Talking Point

She Is Brenda Andress CWHL Commissioner

brenda andress, she is
Brenda Andress [Bespoke Bureau]

Lisa Ingarfield’s guest is Brenda Andress, Commissioner of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the Founder of the She Is Campaign

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Talking Point is hosted by Dr. Lisa Ingarfield

Podcast length: 49’55”

This month Lisa is joined by Brenda Andress, Commissioner of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and Founder of the She Is campaign; a project initiated to support women and girls in sport at all levels. They discuss the She Is campaign, why it was started and its stated goals.  Brenda played hockey at college level and now shapes the CWHL to create the world’s most successful professional hockey league; a place where women will ultimately earn a living in a sport at which they excel.  In 2013 Brenda was recognized with a Woman of Distinction Award by the YWCA for her work in championing accessibility and diversity in sport. That same year The Hockey News named Brenda as one of the powers of the future in their annual power and influence issue. In 2014 she was named the top 100 award winner as Canada’s most powerful woman by W X and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport. Most Influential Women of 2014 and 2015 Brenda’s new initiative. She is what’s best from a vision to create progressive change from a place of positivity. She is represents a sisterhood through sports and a cross pollination of support for women and girls everywhere.

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Talking Point_E10_ed.mp3

[00:00:00] Welcome to episode 10 of Talking Point on WiSP Sports Radio where we delve more deeply into the systemic barriers facing women in school. I’m your host. Police are in the field and talking point is co-produced by myself and WiSP Sports. at WiSP Sports we believe women in sport deserve equal coverage. Last month in episode 9 we chatted with Dr. George Bruinvels about her research in and passion for removing the taboos associated with girls and women’s menstrual cycles and its relation to our participation in school. This month we’re joined by Brenda Andress commissioner of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and founder of the she is Campaign a project designed to initiate sport for girls and women at all levels of sport. Brenda has hit. Talk to us about that she is campaign Brenda Andress discover hockey at 16 and became the first woman to ever play for a men’s college varsity team suiting up for Centennial College in 1978. Brenda also known as the thought leader is currently the commissioner on the Canadian Women’s National Hockey League for the past 11 years. Brenda has shaped and led to the CW Elle’s vision to create the world’s most exceptional women’s professional hockey league a place where women will ultimately earn a living playing a sport at which they excel. In 2013 Brenda was recognized with a Woman of Distinction Award by the YWCA for her work in championing accessibility and diversity in sport. That same year The Hockey News named Brenda as one of the powers of the future in their annual power and influence issue.

[00:01:34] In 2014 she was named the top 100 award winner as Canada’s most powerful woman by W X and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport. Most Influential Women of 2014 and 2015 Brenda’s new initiative. She is what’s best from a vision to create progressive change from a place of positivity. She is represents a sisterhood through sports and a cross pollination of support for women and girls everywhere. Welcome Brenda. We’re very excited to have you on the show today to talk about all of the work that you’ve been doing on this she is campaign. Thank you very much. I’m just as excited. So let’s begin kind of say you have a long history of working in the sports industry and looking to advocate for and advance women and girls. And so before we jump into this she is campaigns what are some of the challenges that you’ve noticed over your lifetime working in this area related to elevate and and supporting women’s sport and women in leadership positions in sport. Great question. It’s a question I think everybody asks themselves who when they enter into the sports will for women. You know it’s one of the things with everything I’ve ever done is that you always hear the same story no matter where you go or you chat with it’s the same story about women in sports and women in leadership positions in one of the things that you find out really quickly is there’s a ton of women in CEO positions in CEO positions in presidents that actually came from sport.

[00:03:09] And I think when you look at how those positions were held and how they accomplish those positions it was through sport that they learned some of the key lessons and some of the key opportunities for them to grow as you know teamwork the obstacles barriers they had to overcome this to play in the sport themselves. From a very early age I think. I didn’t actually know there was barriers when I was young. To me it was just like you know there’s hockey there’s basketball there’s no golf there’s many different things and to me it was like it’s very natural why when I play I’m the same as everybody else around me and I think very quickly you start to learn that it’s not so easy to accomplish what you want to accomplish. So lots of individuals that are in the male world has the opportunity to say they they know from a very young age that they can grow up and earn a living in any sport and if they can’t earn a living in that sport that they love they know that if they can’t play it then they can go into administrative duties ever they can coach it. They can become a commissioner. They can become operations managers and that was not true when I grew up and it’s still not totally true. But there’s more opportunities opening up for us and I think you know we talked so often about young women and what they see in front of them. You know the best example that somebody gave me and it kind of stuck in my head was if you’re a woman swimming every time you turn your head to come out of the water to breathe what you see is the male coach beside you walking up and down coaching you. You don’t see that female and you don’t see that person there.

