Laker Leadership Programs

Leadership Summit Keynote Speaker

Leadership Summit 2013 Keynote Presentation by Donna Lopiano

“Igniting Social Change/Leading for Social Justice”

Social change happens one person at a time -- one person being able to communicate an idea in both an inspiring and convincing way with enough power to make another person stop and rethink their previous position.  Leading such social change requires persistence over time, total mastery of the facts, compelling and repetitive story-telling and responses to opposing arguments that are compelling because they become personal to the listener.  Most of all, it requires constantly checking your moral compass and never succumbing to silence in the face of wrong.

Sport is a social institution common to everyone’s experience in some way even if they have never been athletes themselves.   Dr. Lopiano’s stories and examples using this context are therefore meaningful to the broadest possible audience and then she works to illustrate transfer to other non-sport issues.

DONNA A. LOPIANO, B.S., M.A., Ph.D 
Dr. Donna Lopiano is the President of Sports Management Resources (SMR), a consulting firm that assists scholastic and collegiate athletics departments in solving growth and development challenges.  She is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation (1992-2007), a non-profit organization advocating for equal opportunity and increased participation for girls and women in sports. She was named one of “The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports” (Fox Sports), one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Sports” (The Sporting News) and one of the “100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America” (The Institute for International Sport).  

Dr. Lopiano also served for 18 years as the University of Texas at Austin Director of Women’s Athletics where she constructed what many believed to be the premiere women’s athletics program in the country; twice earning the top program in the nation award.     Recognized as one of the foremost national experts on gender equity in sport, Dr. Lopiano has testified about Title IX and gender equity before three Congressional committees, served as a consultant to the U.S. Office for Civil Rights Department of Health, Education and Welfare Title IX Task Force and as an expert witness in over thirty court cases.  

She has been a college coach of men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s basketball and softball and coached the Italian national women’s softball team.  As an athlete, she participated in 26 national championships in four sports and was a nine-time All-American at four different positions in softball, a sport in which she played on six national championship teams. 

Donna Lopiano, a steadfast proponent of equality and fairness in sports, received the NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award at the 2013 NCAA Convention. Read more here.

Sponsored by: GVSU Circle of OΔK National Leadership Honor Society and the Student Life Fund

Supported by: GVSU Title IX 40th Anniversary Celebration Committee


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Page last modified January 19, 2013