Connect hosted 25 professionals in sports tourism who all had two things in common: a desire for professional growth… and being female. The group represented the variety of roles reflective not only in our professional roles, but personally as well. Attendees were single, married, mothers, grandmothers. All were seeking the kind of experiences that only come from open sharing in a safe space. Here is some what I came home from the Women in Sports Tourism Forum in Palm Springs, California.
Recognize and value your cheerleaders.
The sisterhood that we experience as women in sports tourism should be embraced and celebrated. Instead of an industry culture that promotes the cutthroat antics of other professions, we find ourselves celebrating and building each other up. We share in a desire to see growth and change in the industry that only comes from banding together in encouragement and support. One of the women in attendance shared with the group her new job opportunity and upcoming interview. The forum served as a resource as she prepared herself for the interview. The outpouring of support and well wishes for the interview during our time together was predicted. But the follow-up with her inquiring about the status post interview from almost every attendee and the continued support is the result of this sisterhood.
Know your worth and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
There is no shortage of research that supports the gender inequity in compensation in the work place. Sports tourism doesn’t seem to be much different—not just in compensation but in title and responsibilities. All too often, we find ourselves taking on the additional responsibilities and roles, both professionally and personally, without receiving the corresponding recognition from our peers. Collectively, we must get over our self-imposed hurdles, remove the emotion, gather the information and appreciate and recognize the value in what we accomplish. It’s time to “woman up” to ask for it.
Understand your true colors.
One of the most valuable exercises from the forum came down to four colors. Gold, Green Orange and Blue served as indicators simplifying the complex world of temperaments and personalities. It was a technique showing us how to navigate, manage and collaborate better with each other. Learning the differences in how people thrive is the key to creating a successful team. This exercise provided participants with not only important self-identification and realization, but also with direct and useful insight into behaviors and how to manage, motivate and communicate with others for success based on identified temperaments, values and needs.
Sarah Kirchberg is senior business development manager at St. Petersburg/Clearwater (Florida) Sports & Events.