[00:04:50] So it’s like it’s the same thing every time I turned my head on the bench growing up when I was lucky enough to play what I saw was male coaches what I saw was male organizers so you kind of start to ingrain yourself is is that perhaps there isn’t an opportunity for me perhaps there isn’t a place for me although I think for me it was more like oh my god I have to be in that place because obviously somebody is missing something if they were not there then it’s not right. So I think a lot of the barriers though I think came as as you get older and I think is you’re in the sport more and which is why she is was brought forward is this that the barriers that are a lot of them that are there they belong to us and those barriers are something that we can take down. And I think we have to start to take action or take those barriers down. So you know a great segue into thinking about the she has campaigned you know there are a lot of initiatives nationally and globally to really elevate women and girls in sport and to assist them in their work and engaging productively and effectively and working to take those barriers down. So why it. Tell us a little bit more about Xi ism and why it’s different you think. Well I think she is different because it came from positivity didn’t come from negativity.

[00:06:04] It it it’s about all of the commissioners coming together to recognize that our stories are the same our stories are now after many years 12 years and this can anyone in talking we know the longest women’s sports league anywhere. The W NBA and you look at them in our story when least when I read Lisa Borders story as commissioner. I’d say you could put my name in there and it would be the same story. You know we have to grow the fan base we have to get more sponsorship we have to get the media to cover us we need more this we need more that. That’s my story. That’s the story of golf. That’s the story of surfing that’s the story of fastpitch that’s the story of football and it’s like why is that story all the same. And then you know one of the things that is and you bang on when you said you know in today’s society there’s so many things going on in there there’s so many movements for women. But why. Why isn’t there a change. If there’s all this movement why isn’t there a change. And when I was thinking about doing something because I wanted to do something that would make a difference. One of the things I thought of is we’re really good we’re really good at putting together. You know a movement in putting together a march. But then what do we do. What do we do after that. Nothing. And so I wanted to create something that said OK if you really want to make a difference all of us as commissioners let’s come to the table and say let’s do something nobody else has done before and that is let’s us help ourselves.

[00:07:36] If every single one of our athletes because the personæ sports now that all the sports leagues and professional sports and even the national sports that are starting to join she is if all of us just supported us. If all of us just watched our stream games or our broadcast games our membership and our attendance would grow at a growth rate that the media and the sponsors would have to come to us because it’s like we are the buying power. But right now we are the buying power but we don’t stand up and make a statement with our own buying power. You know we get upset and we say this is it right and we say this isn’t shouldn’t happen but where’s the action. So I think one of the things one of the reporters said to me you know when we did this taking the pledge with all the commissioners which was historic in the fact that it’s the first time commissioners came together to support for cross pollinate each other sports. The guy came to me he said Brennan this is this is beautiful it’s a kumbaya moment. The women are great at Monument moments and I said you know you’re absolutely incorrect. This is not a crime by our moment. It is me standing up and saying to women if you want to make a difference then do something. I’m not being passive and not being you know the Kumbaya are saying let’s join hands and say this is what’s been done to us. For me the sponsors don’t follow me. You know why doesn’t the media write about me. It’s like no I don’t. I don’t need you. It isn’t about any of you people are. There is going to let us accomplish this goal.

[00:09:08] Now it’s about who’s going to stop us. But the people who are going to stop us. It isn’t them it’s us. So men follow other men’s sports men attend other men’s sports. We as women and men who have daughters and the mothers and aunts and sisters and want the sport to grow have to do the same thing. And so she is is is about calling into action about making a difference by being actionable about what you really want to do. And if at the end of the day if if nobody out there no women or no men want to actually say OK you know what we really think it’s it’s just so much easier to sit back and complain that sponsors don’t sponsor us or media doesn’t cover us or do you actually want to make a difference. And that’s where she is came from it’s like hey take the challenge Take the challenge and go out and watch a game or attend a game and then tweeted out social media and challenge two of your friends to also take action because nothing has ever happened in changing something unless action was taken. You can talk into your you forever and a day about what’s going to happen what we want to happen you know but until we actually get up and take that action. Change doesn’t occur. So you mentioned multiple commission has a number of times so who is involved in the campaign specifically. So we have across the border right now and so who isn’t involved.

