The latest Look Who’s Talking event, hosted August 15th, invited local entrepreneurs and networkers to enjoy an exclusive STAR panel discussion with four inspirational women in the sports industry: Karin Nelson (Vice President, Legal and Social Impact, Minnesota Vikings), Angelina Lawton (CEO, Sportsdigita), Stephanie Davis (Director of Event Management, University of Minnesota), and Laura Day (EVP/Chief Business Officer, Minnesota Twins). STAR was so lucky to have these incredible women share their stories. Each of them brought bright and courageous insight to the table.
The evening in its entirety was wonderful. The conversations were high energy and filled with insight. Kitty Hart, STAR’s Director of Brand Strategy and Look Who’s Talking host, opened the evening with a gallant introduction, with a prominent message to set the stage for brands. “Our clients come to us to set the stage for their brands to come to life” she said. “Regardless of the physical location - you have an opportunity to create the highest impact, full sensory experience.”
Disruption is defined in Merriam-Webster as “the act or process of disrupting something: a break or interruption in the normal course or continuation of some activity or process.” So, as these women take on the sports industry, we were intrigued to know what they think of disruption and how it plays into their business. It was especially important to us to make it known that the women on the panel weren’t there because they were women. They were there because they disrupted the field. They got there with resilience.
Laura Day opened up this conversation on disruption with this quote, “I’m all about productive disruption. I think that’s really critical. We can’t keep doing the same thing. How do we change the narrative? How do we do things differently?” Karin Nelson followed up with another outlook on how she approaches disruption in the sports industry, “I want to be careful about the way I think about disruption. What I know for sure is that someone coming in from the outside needs to bring a different way of looking at things. I feel that’s a big part of my role. I am committed to making the organization better. I have to be courageous. I hate the phrase ‘well, we’ve always done it this way.’ You do have to honor the past. But you have to evolve.”
Overall, disruption is standard. It should have a presence in the workplace. But how we think about disruption can be different. Disruption should be productive, not a set-back. Disruption should be about shifting the landscape and finding the bravery to do so. But it shouldn’t be forceful.
Stephanie Davis finds interruption in the way she values and builds up students. “When you’re interrupting something, you’re drastically changing something,” she noted. My investment in students is a way of disrupting the field.”
And then, there’s the conversation about evolving the space as an entrepreneur. Angelina Lawton brought this up with poise, “When I think about disruption, I think about entrepreneurs. By being a woman-owned business in technology. There’s not many of us. Running a sports company. There’s not many of us. When I think about disruption, I think about confidence.”
Innovation is not possible without risk. Yes, drop mic.
Emotional vs. passionate
Emotions. We all have them. And in a women’s world this day and age, emotions are going to be a part of the conversation in the professional space. It seems emotions are a double standard for women in the industry, and when men have them – they’re simply considered passionate. So, how do they factor in the day-by-day?
Sometimes, it’s about being prepared and doing the research.
Stephanie Davis offered her input, “Men are considered passionate. And women are considered emotional. But I know that when I’m coming to the conversation, I have done the research. I have the right people and plan. I can support it. I’m an advocate.”
Laura Day had another way of looking at being emotional in the workplace.
“It’s really powerful when they see a side of me they don’t normally see. Call it emotional. I don’t care if you’re male or female. It’s about who I am.”
Resilience, Humility, and Courage
One of our favorite questions from the audience was “what do you admire in a person?”
Laura Day's input was about being grounded. “Humility. That keeps us real and grounded and present. Curiosity. Continuous learning. It keeps us moving in that forward direction. And courage. It takes a lot of fortitude to be courageous in this day and age."
Karin Nelson spoke passionately about resilience, “Resilience is a really important trait. Keep going at it. There may not always be a happy ending to that great idea. You have to learn that’s okay. Dust yourself off, pick yourself up. You will be successful in what you aspire to do.”
We so much appreciate the panel's time and conversation. We still feel inspired, even a day later, by the hard work and success these four women have accomplished throughout their careers in the sports industry. If you’re interested in hearing more about this topic, the program held at the STAR Minneapolis headquarters will be available by video soon.
Please reach out to your account team or firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information.