By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc, CSCS, SDL (He/Him)

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th to “celebrate the “social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” According to the day is celebrated internationally every year since 1911 and marks a call for action in “accelerating women’s equality” and “drive gender parity”.

At Compete Sports Diversity, we are so grateful and honored to have so many strong and intelligent women who support Compete’s mission and work with us toward our mission to “unite the world through sports.” We recently hosted our first ever Compete Sport Diversity Women’s DEI Summit that brought together Sports Diversity Leaders from all over the USA to Arizona for an amazing weekend of educational workshops, seminars, lectures, and opportunities to learn. The women who came alongside the women who presented had an amazing exchange of experience and knowledge in how they are leading the way toward building diversity, equity/equality, and inclusion in sports from the grassroots all the way to the top tiers of professional sport.

For that we would like to highlight a two specific partners of ours and members of the Compete Sports Diversity Council.

Our first is the founder of the Lynn Lewis Foundation and pioneering the world of Women’s Flag Football, she was instrumental in organizing the Compete Women’s Sports DEI Summit as well, Mashonda Gilmore, SDL!

Our managing editor of sports, David Smith, recently interviewed Mashonda last year in the lead up to the Women’s Summit to learn more about her work, background and everything going into the amazing things she’s accomplished for women in sports. When organizing the Women’s Summit, she shared…

“We (Mashonda and Eric, Compete CEO), both had the idea of a Women’s Sports Council, maybe a year and a half ago and we just put it in motion. Whenever we talked about it, people wanted to be a part of it. We’re hoping to be able to make an impact in Arizona and across the nation. We really have the substance for these summits to inspire ordinary people. I’m not talking about the ladies that’s on ESPN, I am talking about unsung heroes in the community who are making an impact which I’ve always felt that that’s who I am. There’s a lot of flag football being generated and we’re the pioneers of starting flag football for women. I am an advocate for women in general and a great respect for men who help to empower and elevate platforms for women like me. I just want the ladies to have a platform that they deserve. I want the community in Mesa to know that amongst the 1800 players, coaches, and team managers, we want to be there have got their supporters coming with them as well.”

Our second is the co-founder and CEO of TNSTP Kickball, she was recently named to the Compete Sports Diversity Council executive committee and co-hosted the 2024 Compete Sports Diversity Awards, Yolanda Jenkins, SDLT!

Over the last year, Yolanda has greatly expanded TNSTP Kickball and used it as a platform to drive and empower gender equality and inclusivity in the world of kickball. She recently founded and launched Women Major League Kickball which is a league of women’s specific kickball teams. She also created the first Kickball World Games, an international event that brings together teams from all around the globe to compete at the highest level. This prestigious tournament has become a symbol of excellence in kickball, attracting the best players and showcasing the sport’s global reach.

Yolanda Jenkins’ journey is a testament to her unwavering determination, innovative thinking, and unwavering commitment to her community. Her contributions to kickball and her selfless dedication to improving the lives of others have earned her a well-deserved reputation as a trailblazer and a champion for positive change.

Photo Credits: Mashonda Gilmore, SDL and Yolanda Jenkins, SDLT.