[00:10:41] So you know we have we have the first original people that came onboard with Lisa Borders from the Women’s National Basketball Association Cheri Camp who’s the commissioner for the National Pro softball league Danny Rilen who’s the commissioner of the National Women’s Hockey League John Adams who’s the commissioner of the women’s professional lacrosse league. And then we have Michelle O’Keefe who’s president of basketball. We have Stacy Alister who everybody knows for professional tennis. We also have we had some great athletes on top of that you know Sammy Jo small Tessa Bynum who recognized us in those areas. I’m just calling up the actual list so don’t forget anybody and you know it’s not something you want to do in the midst of everything is is for forget people who are so important to us because you know I mean when we started out here’s the list that we first had. But then after that we’ve had so many people come on board and join us. And it’s so important for us to continue. You know the key people that would you know for us and in many different ways that has helped us grow you know recently we’ve had the El PGA who’s coming on board. We have the World Surfing who’s just come on board. We have Amanda Corvino from you know the National Soccer League. You know we have the WWE. But Stacy coming on. So there’s so many people that we have now joined forces in bringing this collection of women together. And I think it’s just outstanding that we’ve been able to. It just seems like you know you feel like you say to people like you feel kind of like Winnie the Pooh with the little piglet in a big parachute.

[00:12:27] You know when he’s trying to hold on to it in the wind when she is took off. We just had no idea it would be so popular in the way of women coming together to support it. And it’s just it’s just outstanding how all the commissioners and the presidents have all come forward and said Hey Brent we want to be a part of this and we’re going to create she has games and from no she is games we’re going to have she is Discovery time and that’s about bringing young women and young young girls and young boys together for unorganized fun before one of our big games and bringing in athletes of all different sports to say hey you know what. You know young girls find something you love to do and just play because from play comes the athlete and from play comes your imagination to build and create and that’s what we want young girls to do. We want them to. They came we can be whatever we want to do. You know the she is logo we want to see that logo because it’s a team logo it’s not specific to one league it’s a team logo that says we’re a higher part of a bigger team and seen those logos going out across multi different sports so there’s there’s a lot of a lot of good stuff that’s happening the commissioners of all the sports of all the major professional leagues now I’m joined so that there’s a professional league out there that we’re missing. You know basketball baseball football lacrosse Seraphin golf tennis wrestling.

[00:13:55] Like we’re covering everything every single commissioners come on board and we meet and we’re just having a big meeting actually the end of June where all these commissioners will come together at a table of strategic planning to say what’s our next step to support each other and get our athletes to support each other. So it’s a pretty good. It’s a pretty good strategic plan that all commissioners have jumped onboard and wants to be a part of. And it’s that it’s so simple. That’s the killer for me. It’s so simple. All you have to do is watch your attending game. And tweeted out and say I challenge three other people. That’s the simplicity and it’s affordable because everybody has a phone. Everybody can download the game is streaming into you. And everybody has a game in their community it doesn’t have to be a pro. You can go out and watch a little girl play soccer and tweet out that you are there supporting a young girl at a very young age for her. Play that game. So this is this concept of cross pollination that you’re talking about right. Is that maybe historically women’s sports or maybe sport in general has kind of has been very siloed and so to to elevate the profile of women’s sports generally. We need women and men and flexible genders to start advertising essentially that they’re going to these games and they’re watching women and that it’s fun and exciting and interesting. Absolutely. Absolutely. And just give you a quick example of of how well the male sports do it.

[00:15:27] If a male entertainer or a male pro athlete from another sport comes into their event I mean they publicize it like crazy it’s like oh my gosh look this person is here we don’t do that we don’t celebrate ourselves enough and we don’t promote ourselves enough. So she is and all the commissioners these are some of the simplicities of what we need to do is you know win a pro hockey player walks into a basketball game we need to make sure that we’re tweeting about it we need to make sure the media knows about it we need to celebrate that moment that she’s there and win the basketball player comes the hockey game. We also need to celebrate that amongst ourselves if we celebrate ourselves and and grow that profile of the athlete sponsors and media will pick it up. So the conclusion or maybe not conclusion but one of the results of this is that as the cross pollination builds as we start to celebrate ourselves and each other more as women and girls in sport that that will create this groundswell and this momentum where sponsors and media outlets are in a position where they just can’t ignore women’s sports anymore. Absolutely. And and you know we say this all the time because I grew up in sports in so many different ways even in the male world the male world doesn’t survive. If if fans don’t go to watch the games nobody fills an empty rink. No buyer no owners says our only team and nobody’s going to come. I mean you know if he doesn’t win a championship if it doesn’t fill his stands his sponsors aren’t there. His media is not there and so we just have to do the same. And we have to get women to men.

