As part of the Chamber’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we hosted a conversation, in partnership with NJM Insurance Group, with Carli Lloyd, Captain of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and a panel of women leading the way on and off the field in the sports industry.

Four key takeaways emerged from the conversation to support, empower, inspire, and encourage women in any industry:

1. EMPTY THE TANK each and every day

Throughout the discussion, Lloyd underscored the necessity of hard work, to excel as an athlete or succeed in any career. For women looking to advance, she encouraged attendees to:

“Show up. Ask Questions. Want to Learn. Force the Issue.”

Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center at Comcast Spectacor, referenced the work of legendary University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball coach Pat Summit’s rallying cry that “women should compete like men and be focused on winning.” Camillo went on to articulate that:

“Hard work, resiliency, and pushing yourself is a big part of success. Make sure those don’t get overlooked as part of the formula.

Roc Nation Sports agent Kimberly Miale embodied this work ethic as she was Skyped in to participate in the panel due to an unexpected meeting with an important client.

2. BE AUTHENTIC and people will follow

Lloyd introduced the idea of authentic leadership and the importance of being yourself to earn respect from your team:

“I lead by example, I do all the right things on and off the field.”

Camillo discussed that when she started her career in the 90’s, there were subtle pressures to act like a man but that things are changing:

“What I’ve seen over the last few years is that there’s much more of an appetite and acceptance to be yourself as a leader and I think it’s going to unlock a great deal of potential for women. You want to follow an authentic leader doing authentic things and being themselves in a female voice.”

ESPN news editor Claire Smith said it was refreshing that the younger generation of women in sports aren’t trying “to out guy the guys” and instead:

“The younger generation is so comfortable with being themselves. They’re not replicating what the men are doing. They’re allowing their inner self to say this is the intelligent approach. This is my approach. And it’s not going to be same as the gentleman sitting next to me.”

3. RELATIONSHIPS ARE KEY on and off the field

Both Smith and Miale described how developing meaningful connections with the important women around the players (wives, mothers, etc.) enabled them deepen their working relationships and gain more meaningful access to those players. Smith described that:

“I always pay attention to the dimensions around the players. It always helps build that relationship. It is equally as important as the one you’re building with the person on the field.”

Camillo also underscored that, traditionally, leaders hired and promoted individuals that reflect themselves and that in many ways that’s changing. However, she warned that we need to cultivate women in roles that are responsible for revenue and strategy as those are typically the job types that are feeding chief executive roles.

4. FEAR IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD don’t use it

When asked how she handles fear and doubt, Carli Lloyd had a simple answer:

“I don’t fear anything. I don’t fear any opponent. I don’t fear any challenge.”

Lloyd went on to encourage attendees to use fear, doubt, and failure as fuel to turn their weaknesses into strengths and that:

“Successful people are just addicted to continuing to become better.”

As a young entrepreneur, co-founder of The Gist, Ellen Hyslop described the experience of starting her business as entering the unknown, and that it was probably more frightening for those who cared about her than for herself. She asked attendees to:

“Change the mindset from fear to ‘let’s try something new.’ If it works, great. If it doesn’t, great – you’re still learning.”

Camillo suggested that we not focus too much on our identity, and instead turn attention to our confidence and capabilities. Camillo asked attendees to not walk into a room with their eyes on themselves and instead:

“When I walk into a room, I walk into a room as the president of the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center. The first thing in my mind is not that I’m a woman.”

The program was moderated with skill and humor by 6ABC WPVI-TV Anchor Sharrie Williams, who summarized the discussion with:

“Change happens on purpose and representation matters.”

View event photos on Facebook and follow the conversation on Twitter @ChamberPHL and #DiversityPHL.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This program is part of the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative (DEI) which focuses on workforce, workplace, and marketplace diversity as keys to economic competitiveness while working to highlight diverse employee populations that are underrepresented in the region.