Ready to Lead: 2021 NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports Executive Institute class includes top industry executives


July 22, 2021

Beth Sigman Somerset
Women Leaders in College Sports
[email protected] 

Kansas City, Mo.— Women Leaders in College Sports (Women Leaders) hosted its intensive four-day NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports Executive Institute (EI) July 19-22, 2021, in a virtual format. EI is a biennial advanced professional development program for executive level women in college athletics administration. This year’s event included 23 talented and diverse women from all three NCAA divisions who are Women Leaders members.  

Begun in 2002 and in partnership with the NCAA, EI provides an immersive leadership experience that positions women for advancement to the highest level. Candidates are selected through a comprehensive two-part process which requires an application and a qualified recommendation. EI includes two separate tracks, a Division I track and a Division II/III track. 

Among the experts engaged as speakers for EI 2021 were university presidents and chancellors and experts inclusive of search firm representatives, industry consultants, and sitting athletic directors. 
“The purpose of EI is to provide a platform for women to enhance their executive presence and leadership brand, understand the nuances of the search process, gain connections with key industry influencers—and ultimately, win executive-level jobs” said Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports.  

The advancement success rate for EI attendees illustrates the program’s impact. Of 62 women in the last three classes (2015, 2017, and 2019), 45 women (73%) have advanced either to athletic director positions (18 women or 29% of attendees) or through other promotions (27 women or 43%).   
The 2021 Executive Institute participants included:  

Division I Track
  • Leah Beasley, Mississippi State University 
  • Jenny Bramer, San Diego State University 
  • Tracy Ellis-Ward, Big East Conference 
  • Katie Fraumann, University of Michigan 
  • Tiffini N. Grimes, University of Alabama 
  • Farrah Manthei, University of Illinois Chicago 
  • Dr. Lauren (Cevis) Rhodes, Penn State University  
  • Allison Rich, Princeton University 
  • Dawn Rogers, Baylor University 
  • Tiffany Tucker, University Of North Carolina, Wilmington 
  • Jaunelle White, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 
  • Mattie White, Indiana University, Bloomington 

Division II/III Track
  • Cat Alves, John Jay College of Criminal Justice 
  • Myra Blow, Clark Atlanta University 
  • Abby Davis, Arkansas Tech University 
  • Stephanie Dollar, University of Massachusetts, Boston 
  • Betsy Feutz, Lindenwood University 
  • Stephanie Johnson, Brevard College 
  • Amanda Knight, Barry University 
  • Jeanette McKillop, Franklin Pierce University 
  • Andrea Preston, Goucher College 
  • Casie Runksmeier, Mitchell College 
  • Katie Tarr, Bryn Mawr College

About Women Leaders in College Sports

Founded in 1979, Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) is the only nationally recognized collegiate professional membership organization whose mission is to develop, connect, and advance women leaders working in intercollegiate athletics. More than 3,800 members strong, Women Leaders promotes the growth, leadership, and success of women as athletics administrators, conference commissioners, professional staff, coaches, and student-athletes. Read about the recent advancement landscape for women athletic directors in CEO Patti Phillips’ May 2021 USA Today op-ed, and follow Women Leaders on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @WomenLeadersCS.