[00:17:11] I think this is not just women it’s women and men who have young men who want to see themselves be successful and who want to see their daughters or sisters be successful. They also have to support what you know so many other individuals do in the male sports. So what do you say. You know someone goes to a game and they tweet out that they’re there and it’s great. And they challenge three friends to also go to a game download a game you know watch a friend’s daughter play a soccer game or football game or something. You know the response is it’s not interesting. I don’t want to do is really no point. Like what. What would be a good response back to the naysayer so to speak. I love the naysayer the naysayer I think makes us you know makes us better at what we do in life because you know yet prepare for them. So you’re you know your media’s relationships are good while you’re PR everything everything is in line because of the naysayers in the world that makes us think. But it’s one of the things that I don’t really believe in is that you know is is that I’m not facing anything of she is to negativity it’s all that positivity so somebody goes and they say they don’t like it that’s OK. You know that’s nice you’ve gone and you don’t like it. That’s awesome it’s not for you. But that doesn’t isn’t you at least want and you at least looked at the sport. And that to me is a positive step. So to me it’s like you went you didn’t like I’m going to sports and don’t like it but it doesn’t.

[00:18:40] But I did go to trial and think you know it’s like teaching your kids when they’re young you know if you don’t try this particular vegetable you’re not going know if you like it or not if you don’t like it that’s OK here let’s try something else. And so that would be more might be a hey you didn’t you went to the soccer game you didn’t like it well. Do you like men’s soccer yet or what don’t you like about the women’s soccer. Because it is different because we’re. We play a different game. We play a more skilled game we play you know in a different way that it promotes what we’re good at. And I think that’s the key. I mean hockey is the same way. You don’t have body checking. In our league and in either of our leagues right. And the reason being is is that we don’t need to have it. We we hone our skills on speed skill and finesse. What does everybody say when the Olympics come around for the man. Oh we love it Olympics because what we see less hating and more skill so we just skip that stage because we were like I always say to people we were smarter. We didn’t have to be hit. We just went straight to the fact of showing our skills. And so yeah it’s different and I think I think I would say thank you for coming to the game naysayer and thank you for trying.

[00:19:45] And a try another short while and I suppose if you have a naysayer who doesn’t even want to go to the game then that based on what you just share the retort is YOU. It’s hard for you to say you don’t like something if you’ve ever experienced it. So I challenge you to at least give it a try. Right. And if you still come out the other side saying it’s not for me then so be it. But at least you have had the experience. I totally agree with what you just said and I’ve talked to a lot of people on this podcast podcast and just my own knowledge and one of the thing the repeated the repeated piece that comes up is that you know what you have also shared around how the media doesn’t cover women’s sports and girls sports and sponsors are not as free flowing as they are from any sports. And what I’m hearing is that the Shias campaign is attacking us from a different direction. Right. So you’re essentially saying OK then if if the refrain is if the negative refrain is that we don’t fail stadiums we don’t fail games then we have to change that refrain right. We have to together collectively partner come together cross pollinate and we have to elevate and lift each other up so that then that kind of historic and Perpetual. It’s not interesting there’s not enough people there folks don’t want to watch it. That doesn’t have any traction anymore. Am I am I understanding you correctly. Yeah yeah you’re right on the target because it’s this isn’t about negativity towards the sponsors and the media in any way shape or form. If you are a businessman and I came to you as a business person and I said to you I have this great opportunity to create a women’s league.

[00:21:27] And you say to me Hey you know what I want to support that. I really do. So here’s some I call it passion dollars. When we start out so here’s some fashion dollars because yeah you know what I have a daughter I want her to play hockey great. So they give us the passion dollars and we go out and we create the League and we have the best players in the league. But you know year after year the people who have given us the passion are who’s given us their money to back what we believe in. The fans are not coming to the games. Is that the sponsors fault. Is that the media’s fault. No it’s not. In my opinion and that’s the statement I make a statement is just like hey I’ve had media has backed me. I’ve had phenomenal sports. It has been great to us in the way of broadcasting our games and they have advertised it like crazy and they’ve put money behind it. But people didn’t show to the games and you know sponsors have done the same thing. So you’re absolutely right. What we’re saying is is that if you want to make a difference stop blaming the media stop blaming the sponsors if you don’t think for a second that if every single game we had the throngs of fans coming out and the number skyrocketed you know with the broadcasting streaming where everybody was watching in a second. People would say what’s going on over there I need to be there. Like that’s a lot of people but that’s a lot of eyeballs.

