GREENSBORO, N.C. – Renowned speakers Jen Fry and Victoria Farris facilitated critical conversations and provided the UNC Greensboro (UNCG) athletics department with tangible action steps on achieving inclusive excellence on Tuesday, August 25.
The powerful session entitled “Invisible Playbook: How to Create a Culture of Inclusive Excellence,” had the entire athletics department staff participating in a workshop along with empowering discussions with their colleagues. In a time of heightened racial tension, police brutality, and social activism, this was a perfect collaborative learning opportunity.
Spartan administrators, staff, and coaches know that consistent small actions can sustain the movement, increase awareness, and make meaningful change.
Fry and Farris challenged athletics staff members during the two-hour Zoom session to think critically, exit their comfort zone, and engage in open, honest conversations. There was strong commentary on the current state of society along with emotional testimonials from participants.
Among the objectives of the session was creating a shared language, thinking critically about identity, and understanding the socialization of society. Farris and Fry shared with everyone that they can’t divorce systems and structures from institutions or individuals. They helped attendees establish definitions and a shared language around these crucial topics.
ABOUT JEN FRY: Fry, who earned her master’s degree from UNCG, is a renowned speaker, educator, and an advocate who developed JenFryTalks: a social justice education firm that uses
conversation to educate and empower those within athletics. She’s a veteran coach with over 15 years of experience at the collegiate level who has conducted workshops with many prominent NCAA athletic departments such as UCLA, Syracuse, Florida State, Northwestern, and Colgate.
ABOUT VICTORIA FARRIS: Farris is a dedicated student affairs and higher education leader with more than 12 years of progressive experience serving students at traditional and specialized arts institutions. A skilled problem solver with a knack for working strategically across teams to drive change and enhance the student experience, she launched Farris Consulting in 2017 with the goal of supporting student affairs and higher education with equity and inclusion consulting and training.
Kim Record, Director of Athletics: “A key takeaway was understanding that even though we are good people and anti-racist, this session was just the starting point for everybody because we all have work to do to make intentional choices that will help our student-athletes and staff respond to the social and systemic challenges they encounter.”
Kristin Rusboldt, Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services/Diversity & Intercultural Engagement: “I am inspired and excited that our staff bought in and showed up to support the lives and voices of our black student-athletes and staff while confronting some of their own biases.”
Dennis Jansen, Director of Facilities: “The opportunity to talk and share experiences in an open environment is one that most people do not get in the workplace.”
Jeff Trivette, Head Men’s Tennis Coach: “I believe that having these conversations gives me a new level of awareness that will allow me to be a better leader in my sport and program.”
April Albritton, Director of the Spartan Club: “It was important for me to engage in this opportunity because I need to be in a space where it is okay to feel rage, anger, nervousness, and hope. As African Americans, we walk around with so many emotions being bottled up, but with Jen Fry and Victoria, I finally felt okay to have so many emotions. I’m proud of UNCG athletics for starting this conversation.”
Fry’s Final Word
“Our passion for empowering college administrators with the necessary tools to inspire transformational change fuels our purpose in working with athletic departments across the country. It was great working with and seeing the UNCG staff engaged. I am looking forward to speaking with UNCG’s student-athletes in a few weeks.
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