Rap­tors launch She The North

Speaker series aims to em­power women in the sports in­dus­try

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Tues­day, Novem­ber 14, 2017

The Toronto Rap­tors are set­ting up big scores, both on the hard­wood and in the front of­fice.

A new speaker series, She The North, looks to em­power women in the sports in­dus­try. It was launched last week as part of Maple Leaf Sports and En­ter­tain­ment’s women lead­er­ship forum — an ef­fort to in­spire young girls in the com­mu­nity, cre­ate an in­clu­sive cul­ture within the or­ga­ni­za­tion and share sto­ries of women’s im­pact in lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

“Sports and en­ter­tain­ment is still a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try,” said Teresa Resch, the Rap­tors’ vice-pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball op­er­a­tions and player de­vel­op­ment. “It is re­ally im­por­tant to demon­strate the wide va­ri­ety of roles that women have within the Rap­tors team.”

This past sum­mer alone, team pres­i­dent Ma­sai Ujiri brought four women into lead­er­ship roles. They in­clude man­ager of player de­vel­op­ment Shelby Weaver, phys­io­ther­a­pist Amanda Joaquim, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Jennifer Quinn and data an­a­lyst Brit­tni Don­ald­son. That brought the num­ber of women within the Rap­tors’ front of­fice to 11, which is “pretty un­heard of in the in­dus­try,” said Resch.

“It’s still not equal but it’s a larger num­ber than what a lot of teams have. So telling that story of suc­cess is im­por­tant,” she said, adding that men also have to be part of the con­ver­sa­tion to en­cour­age di­ver­sity in sports. “Ev­ery­body has to feel like they’re wel­come and there’s a seat for them at the ta­ble. That’s what em­pow­er­ing women is.”

The NBA has made great strides in en­cour­ag­ing women to join lead­er­ship ranks. Most no­tably, the San An­to­nio Spurs have a woman in the role of as­sis­tant coach (Becky Ham­mon), and last month the Atlanta Hawks hired Michelle Leftwich to be the team’s vice-pres­i­dent of salary cap ad­min­is­tra­tion. How­ever, there’s still no women in the gen­eral man­ager, team pres­i­dent or head coach roles across the en­tire league of 30 teams.

Resch said the lead­er­ship po­si­tions al­ready filled by women show that they’re ca­pa­ble of ex­celling in jobs they didn’t get an op­por­tu­nity to do in the past.

“We want to win a cham­pi­onship here,” she said. “Ul­ti­mately what we’re try­ing to do is to build ad­vo­cates who ad­vance women so they’re part of this process.” Teresa Resch — sec­ond from left, next to Rap­tors pres­i­dent Ma­sai Ujiri — is one of the peo­ple or­ga­niz­ing the series.

Con­trib­uted

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