[00:22:50] I need to I need to be in there as sponsors because that’s that’s that is good business sense from the other side of the coin that I would do if I was a business person running a specific company with offers to give so you know I think that that’s if we really want to shift we where we want to shift what’s going on there then it’s a call to actions and we need our athletes to you know here’s the tools athletes because you know when Billie Jean King said you know here’s the dollar movement and here’s the tools we’re going to do and here’s how we’re going to do it. It’s because the athletes all stood together and supported each other. And what we’re saying is is that there’s a phenomenal group of athletes across the North America with all different sports. And if we all come together and support each other we don’t need any outside people because we have enough just within ourselves and we can make a difference. If if we actually want to and if we choose to call to action and move into actually showing up or watching the games and have you had any media outlets express interest. She is one. I mean outside of the opera or the initial press release or the initial push Have you had larger media outlets express excitement and interest in what you’re doing. We’ve got a ton of people express interest and wanting to get involved. I think our next couple of steps will be important because you know we don’t want to make a big statement. And I think when I think as I say to people you know did we make a difference.

[00:24:30] Yeah the amount we put all those commissioners on the same stage took a pledge you made a difference in some way. You know we moved the ball a tad bit but the thing for us now is is that OK so commissioners we’ve all said we’re going to do this everybody’s coming onboard. And I think the next step for us is to make sure that what we say we’re going to do we’re going to do and and then it’s up to everybody else and I think the media that has reached out to us and who are very much engaged and some sponsors who are reaching out to us now and saying hey this is a great idea you know that she is games cross pollinating movement from one sport to another with. She is. That has nothing to do with hockey or basketball golf. It actually acts to do with all sports for young girls to to engage them into not only playing the game but to engage them to say I can grow up to either play it or I can grow up to run it to operate it to be a CEO to be the commissioner. And those are key things. It’s not. It’s not just about you know she is isn’t just about the fact of you making sure players can play the game it’s making sure young girls know that there is a career for them that they don’t have to quit sports they don’t have to at the age of 13 and 14 when they go there’s no place for me to go I’m not going to play this game anymore. And you can still play for fun because guess what.

[00:25:51] You can grow up and be a commissioner and you can actually earn a living at where you can grow up and be an operations and you can earn a living on it so you stay in sports you stay active you stay in the system because you’re going to be great at whatever you choose to be in that sport. Yeah I love that in particular right because it’s a pipeline issue it’s not only well that the coverage of women’s sports and sponsorship and all that plays into the pipeline. But you’ve got to go back and see. So what are the messages being sent to young girls and what’s the visibility and how are young girls being encouraged or discouraged by either explicitly or implicitly to stay in sport or not. And back to the beginning of his composition when he talked about the swimming analogy right. And and you yourself looking around and only seeing men coaching our men in these positions like that’s that’s what needs to shift also. Right. So it’s getting people to the games to raise the profile but then also having young girls see role models and see people interested in what they’re doing. So then they’re like Ha ok this could be a thing I could do this right versus. It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a future there for me I’ll just quit sport and do something else. Yeah. And I think it’s one of the kind of theories behind her she is Discovery games that we’re looking to put together so when we go into she is game.

[00:27:16] And old PGA event the day before will do she is Discovery games and those discovery games will be not just about the game of golf that will be but Game of lacrosse and football. Many different things will get the kids played and so that they know that there’s you know there’s so many different avenues and the people that they will be playing with will be our top athletes of many different sports. So they have these role models and they can engage and they can just have fun they can converse and say Yeah look wow I can grow up to be that. And you know what I never really liked golf even though mom dragged me every time to golf. But I love the game of football and look there’s Jen Walters and she was a first football person and oh my god I’m you know I’m enthralled and I want to be a football player or I want to be a football coach. So I think it’s it’s the interaction and I’m a really big fan of an organ transplant. I’m a really big fan of engaging young kids you know we take them I mean anybody who’s been a parent you know you take them from your soccer this summer really didn’t like it let me try baseball. Me try this. Let me try this. You know because you want your child to be involved in sports. And I always say lots of times when those young kids are involved in sports they’re in such organized sports that it isn’t fun you know.

