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Elevating And Enhancing The SWA Role With The ACC’s Jessica Rippey & Duke’s Heather Ryan

Guest Jessica Rippey, ACC; Heather Ryan, Duke
22:52 min watch


ACC Senior Associate Commissioner/SWA Jessica Rippey and Duke Deputy AD for Student-Athlete Experience/SWA Heather Ryan sit down with ADU’s Steph Garcia Cichosz at the 2022 Women Leaders Convention to discuss the evolving role of the Senior Woman Administrator title and how they strive to elevate and empower women leaders in the industry. The duo share insight into how the ACC supports league SWAs, how the culture and leadership of each institution impacts the reach of its SWA and what comes next in the evolution of the title as women continue to ascend to higher leadership positions such as Director of Athletics and conference commissioner chairs.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - Jessica, in your role, you are the conference liaison to all league SWAs - how do you establish rapport with each one?
  • - How crucial is it to establish camaraderie and friendship among this group of women? How do you take into account the unique personality of each SWA as well as their institution? 
  • - Heather, what is this relationship like from your perspective? How effective are Jessica's efforts to facilitate camaraderie among the ACC's SWAs?
  • - Do you find it helpful for your role at Duke to get outside perspectives from your SWA peers?
  • - How does your role as SWA impact how you interact with student-athletes?
  • - Jessica, how do you feel your impact on student-athletes, from your vantage point at the conference office?
  • - Do you find that the personality of an athletic director impacts the role or breadth of work their SWA can do? 
  • - Heather, how do you engage with your female AD, Nina King, versus how past SWAs engaged with Duke's former AD Kevin White?
  • - The SWA title has been around since 1989; is this still an effective way to elevate women in college athletics?
  • - What's your perspective Jessica?
  • - How can we provide a more broad-based training or professional development for SWAs? Is that the responsibility of the NCAA or the individual institution?
  • - Jessica, do you have a perspective on this?
  • - What's been the proudest moment of your career thus far?