NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 42: Ashley Jackson, Nicole Dabbs, Kourtney Thomas

by Scott Caufield, Ashley Jackson, MEd, CSCS, RSCC, Dr. Nicole C. Dabbs, PhD, FNSCA, and Kourtney Thomas, CSCS,*D
Coaching Podcast November 2018

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Ashley Jackson, Nicole Dabbs, and Kourtney Thomas have been very influential in each of their careers in the field of strength and conditioning and are a part of the executive council of the National Strength and Conditioning Associations (NSCA) Women’s Committee. They talk with NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about their journey in the field of strength and conditioning and how to teach and influence future coaches. Topics under discussion include: internships, experience, networking, mentorship, and current/ future roles of women in strength and conditioning.

Find Scott on Twitter: @scottcaulfield

Show Notes

“I’m not just supporting strength coaches, or just female strength coaches – I’m making sure that the best people are here and a part of our profession and being supported.”

-          Ashley 2:56

“Reach out to people and say ‘hey here’s the reason why I think you’re amazing – I love what you do and I’d like to learn more about it.’” Kourtney 5:45

“It’s important to have someone who supports you and is leading you into your profession.” Nicole 7:15

“More importantly, you have to take control of yourself and your own future… you’ve got to show up.” Nicole 7:21

“We’re all leading student-athletes, we’re all trying to empower and cultivate a good culture with these young kids and they [sport coaches at Michigan] do a really good job of it. Why can’t I use some of the things they’re doing?” Ashley 11:20

“I make sure my students have every opportunity they’re willing to take… to better themselves and put them in a good position.” Nicole           15:40

“I think that education is first thing you need to take care of and then getting in a weight room and physically training yourself, getting comfortable with a barbell, getting comfortable with what ‘hurt’ feels like and being able to talk about it and communicate it with someone else.” Ashley 20:18

“Do the necessary requirements… put in your time, do whatever it takes to get there.”

 Ashley 21:41

“Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.” Scott 21:48

“Volunteer and apply—if you meet the minimum requirements, you never know!”

 Nichole 23:42

“Open your brain to what you are passionate about and how you might want to help people and how you can do that.” Kourtney 26:16

“We [NSCA] need to build a culture that is inclusive.” Nicole 28:28

“If we want something changed, then we have to be a part of that.” Ashley 29:56

Reporting Errors: To report errors in a podcast episode requiring correction or clarification, email the editor at publications@nsca.com or write to NSCA, attn: Publications Dept., 1885 Bob Johnson Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Your letter should be clearly marked as a letter of complaint. Please (a) identify in writing the precise factual errors in the published podcast episode (every false, factual assertion allegedly contained therein), (b) explain with specificity what the true facts are, and (c) include your full name and contact information.

Transcription

This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, episode 42.

I'm not just supporting strength coaches or just female strength coaches. I'm making sure that the best people are here and a part of our profession and being supported.

This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.

Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Scott Caulfield. With me today, Ashley Jackson, strength and conditioning coach at the University of Michigan, Nichole Dabbs, associate professor at Cal State San Bernardino, and Kourtney Thomas, owner of Kourtney Thomas Coaching. Thanks for being on the show, appreciate it.

Thanks, Scott.

Yeah, thanks for having us.

Thanks for having us.

We are here at the 41st Annual National Conference. You might hear some clanging and banging in the background because they're literally tearing down the exhibit hall behind us. So please excuse any outside noise. But how's the conference been for everybody?

Good, productive.

Yeah, really good.

Outstanding. And we were at the Women's Committee SIG meeting earlier today, and you guys make up some of the Executive Council of the SIG. So maybe Nichole, why don't you talk about what the Women's Committee even is for some of our listeners who might be new to the NSCA or thinking about wanting to be more involved. What are you guys doing, and what's your role here?

Yeah. The Women's Committee is involved with about nine females in our organization. And we really try to empower women and really try to include women in other things and try to get them more involved, actively involved, in NSCA. So we don't want them to just be involved with the Women's Committee but all throughout NSCA in various forms-- so a state level, regional level, on committees, on the board.

We have our first female president getting passed the gavel tonight at our banquet. So I think that's a really exciting time for us. And the committee is excited to experience that with Travis tonight. So I think that is one of our main goals, and really trying to just network and get females to feel included, not just with us but with the organization as a whole.

Awesome. And maybe Kourtney and Ashley also chime in about what have you guys done otherwise and how you're associated as volunteers with NSCA as well.

Well, as the chair of the committee, I'm just trying to guide our members initially and then just disperse through the rest of the organization and our members. We're talked about empowerment but also just lifting each other up and supporting each other as a coach or a fitness professional, or if you're a professor or you have your own business. It's something. I'm not just supporting strength coaches or just female strength coaches. I'm making sure that the best people are here and a part of our profession and being supported.

Yeah. We had a lot of conversation in our meeting yesterday-- and definitely in the Solutions Session as well-- about really just advocating for each other and for women in, like Ashley mentioned, all the different areas of our industry as a whole. And what all of that looks like and some of the challenges that we're facing, certainly, in our culture in those different buckets of the industry, and how we can address that. And having a lot of really good conversation around that lately too.

