Leaders from across the sports industry gathered at Daytona International Speedway this week to discuss the industry’s efforts to advance diversity and inclusion as part of the 2019 Sports Diversity & Inclusion Symposium.
Each year, the event serves as a forum for sports executives and diversity and inclusion practitioners to discuss, evaluate and create tangible solutions that drive greater diversity and inclusion in today’s sports culture. The symposium includes prominent leaders from major, minor and amateur sports organizations and features panel sessions, networking opportunities and open discussions for the two-day event.
Since 2012, NASCAR has been a founding member of the Diversity & Inclusion Sports Consortium alongside major U.S. sports leagues and other sports organizations. This year, led by its Multicultural Development department, NASCAR hosted the group’s annual symposium for the first time.
"Serving as host for the 2019 Sports Diversity and Inclusion Symposium was an honor," said Dawn Harris, senior director of multicultural development at NASCAR. "The opportunity to convene thought leaders to discuss diversity and inclusion and its impact across the industry as related to innovation and growth was relevant and timely. I appreciate each of our forty panelists and moderators who gave their time and expertise to advance this important topic."
NASCAR President Steve Phelps joined senior leaders from the PGA Tour, PGA of America, LPGA, USTA and Minor League Baseball on Wednesday for a panel discussion on league efforts to reach diverse fans and other communities and foster inclusive environments for employees.
Jusan Hamilton, in his first full year as series director for NASCAR’s Esports series, shared his perspective on leveraging Esports to connect with diverse audiences next to ESPN’s Katie Barnes and Major League Soccer’s Bion West. Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile hosted lunch on Tuesday and addressed the symposium attendees alongside Erin Pellegrino of the Ross Institute in Sports for Equality (RISE).
Additional speakers included David Steward, founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, title sponsor of WWT Raceway at Gateway; Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Sport & Social Justice; Julia Landauer, driver in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series; and TJ Adeshola, head of U.S. sports partnerships at Twitter.
Participating members of the Diversity & Inclusion Sports Consortium include: ESPN, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NASCAR, National Basketball Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Professional Golfers’ Association of America, PGA Tour, Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, United States Olympic Committee, United States Tennis Association and You Can Play.