In the News
Tampa Bay Celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Beyond Barriers
February 18, 2019
On February 6, guests of all ages gathered for Beyond Barriers - Because of Title IX at Amalie Arena. Held at Amalie Arena, the event featured a lineup of incredible speakers each with extensive backgrounds in sports and at the top of their game in their respective professions. The event also coincided with the 33rd celebration of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, a nationally recognized day honoring the extraordinary achievements of girls and women in sports.
Moderated by Donna Orender, CEO of Generation W and author of Wowsdom! The Girl’s Guide to the Positive and the Possible, the panel of women discussed how sports (basketball, specifically) shaped their disciplines and work ethic to drive them where they are today. The talented lineup included Blair Bloomston (Vice President, Game On Nation), Jane Castor (Mayoral Candidate, Former Tampa Chief of Police), Tiffany Greene (Play-by-Play Commentator, ESPN), Lauren Holtkamp (Official, NBA) and Brigid Merenda (Shareholder, Trenam Law).
The theme of the evening was "If you can see her, you can be her.” It served as a rallying cry to the young girls in the audience; to inspire them, through the impact and influence of sport, to follow their dreams with relentless pursuit. That message resonated through an electrifying keynote delivered by Magie Cook. An immigrant from an orphanage in Mexico, Magie's story of is one of challenges, transformation and triumph. She originally came to the U.S. after earning a basketball scholarship to the University of Charleston. It wasn't long after graduating that Magie found herself without a job and homeless. Through it all, she drew strength from her love of basketball. Her direction changed when she won a salsa competition that ultimately helped her start her own business, Maggie’s All Natural Salsa & Dips. The company would eventually sell to Campbell’s Soup® in 2015. Magie went on to become a motivational speaker to help lead others to their own breakthrough moments and inspire them to live better more fulfilling lives.
Beyond Barriers is also part of Beyond the Baseline, a series of women’s empowerment events leading up to and during the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa Bay. The Beyond Series is a women’s legacy initiative started by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and hosted in conjunction with major sporting events in Tampa Bay. This second event in the Beyond Barriers series was the result of a partnership between the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, PCA-Tampa Bay, WeCOACH, USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy, WISE Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The organizations partnered to take a community-based leadership role that inspires and encourages girls to play and stay in sports.