BABSON PARK, Mass.—Babson College Senior Director of Athletics and Athletic Advancement Mike Lynch took part in a professional development opportunity on mentoring at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Women in Athletics Symposium last month at Roanoke College. Lynch joined MIT Director of Athletics Julie Soriero for the presentation.
Eighty women from conference-member schools attended the event conducted by the league's senior woman administrators in conjunction with the conference office. The symposium focused on professional development and networking opportunities for women working in member-school athletics departments.
"It was a real honor to visit with aspiring administrators and coaches at the ODAC," said Lynch. "I have always felt strongly about providing avenues for women to achieve success in college sports, and this conference provided a terrific opportunity to share ideas. I enjoyed partnering with Julie and ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston on this important project."
The pair presented on a topic titled "The Power of Mentoring: Cultivating Successful Mentor Relationships" during three different sessions. They discussed the effectiveness of pairing experienced and inexperienced coaches in mentor-type relationships, the importance of both the mentor and mentee contributing, and formulating relationships with people who have your best interest in mind while sharing your value system.
They also spoke on managing relationships with long-tenured coaches as an administrator, and ensuring they know that their opinion matters and their longevity in the department and investment in the program is valued and acknowledged.
Lynch led several role-play scenarios, having people partner up and serve as the mentor and mentee. One scenario involved having the mentor ask questions and initiate a discussion with the mentee. ODAC Director of Championships Bethany Dannelly, who helped organize the event, eluded to people reaching out to others following the symposium and asking them to serve as mentors.
"The conference senior woman administrators identified the mentoring topic and felt it was important to have both a male and female administrator speak," said Dannelly. "Having the support of a male administrator, especially when many of the administrators they work with are men, was important to the group. Mike's enthusiasm for the topic and vested interest in the advancement of women in athletics was highly valued by everyone in attendance."
Those in attendance included administrators, coaches, athletic trainers, and sports information personnel. Six presenters provided the content for the programming, which centered on developing skill sets and facilitating network opportunities to help with the retention of women in athletics.