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Women Leaders in Sports Podcast

Nov 14, 2021

Hello, and welcome to the Women Leaders podcast! I’m Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports. Today I’m sharing an insightful conversation with Dena Freeman-Patton, the Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics at California State University-Dominguez Hills.

Dena grew up a child of educators, and although she played rec softball and informal basketball growing up, high school was the first time she played organized basketball. That was early enough for her to earn a Dl scholarship!

It was through one of a few internships that she discovered her love for working in sports. Her longtime inclination to support others influenced her decision to pursue academic advising in college athletics.

But as she climbed through the administrative ranks in Division I athletics departments, Dena reached a crossroads. Through career training and conversations with connections and mentors, Dena realized she needed to change the industry perception of her and her skillsets, and she chose to become more strategic about moving up in athletics. She embarked on a 360-degree reflection, started “cross-training” (as she calls it) with trusted colleagues who could lend new skill sets, and set boundaries on what career moves would or would not be right for her.

In our conversation, Dena reminds us that we are in control of our career paths. She emphasizes that transparency allows leaders to be both effective and known...and being known leads to opportunities.

Don’t miss a moment of this conversation! And remember, we are Women Leaders!