team up to encourage young women with “Girls Dream Big”

Deanna Nolan
Month-long series of webinars will bring together accomplished women from different areas of sports to support dreams of young women
Allen Einstein (NBAE/Getty)
by Vince Ellis
Special for Pistons.com

Deanna Nolan could be heard clearly.

But the former Detroit Shock star struggled with the visual aspects of video conferencing technology Thursday afternoon during the first of a series of webinars for young women sponsored by the Detroit Pistons and Priority Health.

“Still working on the visual,” Nolan joked when asked to give insights into her journey from growing up in Flint to winning three titles with Shock.

It didn’t stop Nolan and four other accomplished women from delivering messages of confidence, courage and curiosity – all helpful traits to succeed in life.

Called “Girls Dream Big,” the series of webinars will be hosted by Sabrina Galloway, the wife of Pistons guard Langston Galloway.

The series is part of the Pistons’ celebration of women and will highlight female leaders in sports, media, entertainment, leadership and entrepreneurship.

More than 200 participants registered to listen to the first outing, which featured a panel of Nolan, WNBA commissioner Cathy Englebert, NBA G League representative Stacey Lovelace, Olympian ice dancer Meryl Davis and Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud.

The series is being held in response to the cancellation of a women’s summit that was going to be held March 20 when the Pistons were scheduled to face the Golden State Warriors.

Sports leagues have suspended games in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but community relations and sponsorship activation continue.

That’s led to the Pistons pivoting to the series of webinars. Journalist Jemele Hill, a Detroit native, TV personalities Rachel Lindsay and Hilary Golston, radio personality Shannon Murphy and MLive Media Group journalist Lauren Williams are scheduled to participate in the May 21 panel.

Nolan, who is still pondering a career overseas, told listeners of her journey with the Shock, an example of perseverance.

After a stellar career at Georgia, she was drafted by the Shock in 2001.

The Shock tied for the worst record in the league.

The next season, coached by Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer, the Shock won its first title.

“Growing up, I was always confident in myself,” Nolan said. “I don’t know if that was due to being a tomboy when I did everything with the guys. Whatever they did, I did.

“You could see I was different from the average girl and I was always confident. Going into basketball and going to each level you always want to see what you can do next level.”

“I always wondered what could I do, what could I achieve at the next level and of course, everybody goes through hard times.”

But the key is how you respond to adversity, which was huge part the message from all panelists.

Englebert said the key is the “three Cs.”

“Have courage, be curious and be confident because courage, curiosity and confidence is so important in this day and age,” she said.

To register for future webinars, go here: https://www.nba.com/pistons/girls-dream-big-series.

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