Lady Lions planning LeadHERship Academy


Of all the skills and values taught through athletics, perhaps one of the most significant is that of leadership.

While team sports extol the importance of each team member knowing their role, working together, and putting the greater good above oneself, all teams also need leaders.

Whether it’s a boisterous leader who inspires with rousing pep talks, or a quiet one that garners respect by example, good leadership is vital to the success of any team, group or organization, including those far from the athletic field.

Leadership, specifically for girls, is the topic of a special event this Sunday hosted by the Penn State women’s basketball team at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The LeadHERship academy is designed to provide girls with opportunities to develop leadership skills, as well as improve their self confidence in a positive and fun environment.

Lady Lion Community Outreach Coordinator Miriam Powell, a former middle school teacher, is organizing the event, which is expected to include fifty girls in fifth through eighth grades.

“You see some changes in girls this age, especially the way they treat each other,” said Powell. “You see different attitudes developing, and social media makes it so much easier to be mean to each other. Too often we are tearing each other down when we should be building each other up.”

So kindness will be a key component of the leadership training, though sports will not.

The event is for all girls, not just athletes; they won’t be playing basketball, and no athletic skills are required.

Penn State basketball coaches and players, all leaders in their own ways, will spend the afternoon interacting with the students, and hopefully inspiring them to make a difference in their schools and communities, using something as small as a random act of kindness.

“We want to impress upon them that you don’t have to have a title be a leader,” Powell added. “You can lead from anywhere. It’s not about being student council president or homecoming queen; it’s about how you treat people, and making a positive impact on others. That’s what leadership is.”

The Lady Lions are leading by example and encouragement through this special free program, which Powell hopes will become an annual offering.

“This event is designed to encourage women empowering women and girls empowering girls,” Powell said. “It’s a great opportunity to take our players, and embrace the lessons they’ve learned as Lady Lions, and also give the girls in the room a chance to talk about some of the experiences they’ve faced, share their voice, and hopefully have some fun, but leave with some tools on how to be a high school girl in today’s world.”

There is still space available for the inaugural LeadHERship academy. Registration is available online through gopsusports .com.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Her column appears on Tuesdays.