Rising Star Spotlight: LaTaya Hillard-Gray

Senior Woman Administrator/Head Softball Coach, Winston-Salem State University

Who, or what, inspired and influenced you to choose a career in collegiate athletics? What’s your “why”?

After completing my undergraduate internship at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference office, I knew collegiate athletics was a field that I would enjoy. But it was my college coach, Tiny Laster, who influenced my move to a college campus. It was through his recommendation that I believe a career in collegiate athletics choose me.  I believe my "why" has been shaped by individuals and experiences that have impacted my life. My "why” is a burning passion to be great, to serve and to live life with purpose. 

How has Women Leaders played a role in your career?

Whether it be through sharing their experiences, encouragement to negotiate salaries and multi-year contracts, or demanding equity in sport, Women Leaders has significantly shaped my career in athletics.  How do you empower yourself and your team to manage up and across? In wanting to be great, you seek to surround yourself with great people. I work to be intentional in my actions and consider how they will not only impact me but others. So, I empower by encouraging all to have a voice and acknowledge that we all are relevant in the process of managing up and across. 

How are you excelling in your current job?

I wear a lot of hats and my experiences have equipped me with a diverse skill set that ranges beyond coaching and day to day administration.

What’s next?

Right now, I am focusing on our softball season and being a coach. In contemplating transition, I’m not sure right now. But I enjoy collegiate athletics, and whether it be on a college campus or conference office, I seek to be a valuable resource to student-athletes.