During Women's History Month, we'll be spotlighting empowering women who are making moves in their industries and communities. This week, Whitney Bronson, Hampton University’s most recent trailblazer, sits down to talk with us about gender inequality in the workplace and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected her educational and career trajectory.
LOS ANGELES — “I want to try it!” Whitney exclaimed to her high school Athletic Director when the opportunity to become a commentator for the freshman and JV basketball teams approached. Although that was some years ago, Whitney still holds close an “I’ll try” attitude which has most recently led her to becoming Golden State Warriors’ Communications Assistant. Whitney’s love for the sports industry started off in high school when she became the commentator for the boys freshman and JV basketball teams. Soon after, she began writing for the school newspaper which introduced her to her love of journalism. In a family of medical specialists and educators, going down the sports management path was new, but it was made possible by her inner motivation to climb new mountains.
Here are the top 5 moments from the interview:
1. “It doesn’t make sense to hear all the talking down aimed at women when we’ve made it clear that we can play the same sport.”
When I was with the Niners and even now with the Warriors, not only am I the only black woman, but I’m the only black person on the Corporate Communications team. And now with the Warriors, I’m the only black person in the Communications department, period. So looking at the bigger picture, things are getting better, but there are still ways to go to diversify the workplace.
2. “That’s why in terms of journalism, I try to use my words to still be able to contribute to the conversation in my own way and still show my support.”
During the outbreak of the pandemic and the time period of protests and social unrest in 2020, it was really hard to see and fully understand how much we haven’t progressed as a country since the Civil Rights movement, which wasn’t that long ago. I mean, I have a brother who is a black man and to see the things happening to black men in this country is frightening. At the time, I was unsure of how to show support. A little black square on Instagram wasn’t enough, so I gave my energy to writing and using my words to make change.
3. What advice do you have for people who strive to create their own path?
Something that I’ve been working on cultivating within myself is not letting what people say/think affect me in a negative way. It really doesn’t matter what a random person on the internet says about me and the decision I’m making because I know what’s right for me.
4. How did the timing of your graduation from college coinciding with the pandemic affect your mental health?
Once covid happened, it was really difficult trying to finish school and deal with the fact that things were never going to be the same again. Having to come to terms that I wouldn’t get a graduation ceremony, when my whole family planned on coming, was very challenging. With education being so emphasized in my family, and me attending Hampton University, a HBCU, this was a milestone in my life that I wanted to enjoy and to have that ripped out from under me was devastating. However, with covid crippling the job market, I got the resolve to pursue my masters degree in Sports Management which led me to my current position with the Warriors now.
5. Why do you think International Women’s Day (IWD) is important?
Nothing would be possible without women, especially when it comes to the United States. This country was built off the backs of women, especially black women. They say black history is American history, and I think Women’s history is American History too. For instance, Taylor Kielpinski-Rogers, the Vice President of Communications at the Boston Celtics, is someone who I see tearing down long-held systems of gender and racial inequality in the workplace. This is the representation that motivates me in my career path.
Ultimately, that's one of my goals - I want to provide inspiration and break those barriers for women as well. I feel like we’re just starting the climb in making these organizations equitable between men and women. All you need is one person to put their foot in the door to make it possible for others and I’m working towards making that person me.
What song are you currently obsessed with?
The entire The Melodic Blue album by Baby Keem is my favorite song!
What’s your favorite basketball memory?
My favorite memory was when I had scored my game high at 22 points.
What would you say to your younger self?
Don’t get discouraged. Keep doing what you’re doing and give yourself more grace. With all the work that you’re putting in, you’re going to get to where you want to get to. You’re exactly where you had planned to be, so be kind to you and try your best.
For more about Whitney Bronson, follow Instagram account @Whit_Bit98.
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