Institute for Advancement


June 25-27, 2023 in Kansas City, MO

 The NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports Institute for Advancement (IA), formerly known as Institute for Administrative Advancement (IAA) is the premier "level one" leadership development program for women in sport. An engaging faculty—including leaders representing all NCAA divisions, industry trailblazers, and executives in women's sports will prepare, empower and inspire participants to elevate their performance and advance within the industry.

Program Goals

  • Improve performance and industry skills specific to working in sports (fundraising, revenue generation, sports supervision, crisis management, organizational operations).
  • Develop career strategies to plan your path for advancement.
  • Engage in self-exploration and reflection to build self-awareness and pursue your leadership potential
  • Connect with network of women who will support you in your career journey for years to come.

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

  • Current Women Leaders in College Sports member or anyone interested in becoming a member prior to the event.
  • A minimum of four years of full-time intercollegiate athletics or sport business related industry experience.
  • Currently working in intercollegiate athletics or a sport industry related job or desires to move into athletics/sport industry role. 
  • Able to attend the entire 2 days of in-person programming.

Application & Selection Process

Applications Open: February 27th

Applications Close: April 3rd at 11:59pm CT

Applications will be reviewed by the Women Leaders in College Sports Education & Professional Development Committee and selections are made based on ensuring diversity in age, leadership duties, division, and ethnicity. 75-85 participants are selected to attend the combined NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports IA annually.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their application no later than April 14th. You must be a Women Leaders member to participate. (Not a member? Join Here

Program and Application Questions? Email Nyia Duncan.


Tuition fees are $650 per participant and cover all registration fees, program materials, training, and 2.5 days of dynamic programming. *Please note tuition fees DO NOT include travel expenses to Kansas City, MO*

Thanks to the generous support of the Women Leaders in College Sports Foundation Fund, multiple IA scholarships are made available for 2023. To apply for the scholarship and request additional information visit our Scholarships page or contact Nyia Duncan.

Cancellation Policy

Registration cancellations must be received in writing by 5pm May 19th. Refunds will be processed within 30 days following the event. Refunds will not be granted after those dates nor will they be given for no-shows, no exceptions.

