She Competes: Serving as a DEI Driver of Change

Perhaps more rapidly than at any other time in recent history, the landscape for diversity, equity and inclusion is shifting in society and in sports. Driven in large measure by the influence of younger generations, the time is ripe for change. That message was one of the primary points of emphasis in the recent SheCompetes webinar hosted by USA Lacrosse.

The webinar panelists were Sabah Cambrelen of PWC, Soyini Chang of Quantam Power Skills, Brooke Wilson of Lacrosse the Nations and Eboni Preston Laurent of USA Lacrosse. Angie Benson of Blaxers Blog and Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse served as the moderator.

The panelists noted that change can happen on both the institutional and the grassroots levels and agreed that even one individual can make a difference, with sports serving as a potentially powerful platform.

“There are a lot more people who are ready to get their feet on the ground,” Wilson said. “On an individual level, sports can be a very special connecter in exercising humanity and seeing that we are all capable of contributing.”

Conversely, despite good intentions, sometimes institutional efforts can be slow.

“Many organizations want to make DEI important, but they just don’t know how,” Chang said. “Change on an institutional level has to be holistic and well thought out in order to be effective and sustainable.”

The measures of success in DEI efforts can be done in many ways.

“Success in diversity is usually measured in representation but should also be specific to movement,” Cambrelen said. “More than just the representation we are looking for, how are people moving in, up and out of our organization? What are the equities or inequities among those movements?

Evaluating and measuring inclusion can be harder than just measuring representation and requires active engagement with people and hearing their voices.

“We need to understand the real experiences that people are having,” Cambrelen said. “How are people of different backgrounds and identities really experiencing their own journey within our organizations and institutions?”

Within the lacrosse community, alleviating the barriers to participation has been a primary DEI focus at USA Lacrosse.

“We have been placing greater resources and support behind including those that are part of marginalized communities, such as youth of color, or those playing adaptive or wheelchair lacrosse,” Preston Laurent said. “At USA Lacrosse, we’ve been examining our practices and the way we do things to determine what DEI success looks like for us.”

Accountability from both within and outside of each organization is important to sustain progress.

“At times, you have to engage in some challenging conversations,” Preston Laurent said. “But sometimes, we have to challenge ourselves in the work that we are doing.”

The panelists were all optimistic that continued progress in diversity, equity and inclusion looms ahead.

“DEI has to be leveraged for the growth and vitality of business, but also for the well-being of people,” Chang said. “We’re seeing more and more organizations activating the shifts that they have needed to do for a while, and I think we’re going to see more of that as DEI continues to evolve.”

Most Recent

Dialed In: Your Lacrosse Fix for Tuesday, May 30

Notre Dame wins its first-ever NCAA men's lacrosse championship.

Dialed In: Your Lacrosse Fix for Monday, May 29

Northwestern dominated BC to win its first national championship since 2012.

Dialed In: Your Lacrosse Fix For Friday, May 26

Championship Weekend is here and we've got everything you need to be prepared.

World Lacrosse Gets Steve Aoki for Championship Opener, Adds Brazil

It was a busy news days for the sport's international governing body Thursday.

Twitter Posts