Atlanta Hawks Host Interactive Leadership Development Workshop For Young Women In High School And College

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Atlanta Hawks and Papa Johns hosted an interactive leadership development workshop as part of their ‘Business of Basketball’ events entitled, ‘EmpowerHER’ for Atlanta high-school and college women. The workshop, which took place at the award-winning State Farm Arena, was facilitated by Karen Boettler, Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development Programs at Kennesaw State University. The event included a panel of team members from the Hawks and Papa Johns who discussed the importance of exhibiting effective leadership within their organizations.

“We are proud to partner with Papa Johns, who share our commitment to having empowering conversations that build up the future leaders of Atlanta,” said Hawks and State Farm Arena Chief Innovation and Technology Officer Kim Rometo. “Today’s event is meant to bring young women together and inspire them through stories and tools from established leaders so they can visualize what future success looks like for them.”

The panel featured Hawks and Papa Johns team members including Jenn Garner (Senior Director, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Papa Johns), Fred Ravenell (Vice President of Guest Services Operations at the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena), Kim Rometo (Chief Information and Technology Officer at the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena) and Erika Shaw (Senior Manager of Premium Activation and Membership Services at the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena). Moderated by LaTonya DeBruce (Manager of Recruiting and Workforce Development at the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena), the panel explored the characteristics of an effective leader and highlighted areas of opportunities for various leadership personalities.

“At Papa Johns, the number one strategic priority for our company is to build a culture of leaders who believe in diversity, inclusivity and winning, and our commitment to DEI must extend beyond our own walls,” said Papa Johns Senior Director of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Jenn Garner. “It’s experiences like today’s event with the Atlanta Hawks that promote more equitable representation of women in leadership.”

As part of the event, the young women participated in a workshop facilitated by Karen Boettler on the fundamentals of leadership and learned about practical strategies that help future leaders excel at managing, engaging and motivating high-performing teams. The workshop then broke out into smaller groups, which focused on self-advocacy and empowering conversations that build up the self-esteem of future women leaders.

To conclude the event, light bites and refreshments were served to all attendees. All participants received giveaways from Papa Johns and the Atlanta Hawks and were invited to attend the Hawks versus Indiana game.  

The workshop was part of the Hawks and Papa Johns’ ‘Business of Basketball’ events, which are focused on youth leadership development for local high school and college students. Earlier this month, the organizations hosted an interactive workshop entitled, ‘No Cap: Authenticity in Leadership,’ which highlighted the importance of inclusive leadership and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in school, work and life.

In February 2022, the Hawks announced a multi-year exclusive partnership with Papa Johns to become the team’s official pizza partner. In June 2022, the Atlanta Hawks and Papa Johns hosted an interactive workshop entitled, ‘Why Inclusive Leaders are Good for Organizations and How to Become One,’ for students from surrounding universities at Morehouse College. The workshop brought together local students from surrounding historically black colleges and universities for a discussion on creating positive and productive work environments that encourage the success of team members, organizations and the communities they serve. Additionally, the partnership focuses on positively impacting the community in multiple ways including ‘Hawks Spirit Days’, memorable experiences for youth at select Community Centers around Atlanta.


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