2022 Institute for Advancement Graduates

  • Casey Stangel, Director of Football Operations, Vanderbilt University
  • Sagemarie George, Director of NCAA Compliance, Saint Anselm College
  • Melanie Wilson, Assistant Athletic Director, SWA, Pfeiffer University
  • Alexa Webb, Assistant Director of Athletic Academic Services, The Ohio State University
  • Ashlesha Lokhande, Academic Advisor/ Diversity Advocate, Texas Christian University
  • Megan Smith, Assistant Athletic Trainer, University of Delaware
  • Cassandra Abrams, Director of Academic Support for OSAS, Bethune-Cookman University
  • Emily Gimpel, Executive Assistant, Director of Athletics and Recreation and Assistant Men's Golf Coach, University of Pennsylvania 
  • Gretchen Goodman, Athletics Health Care Administrator, Grand Valley State University
  • Sara Wiley, Associate Athletic Director for Olympic Athletic Performance, University of Minnesota
  • Amy Long, Head Lacrosse Coach/Assistant Athletic Director, Saint Mary's College 
  • Roseanna Smith, Director of Football Operations | Running Backs Coach, Oberlin College
  • Amber Cannady, Athletics Development & Alumni Relations Coordinator, New York University
  • Courtney Albritton, Director of Donor Relations & Stewardship, Louisiana State University
  • Emily Grant, Head Women's Soccer Coach, Wofford College
  • Alex Sommer, Athletic Academic Counselor/Student-Athlete Engagement Coordinator, The Ohio State University
  • Lauren McCree, Director of On-Campus Recruiting and High School Relations, Northwestern University
  • Donisha Carter, Assistant Director of Championships and Alliances, NCAA
  • Shawna Armstrong, SWA / Assistant Director of Athletics, Elmhurst University 
  • Theresa Barsanti, Director of Compliance, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Brianna Lipscomb, Assistant Athletic Director, Event Management, University of Pittsburgh 
  • Taylor McFall, Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development, Northwestern State University
  • Amber Thomas, Coordinator of Sports Administration and Championships, Centennial Conference
  • Brittany Connor, Internal Operations Assistant, Women Leaders in College Sports
  • Louise Bodack, Director of Student Affairs, Louisiana State University
  • Marie Brown, Director Of Ticket Operations, Maryland Athletics
  • Dana Mercola, Marketing Specialist, LEARFIELD
  • Erika Torrez, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, Wingate University
  • Barbara Davis, Director of Conference Operations, Big East Conference
  • Hallie Blasen, Assistant Director of Business Operations, University of Georgia 
  • Alison Burke, LEARFIELD
  • Haley Miller, Athletic Events Specialist, Cal Poly Humboldt
  • Jordan DeFilippo, Director of Athletic & Recreational Facilities & Operations, Palm Beach Atlantic University
  • Natalie Hawkins, Academic Coordinator, Iowa State University
  • Logan Brooks, Assistant Commissioner for Sports Administration & Championships, Ohio Valley Conference
  • Alex Butier, General Manager of TCU Ticket Sales, LEARFIELD
  • Madison Peterson, Assistant AD/SWA, Truman State University
  • Hayley Harnden, Events Manager/Facilities, University of Northern Iowa
  • Danielle O'Leary, Assistant Athletic Director, William Peace University
  • Taylor Jacobs, Compliance Coordinator, Louisiana State University
  • Hannah Campbell, Director of Marketing and Communications, Louisiana State University
  • Allison Callari, Senior Manager, Insights, LEARFIELD
  • Logan Phillip, Assistant Director- Compliance & Governance, Big 12 Conference 
  • Stephanie Harpenau, Assistant Director of Compliance, Purdue University
  • Alex Parker, Athletic Academic Coordinator, Morgan State University
  • Abbie Laajala, Assistant AD for External Relations/Senior Woman Administrator, Lake Superior State University
  • Jessica Drenth, Assistant Director of Athletic Training, Iowa State University
  • Kendall Rodriguez, Director of Administration and Operations, WBB, The University of Utah
  • Ashleigh Hicks, Coordinator for Administration and Business Operations, Tennessee State University
  • Rachel Rodriguez, Customer Success Manager, Game Plan
  • Marcia LaCroix, Assistant Athletic Trainer, University of Nebraska- Lincoln
  • Carson Dennis, MBA Candidate, Bryant University 
  • Valerie McQuade, Assistant Commissioner of New Media, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
  • Rebecca Shaw, Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics/Department Head, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Elizabeth Homan, Assistant Director, Student-Athlete Support, Campbell University
  • Megan Sanger, Assistant Commissioner for Compliance/SWA, South Atlantic Conference
  • Bailey Mathis, Associate Director of Athletics Development, Loyola University Maryland
  • Erin Dunston, Director of On-Campus Recruiting, The Ohio State University
  • Janelle Nguyen, Student-Athlete Development Coordinator, Washington State University
  • Erica Thompson, PhD Student - Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant, University of Louisville
  • Waashanas Jacobs, Operations Coordinator, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation - Kauffman Scholars, Inc.
  • MaryLynne Schaefer, Director of Program Development, Penn State University 
  • Paige Ottaviano, Assistant Tournament Director, Toledo Classic Inc, LPGA
  • Margaret Dwyer, Associate Director of Development, Athletics, University of Delaware
  • Samantha Norris, Head Women's Basketball Coach, University of Southern Maine
  • Kellie Vetter, Business Administrator, University of Pennsylvania
  • Lindsey Kellar, Head Women's Lacrosse Coach/Assistant AD Student-Athlete Wellness, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Lindsay Schutter, Director of Special Events, University of Minnesota
  • Jackie Sernek, Assistant Athletic Director/Head Women's Softball Coach, Cornell College
  • Meghan Foran, Asst. AD for Budget & Planning, SWA, Gannon University
  • Tianna Sinnott, Program Manager, The University of California, Davis
  • Ashlee Villarreal, Director of Operations-W. Basketball, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jordyn Kirr, Director of Administrative Projects & Operations, Clemson University
  • Jennelle Shaw, Assistant Athletic Director, Annual Giving, Rice University Athletics

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