• By Calli Delsman

Female leadership in Minot State Athletics

March is Women’s History Month in the US, but during this time, women should also be honored for the steps they take to make history. At Minot State, specifically in sports, the percentage of women in the staff directory — from administration to coaches to faculty services is 22.7%.

It is common in any workforce that there are more men in title positions than women. Of that 22.7%, only 5% are in head coach/management positions at Minot State. One of these leaders is Allison Kelly, coordinator of marketing and promotions and senior women administrator (SWA) at Minot State.

“Since high school, I have participated in sports, either by playing volleyball and basketball, or managing girls’ and boys’ basketball, football, and baseball. I attended the University of Central Missouri where I obtained my bachelor’s and master’s in sport management and was an intern and graduate assistant for the athletics marketing department,” Kelly said.

After graduation, Kelly worked with the Kansas City Chiefs as a fan experience representative for a year, and was a marketing coordinator at the University of Akron before finding her way to Minot State. In short, Kelly has been involved in sports for a majority of her life and knew she wanted to work in college athletics.

Kelly already has an amazing stat sheet when it comes to her career, but she is still reaching for the highest title when it comes to college athletics so she can be in a role where she can bring a different type of passion to the department.

“Professionally, I want to continue in my leadership role and keep at the SWA position while obtaining an athletic director position or assistant athletic director position looked down upon compared to their male colleagues. Both Kelly and Renz are grateful for the opportunities that they have been given thus far. But with these opportunities, and the positions they are in now, they want to use their platform to continue to change the way females are perceived in sports.

“Personally, it’s amazing to see the changes already. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but I feel very proud to be a female and see female coaches in the NBA, female referees in the Superbowl, and a female vice president. As much as females want change, we also must remain patient in the process and continue to work towards our goals,” Renz said.

“I want to continue breaking barriers not only for students and individuals interested in sports, but for women as well. I think it’s important to have a diverse group of individuals as a part of an organization for feedback on different situations, but as well as being able to move forward,” Kelly said. “I think women can bring the passion and kindness that can sometimes be missed in departments, and I hope and pray that one day we see more females and other diverse figures within athletic departments.”

Renz and Kelly both hope to continue their steps toward change in athletics at Minot State but don’t only want change on campus, but all over the country so females in all roles feel comfortable to share their ideas and let their voice be heard.

“Women supporting women needs to be a daily priority. We all need to be there for each other, especially in a male-dominated sports industry. Yet, we must be willing to work together with men in order to accomplish our goal,” Renz said. “If I could give any advice to younger girls who want to be in the sports industry, it would be to never strive for someone else’s greatness but to remain focused on your personal goals and never lose yourself in the process.”


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