[00:28:35] I mean I grew up I grew up with with all sports being fun because you know I grew up you know the country on a farm and I mean you know everybody came together and you played a sport didn’t matter what it was you picked something you played it it wasn’t somebody telling me go over here and stand here and pick the ball up correcting over here and do this in hockey and it was all about finals. He fell in love with the game and I think that’s a key when you fall in love that game. It’s it’s it’s something that just creates you crash into the rest of your life and it certainly has been my route for sure. Yeah I think that’s such an important observation or a point around a few shifts for very young girls from feeling like it’s not for them. Right. So that there’s no place for that and that’s one piece. The other piece says this obligation all this kind of chore like I have to go and do this soccer again all this other thing again. And the coaches me. You know it’s just I would rather be outside playing freely with my friends right. You can shift the their understanding of being active and being involved in a sport to one of love and one of passion that you know like you’re saying through unstructured play and then that’s kind of an internal transformation that can happen in young girls around the world or you know Vesta’s this kind of external like rigid structure that you’re putting on kids that don’t generally thrive in that environment anyway. Totally agree. I mean if you go one step further and this is not my expertise in any way shape or form but it’s one of the things I’ve always kind of believed in only because you know I have grandkids and I listen to my grandkids.

[00:30:16] She’s very good my my I have I have four and the oldest one is 11. And you know she’s off in school and he’s very good at sports he’s a natural. And you know he’s he was lucky you know because he just he came by natural and he’s a natural at sport he loves sports he picks it up and it’s there. But you know remember we were sitting at a table one night having supper and you know you know we were 10 but oh you know what went on a school today and what’s happening tomorrow you know and he said I’m so excited for tomorrow and I said No wait what. Why are you so upset. But tomorrow is tumour’s volleyball day. He says and it’s going to be a great practice. I said oh great like you know why does it make it so good. And he says because the girls aren’t coming. And I said well what do you mean the girls aren’t coming. And he said well he says when the girls don’t come he says the coach runs a different practice he says and it’s more exciting with harder drills. And I kind of looked at the table went silent because I think my kids all went oh this is not going to be good for her. It’s like her dream is about to attack. Right. And so I just kind of said so. Do you think that’s OK. NICHOLS Well yeah Grammys is as you know he says I’m going to have so much fun he said he said.

[00:31:29] So this is for the volleyball team he goes Yeah I said So how did your basketball team go. Knives cut. Oh I said you were cut from the team. Yeah I said how that feel. I didn’t like being cut. And I said because there was somebody better than you. Right. He goes Yeah. He says But but if I had a practice I might have been better I said yeah that’s the same as the girls with volleyball he said with Yukon’s let them practice and you let them. I said them probably better news said although I guarantee you I said there’s a girl and that in your school that’s better than you at volleyball now. And I said But you said you know it’s not okay to say we’re going to do a different practice. And it was very sound because they think I think for a moment it was like You’re not going to go to the teacher. And I might have to go. But is this simplicity at the age of 11 years of age. They’re already defining that. All the girls can’t play as good as me. So therefore the practice is better when they’re not there. And I’m thinking of teacher whoever you’re teaching is incorrect because yeah I mean there’s there’s guys that are any good at it either and yes there’s some women who are good at it but most kids at the age of 11 don’t come into their you know her factional sports bodies at that age. But right now if you go back then you can see that society is saying you know teachers saying yes to better practice with girls.

[00:32:49] And so anyways I turned him around pretty quickly and and playing with girls. Gosh that’s that’s a really great story about a horribly disappointing that the coach you know that the coach is creating that environment where the message is pretty clear and it’s clear for the boys and it’s clear for the girls right. Girls are not good enough on you. You can train as hard. I think I say people I think I also think too as a society is if you take a look. And I think this is where this happens is that a lot of the women that would be good are probably not in volleyball because you know boys at a very young age and were good at sports. Let’s all go play sports where girls are so much more as I say creative. We just don’t play sports. We do a lot of different things you know. Know we like school we like learning we like are like different things. So I think the society at the beginning of the young ages which is where I think I go back to she is in many different things that I’ve done is is that you when you want to change that. And so when you do things like she is games or she is discoveries it’s about bringing the girls in and just letting them play and there’s no pressure on them there’s no saying OK you got to be good. I mean can we we even with are not even girls with boys. For God’s sakes in our world today. We make them choose a sport at such a young age.

[00:34:12] Oh you can’t play hockey and you can’t play golf you can’t play hockey you can’t play baseball. And it’s like OK you got to choose it’s like my God they’re like what 14 13 and everybody saying to them you have to choose and it’s like no I don’t have to choose I can play both. And if if I if I meant to be a pro athlete I’m going to be it no matter what you say because then this is just Brenda’s belief in you know whatever you’re going to be in life you’re going to be it as long as you choose to follow the path you’re supposed to. You’re going to be exactly what you were designed for and like might have barriers. I don’t really call them barriers. And to be honest with you you might have challenges along the route of obstacles that you have to overcome. But if you truly want to be what you choose to be in life you’re going to be it does matter in my life. So I always laugh when people say what if he doesn’t play this right now he’s never going to be this. Going he will be. You might not think so but he will be or she will be it as long as the accessibility is there for her to do it. And I just think with women we they they give up because there’s when you look at a young age there is. I think you called it a pipeline there is no. How do I get from there to there because it’s like I just I don’t know it.

