We covered a lot in the 2020 BreakThrough Summit. Here’s a recap of our favorite moments from the two-day event.

December 2020 marked year two of the BreakThrough Summit hosted by Hudl and WeCOACH. It looked a bit different compared to our 2019 inaugural event—our emcee, speakers and panelists, took the stage from their homes. But even with the changes in logistics and functionality, the messages they communicated were just as powerful, just as educational and possibly even more inspiring.

We were fortunate enough to welcome back some familiar faces, including our resident emcee, ESPN Basketball Analyst LaChina Robinson who kept the afternoons flowing from one session to the next and Betsy Butterick, The Coaches’ Coach, who shared her expertise on how to navigate difficult conversations. 

Our roster of speakers enlightened us with their knowledge and experience while leaving us questioning how we can all play a bigger part in paving the way for women.

Supporting Each Other Through Change

There’s no denying that women can often feel isolated in the sports industry. Even today, less than half of women’s collegiate teams are coached by women. Our headliners, former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw and South Carolina & Team USA women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley know this feeling well. 

In our one-on-one interview with McGraw, she shared the importance of having role models to look up to and how that influences her recruitment. “When so many athletes are Black women, they need those role models to look up to,” she went on to say. Her philosophy for hiring the right women stems from action. Those actions start with getting out there, in the gym, and really getting to know the women on the sidelines and continuously networking so you always have a shortlist of those you’d want to hire. 

For Staley, she talked about how being involved in sports helps better equip you to deal with the things going on in the world. Staley has used her platform as a Black woman to navigate the pandemic, social justice and mental health issues affecting today’s coaches and student-athletes. 

And speaking of mental health, our session on student-athlete mental health brought about some staggering statistics. As our panelist Abigail Eiler, Asst. Athletic Director and Director of Athletic Counseling, University of Michigan, mentioned, it's harder than ever to maintain connections through the new limitations we faced during the pandemic. She went on to further say that even with these negative impacts, athletes have found a sense of resiliency and found ways to embrace their identity both in sport and away from sport. 

Committing to Excellence

Hall-of-Famer and legendary softball coach Sue Enquist brought the real talk while reminding us to be humble in our quest for excellence. She covered her self-proclaimed five pillars of success and sparked a little pep in our step.

In the Supporting Women in Coaching panel, we had the privilege of hearing from a group of industry leaders who shed light on what it takes to build success around our female counterparts. As Jen Brooks, Athletic Director, Ursuline Academy (MO), put it, “We also have to keep in mind that there are many women who never had a coach look like them, so they may struggle to see themselves as a coach.” She stressed how it’s more important than ever to be planting the seed for young women and inviting them to come back and be part of this industry one day. 

Final Note

During last year’s event, we covered a lot of ground—from the pandemic to social injustice to navigating difficult conversations. Our sessions were packed with inspiration and encouragement. Take it from Shimmy Gray-Miller, University of Minnesota assistant women’s basketball coach, who said during the “Using Your Platform To Drive Social Change” panel, “I know my why, so I allow my why to empower, to engage, to impact, to lead, to serve young women. And I allow my why to be my guiding light in what I do and how I live my life.” 

Didn’t have a chance to join us for our 2020 event? You can still watch all of the recordings here.