Because of Title IX: Kristin Gillette

Assistant Director of Athletics, MidAmerica Nazarene University

Finish this sentence: “Because of Title IX...”

I could have a career in athletics. I get to coach girls and women in sport. My son respects girls. My daughter has opportunity. I am an athlete.

How have the athletic and academic opportunities afforded to you because of Title IX impacted your life? Can you imagine your life without them?

I took full advantage of my athletic ability for higher education. However, many of my teammates didn’t use athletics to continue their education. It is imperative that we help champion these young women to take advantage of athletic opportunities for their academic achievement.

Tell us about a woman who championed you in pursuing your goals. How did her influence inspire or affect you and your career?

There have been so many women along the way: Jeannie Talbott, Cara Riggs, Jill Rector Slominski, Helen Higgs, Donna Noonan, Lori Thomas, Kathy Busch, Susan Strobel, Sarah Dee, my mom, and many more. These women have led by example. They do what they do well. They open doors for me, spend time and mentor me, cry and laugh with me, kick me in the pants and pat me on the back. I couldn’t be where I am without them. I only hope to pay it forward to others.

How are you continuing to champion the next generation of women and girls in sports, and raise awareness on the importance Title IX?

I had the unique opportunity working in the NAIA National Office and getting to know the women of the NAIA. It has been important to me to make sure these women have opportunities to go to professional development (so I helped provide scholarships for IAA), worked with Monique AJ Smith to highlight African American women in sport using Chat in the Garden, helped host the Women of the NAIA social at the National Convention to make sure we have time together to build each other up. As I move on to campus, I hope to help both men and women to not know the difference between a male or female in athletics positions, provide opportunities beyond the playing field, and help my own children reach their potential with a balanced, fun approach.

If you could send an empowering tweet to every woman and girl across the country, what would you send?

Be intentional when making decisions to afford women and girls opportunities and support.

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