The mission of UMKC Athletics’ Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO) is to not only provide support for student-athletes during their time at UMKC, but also to prepare them for life after graduation. On Wednesday, April 10th, that support was on full display as professionals from all over the Kansas City Metro area engaged with UMKC female student-athletes for “Ladies Networking Night”.
Over 25 successful female professionals from diverse fields including medicine, engineering, communications, social work and business attended the event to share their valuable perspective with over 140 of UMKC female student-athletes.
The goal of the event was not to pair student-athletes up with a professional that has the job they are seeking to obtain one day, but instead for them to learn as much as they can from the successful female individuals that attended. The professionals shared their experiences, advice, hardships, successes, and realities of being a female in the workplace.
Cyrielle Kern, senior on Women’s Golf, stated, “It was amazing to get to know the professionals and learn about their experience, as well as learn about the challenges of being a woman in the professional world.”
The program began with an icebreaker game where questions were focused on getting to know each other and gaining basic knowledge about the professionals and their career paths. The second session featured a set of questions focusing on work-life balance. The third activity revolved around the “glass ceiling theory” and professionalism in and out of the office. Participants and student-athletes also engaged in networking and conversation between activities.
“Ladies Networking Night” closed out with a question and answer segment where student-athletes could ask any question they wanted or continue an in depth discussion from a previous session with the entire group.
Chyanne Onstad, junior on Softball, enjoyed the event and said, “The Ladies Networking Night made me realize that I can fail but still succeed and follow my goals in life. It also allowed me to network with women who may not have the same occupation I want to go into, but women who have been through it all and help guide me down my own path.”
Shermane Foster, junior on Women’s Track & Field, said that, “I enjoyed the question and answer session at the end because it made a lot of us comfortable with speaking with professionals. We were allowed to ask valuable questions and learn to communicate with potential mentors.”
This is the third Ladies Networking Night event hosted by UMKC SASSO. Amelia Howard, Assistant Director of Academic Support, noted that, “We were excited to offer this impactful programming for our female student-athletes and this may have been the most successful one so far.”
Ursula Gurney, Deputy Athletics Director/SWA, said that, “A core mission of our department is comprehensive excellence and Ladies Networking Night provides our female student-athletes with a comprehensive and immersive experience to help prepare them for the next step of their lives. We are thankful to all of the professional who gave of their time and truly inspired those in attendance.”
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