[00:35:28] And so I think you know I was lucky I mean I got to where I wanted to to end up in because I chose to keep pushing the right. That it shouldn’t. And it’s not to say that every step of the way that it was hard for me was a great girls experience because it was a great growth experience. And I met phenomenal people and excellent men and women along the lines but I’ve always stated that women sometimes are our own worst enemies. Helping us along. And then second of all you know my statement has always been is if you want to make a difference you have to get up from your chair make the difference. You can’t just sit and say OK this is horrible you know because guess what it is. And the only way to change it is not through negativity of complaining or not negativity by saying this guy should sponsor me or this person should cover me. It’s not to say that it shouldn’t happen but you also have to look at what am I doing to make it happen. And so you get off of your chair and go watch a game of skill and skill Doosan. Yeah and I think there’s a lot I mean there’s you know there’s lots of campaigns and projects and programs that are trying to come at this from a different owner from all different angles and I do think that’s what it ultimately takes is that it there’s no one single way that this that the culture is going to change.

[00:37:00] And the overarching narrative is going to change and so we do have to think about how can we mobilize and mobilize at different levels of the sports industry whether that’s from consumer to CEO and then also you know think holistically about all of the factors that are playing into that kind of pipeline breakdown for girls right I’m one of those is the coach in the gym that saying that girls can’t train hard enough. Another is that we’re not supporting each other across the different disciplines and going to each other’s games right and encouraging others to do so. And so they’re all it’s all interconnected right. And so I think that’s where we just have to kind of as a as a group as a large powerful group we have to pick holes in this system that has been so rigid and strong for so long and eventually it will crumble. Right. It’s like you’re just kind of like chipping away at it but you can’t do that in one place and you need to do it in all these different places. What you are saying actually makes me think of did you read that Abby Wambach did a commencement speech for a U.S. college a couple of weeks ago and it was traveling around on the Internet. And she was talking kind of similarly to what you’re saying around for so for so long girls and women are told that are they’re like Red Riding Hood. You know just this children’s story and that men are the wolves in them. She was talking in the context of kind of life and it’s in for. And she ended up saying something like. But that’s that’s a fallacy. We are the wolves was what she said and it really stuck with me and kind of what you’re saying around this she is campaign has the say so it resonates in the same way like we are the wolves right.

[00:38:43] We have to change as women as girls as a group. We have to change the way we talk about ourselves the way we celebrate ourselves and the way we advertise ourselves like we’ve been told that we’re not the wolves but actually we are the voles and we can go out and take what we want. Yeah I love it. And you’re bang on it you know. I think at the beginning and as I said you know it isn’t about who’s going to lead it but who’s going to stop us. So it is like. So I’m I’m dead on. You know what you’re saying and I think it’s I don’t think I think you know it’s it’s one of the other things they just want to bring up quickly is this in a you know sports is is the GDP you know sports is one of the largest GDP in the world and if you look at the hotspots of all the different products sports is like wear them up. It’s so much money spent on sports it’s scary. And and for that to happen we as women are 52 percent of that. That’s putting that money in in that way and making it grow and make you do things. But you know if you look at every single woman’s big big games big games you know where the entertainment world the the men and women go out and support those sports. You look at our games and when we need them we need the women and the men to support us. They are in the entertainment world.

[00:40:03] We need women to come into our game and celebrate the fact that you know some famous singers some famous actor just came and watched basketball for the women and instead of the men. And it’s those types of small actions and so yeah you know what it’s like. You know Abby says is where the world is and you know what I’m saying is take action because it’s like yeah we speak well but let’s go do something that will make a difference and I think that this comes from the healing age. For me it’s like stand up. You can’t if you don’t stand up and do something and you have no right to complain. And and I don’t want she has to be about negativity to me it’s about positivity way let’s make a difference now because something’s happened to us not because somebody is not giving us something but let’s just make a difference together because we’re so damn powerful as women. And if we bring all the sports groups together which is never happened in the male’s world they’ve never openly expressed ourselves I think you said it perfectly at one time. So we’ve kind of built these little silos and we’re very good in our own silos like you know it’s like oh my god we have to grow the women’s hockey that was me as a commissioner and got out talking about me bringing something in for soccer what if I lose a fan over there and it’s like.

