Compete Network Feature Stories

Sports Diversity Leadership Council Announces Leadership Designation Program

Members of the Sports Diversity Leadership Council (SDLC) held its second annual conference last month at the Las Vegas Tropicana Hotel. With a mission of fostering leadership within the broad LGBTQ sports diversity community, their efforts are focused on training tomorrow’s LGBTQ leaders today through a new sports diversity leadership designation program.

This year’s event included participants representing the following organizations: the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA); the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL); the Federation of Gay Games (FGG); the World OutGames; the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA); USA LGBT Soccer; the Phoenix Fire Kickball League; Team Colorado and HelmsBriscoe.

The focus of this year’s conference was to continue building on the foundation set out last year at the group’s inaugural event. At the conclusion of last year’s conference, participants agreed on the organization’s purpose and laid out the framework for SDLC to fulfill its mission. Working throughout the past year, SDCL members worked on developing a curriculum that includes training, mentoring and volunteering elements that will lead to the new designation – Sports Diversity Leader (S.D.L.).

Connie Wardman, editor-in-chief of Compete Magazine and conference director, facilitated the 2017 Compete Sports Diversity Leadership Conference. “Thanks to everyone’s hard work over the past year, we were able to unveil Phase One of our sports diversity leadership designation program. We’ll soon be rolling out the program to train and mentor sports leaders across the country, enabling them to earn the new Sports Diversity Leader designation. People can proudly display the S.D.L. designation after their name so others will know they have completed the program,” Wardman said.

“We are building a sports community within the community of sports,” said Compete CEO and SDLC founder, Eric Carlyle. “In addition to training sports leaders we are also offering them a chance to network with leaders in other sports and other areas of the country and eventually, to include a larger global focus. Leaders will be able to both mentor and to learn from one other.”

Former NGFFL commissioner Jared Garduno recently joined the SDLC as its president and was on hand to moderate a roundtable discussion on sales and marketing. “Rather than just present the topic to the participants, I wanted to get the leaders involved in the topic by opening it to the floor. We had a vibrant and rich discussion that really got the group going. It was not only enlightening but also a lot of fun. And isn’t that what sports is supposed to be?”

The SDLC is in the process of awarding the designation to several members of its advisory board who have been heavily involved in the process. In addition, several conference participants will be beta testing the content and delivery to provide feedback for enhancing the program. “Providing solid educational content is always very important to me. I want the curriculum to be meaningful and the S.D.L. designation to carry some weight,” said Wardman, whose professional career was in adult education.

The SDLC will announce the members of its advisory board in the March issue of Compete and is already calling for its next advisory board meeting. That will be held in November prior to the 8th Annual Petey Awards which, for the first time will be held in Kansas City, Missouri.


By Harry Andrew



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