I’m on the Board of Directors of the Black Girl Hockey Club (BGHC), a non-profit organization dedicated to growing the game of hockey by making it more welcoming and accessible to those whom its culture has a dark history of marginalizing. BGHC’s mission is to always inspire a passion for the game within the Black community, specifically for our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends.
Achieving this requires a commitment to educating and engaging everyone within the hockey community, at all levels, to have honest discussions on how to achieve and sustain change.
Part of that is having real discussions, which for some are tough to comprehend because they’ve never had to deal with being negatively labeled, passed over for being a woman, disabled, LGBTQ, left out for lack of resources, not having enough money, or even constantly having to defend or validate their fandom or athleticism because of the color of their skin.
To shift the culture of hockey, we’ve got to reframe the narrative and make it one that embraces inclusivity. To help achieve this, BGHC is making itself available to host themed Digital Event Programs related to creating sustainable and impactful change in hockey. This past Monday, December 7 marked the first of these events in a powerful seminar sponsored by the Erie Otters.
I had the pleasure of being on this panel to discuss fan engagement, media, and marketing growth strategies that can be influential in creating a positive cultural shift for hockey at all levels.
Here are some of my take away points (scroll down to see my full 15+ min conversation, access to the digital resource guide, and link to view the event in its entirety).
- Real innovation is recognizing a need and fulfilling it. Nothing fancy to it. Being innovative is to challenge the way things have “always been,” and dare to make a difference within your organization.
- Create resources to serve those that have been disserved. Change agency should always start internally, making sure that your business has someone in a position of authority to actively seek out the relationships, skills, and knowledge areas necessary to make a positive change.
- It behooves everyone – black and white and everything – to rewrite the hockey narrative and make it illustrative of what it is (the best damn live sporting event out there) and what it could be (an inclusive, worldwide game of skill and athleticism that’s enjoyable for the whole family of multiple generations).
- Get humble. Remove the ego. Have the humility to know that you don’t know everything and that you can’t possibly understand the experience of those who have historically and systemically been marginalized. With that level of humility in positions of power, you can reach out sincerely to those you seek to involve and change the game.
- Be adaptive and then responsive. Continue to seek knowledge, get adaptive to this insight, and now be responsive – meaning put in the work and respond accordingly to make sure that your values match your actions as an organization.
Dr. Tunisha Singleton speaking at the Black Girl Hockey Club Digital Event
Click the link below to view the entire digital event here on YouTube:
Full Event: Authentic Engagement with the BIPOC Community Hosted by Black Girl Hockey Club, Presented by The Erie Otters
For more information, visit the Contact page to reach Dr. Singleton.