[00:41:14] So now we’ve got these phenomenal silos and within those silos we have to open them up and say hey let’s join and support each other in a way that nobody else has done in a way that no sports organization no entertainment no nobody else has ever done is supporting each other in many different cross pollination different avenues. And I think you know if we open those up and we look at those you know we look at you know participation in attendance in viewership and we look at creating those three levels of you know for are not Dyster youth and you know are collegiate in our elite. Now how can we bring it all together and support each other. There’s no way if every single woman right now in all the sport professional leagues and National leagues if every single woman went to a game or watch something we blow them out of the water in a second like that the media and everybody else would go What the hell’s going on what you’re saying about GDP and kind of our buying power and consumer power makes me think to back to my very first Talking Point interview where I had asked the person I interviewed Joanna. What can you know when we think about these kind of pervasive messages and structures that exist what can what positive things can we do what can their listeners to this podcast do and she said to think about where you put your money. Right. Spend your money in places that are aligned with your values. And so that’s exactly what you’re saying to is that. Start buying tickets and spending time at women’s games. You know if that’s something that you want to see change. And so you have the power of the purse right. You can go to a W NBA game instead of an NBA game or both. Right. You don’t have to necessarily stop during the NBA.

[00:42:57] But you have to like that right. So you have the power to buy the ticket you have the power also to go to your school or your kids schools games for that. For your daughter as much as you do for your son. Right. And if there’s any issues that arise in your school you have the power to advocate for equal opportunity for the girls. Like that’s something that you can do. And so I think that’s one of the that’s definitely some what I’m hearing those messages in the she is campaign so thinking about kind of what can Alison as do what two or three things would you like to share with Allison is related to the shears campaign around what they can do now after listening to this podcast. It’s a really kind of support that she has campaign should support women and girls in sport moving forward. Well I would ask the listeners to take on a challenge to go on to the Shia sports website and take the challenge that challenges the simplicity of watching or attending a game that’s any type of women’s sports and then take a photo of yourself watching that game or take a photo of yourself attending a game and then use your social media to challenge three other people to do the same as what you did help grow the game for all women across all sports. You know using the power of women’s sports to create a future of by and for strong women and you can make that difference by simply going taking a photo of yourself. Make a video yourself having fun at any women’s games either in attendance or whether you’re watching it.

[00:44:40] And that makes a difference. And the other thing I would say is for the second point is you know the person said spend your dollars correctly that’s a great way. But there’s so many different ways. Take a photo of yourself buying a magazine that has a woman’s article in it and say I support this. Take a photo of yourself listening to this iPod set session and end tweeted out your social media saying I’m supporting a station conversation because it’s about women for women and men. How simple is it like how simple is that right. Who doesn’t. Who isn’t on their phones 24 hours a day tweeting something out posting something like crazy or sane. Use your power and it’s your power to make a difference. So they hashtags she is. She is sport. What more would they use. Yeah. They hash hey get the right one here because you know these people sit in amongst Ashton and be surfing go bird make sure you do this right. Right it is a hashtag. She is sports hashtag. She is challenge the Web site is she is sports. OK perfect. And we’ll include all of that in the show not this episode. Well thank you so much Brenda for taking the time to talk to us today about the work that you’ve been doing over the years and also about the she is campaign and the philosophy behind it.

[00:46:08] I think it’s very exciting and I’m sure our listeners will want to participate and help out as much as they can to kind of raise the profile of women’s sports and that it’s valuable and important and really has a meaningful impact in our lives. And so we are excited to have heard from you and we will do what we can to push out that she is campaign so that we can really help in its success. Well listen I have to also thank you. I mean what you’re doing and how you are bringing to light so many different people on what women are trying to do to raise our profile and to express how together we can make a difference. That goes back to you and so many other individuals that continue to ensure that we have a voice and that we are listened to so you know right back at you. Thank you so much for doing what you do. Thanks. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks again to Brenda Andrus for joining us today to talk about her amazing new campaign. She is. Don’t forget to visit the campaign’s website to learn more and to get involved for show notes including related links and a full transcript of the episode. Visit whisp You can also find hundreds of additional podcasts on with sports radio. Subscribe to us using a preferred podcast player. And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes. For more conversations from the world of women’s sport including blogs articles and videos visit Post your comments questions and suggestions on our Facebook page or email us at info at and follow share and like with escorts on social media. You can reach me Lisa Inglefield directly at try to defy. That’s @tritodefi on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for listening and supporting women in sport everywhere.

[00:48:21] We’ll be back next month with another in-depth thought provoking conversation. See you then.










Photo: Brenda Andress [Bespoke Bureau]
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