Super cool. Yeah. So one of the things that came out of the meeting that we were in earlier today was we're talking about helping women, or more visibility for women, getting some of these positions. And a lot of the similar theme that came up was having the mentor or being a mentor.

So yeah, why don't you guys take a crack at that. Talk to me about-- again, one of the-- I mentioned it. I think it's important for women to mentor women and to help tell them, hey, this is how I got to where I am. And that's been a really big theme of this podcast is that we've showed people's career path.

And again, you guys all represent different areas within this profession, super cool opportunity. So maybe talk a little bit about that role of mentorship and how you guys are going to be able to help mentor others and as well as-- maybe Kourtney jump in first as a business and someone's who's done a lot within the field.

Yeah, absolutely, happy to. I actually have talked about this a lot really recently in the last six months or so, that I'd have done it for myself and have shared my process in really reaching out and thinking beyond networking because that's not really what it is. It's really all about building relationships.

And so I did a thing for three straight months, every single day, for-- Monday through Friday, I met with a new woman in my community and reached out to just all different kinds of people. It was some people in the industry, some people who were not.

I think that's something really important that I would mention is definitely a mentor in your industry is great, but a mentor outside of it can be even better. Especially if you are a business owner, you want somebody in the industry for that type of professional expertise and whatnot, but you still have to run your business. So it's really great to have a broader depth of experience and everything.

And I can't recommend that enough. Reach out to people and say, hey, here's the reason why I think you're amazing, and I love what you're doing, and I'd love to learn more about it. And that was a huge, huge thing for me in really making a lot of really meaningful connections and expanding my business a lot in a very short period of time-- and really opening up to a lot more opportunities for the future as well.

And the only thing that I always caveat that with is never email somebody and say, hey, I want to pick your brain. That's like the total wrong way to go about getting a mentor. Always respect people's time. Respect your own, but respect people's time.

And I think definitely go for the ask. If there's somebody that you want to talk to that you might be interested in having a mentorship relationship or whatever, certainly approach them. But be respectful of the fact that everybody is as busy as you are and it should be a mutually beneficial relationship in some way.

Absolutely, yeah. Nichole, anything to add from the professor side?

Yeah. I mean, I think we talk about having female mentors, but I never had a female mentor. One of my main, I guess, mentors were never a female. They're mostly males. And that's probably the reality for a lot of people because in certain industries, it's a male dominated area.

And I would have loved to have a female mentor. And I probably have, I guess, thinking about it, somewhere along the way, little ones. But my big mentors, like Lee Brown and Jay Garner, they're males. But they're supportive, obviously, of me and what I've been doing. So I think that's important to just have someone that supports you and is leading you in the way that you-- into your profession.

But I think more importantly is you have to take control of yourself, right? And your own future. And if you want to email someone, email them. Do it professionally, but-- or look for that internship or look for those opportunities. You've got to show up.

And I think that's the thing that's not happening sometimes is that females, or people, maybe, in general, are just not showing up to the table. And that oftentimes leads to them not getting those opportunities, but-- they're missed because they're not even trying. Or they might not know about an internship because they didn't even go look for it. They want it hand-fed.

So I think encouraging those things-- but the students that I have that are work with me, that I do mentor, they-- I mean, I tell them about all the opportunities all the time. And I think that's really helped them. They've come to-- I have students that are here, coming to conferences for years now, and they're getting some of the opportunities that I know I got as a young student. So I think that's really good to just be open to that.

And sometimes we are really busy and it's really hard to open that communication, but simply saying hi-- I had a student last NSCA conference that was at a university near me, and they didn't have a biomechanics lab. And she wanted to do a thesis of biomechanics, and I said, hey, come do it.

And so she's from Morocco, and she was at a university close to me. And she came in, collected her data with us, and my students helped her. And they presented it here at NSCA this year. And so it's kind of cool because it's not necessarily in your backyard. And it simply happened by her just saying hi to me and saying she was interested, and she followed up. She followed up with an email.

And I think those things are just really important, that you make those connections and have those relationships. And it doesn't have to be like, will you be my mentor and have a check yes or no box. But--

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

Yeah. And I think a lot of young professionals think that, that it has to be this formal thing.

And there's a variety of types of mentors for different aspects of your business or your life or career. So I think that is really useful to know that there's people that-- I know I can pick up the phone anytime and call Lee Brown and he'll answer, and he will give me good advice. But I also know that if it's maybe past 9:00 PM, he will not answer, but-- and I might go to someone else for different things.

And so I think those are important to realize that you have people and places for different reasons. And I think that's--

Cool. Ashley, anything to add from the collegiate strength and conditioning side?

Yeah, I mean, I think you need to create your mentorship situation that you're looking for. People always say, I wish I had a mentor. I wish this person would talk to me or that they were my mentor. Well, create it for yourself. If you need to reach out to them via email, walk up to them at a conference. Get to know them-- actually get to know them as a person, as a coach, as a professional, and regardless of the insignia on their shirt.

I think that's something that college strength coaches specifically sometimes struggle with is, well, what's your name again? And where are you coaching? Why does it matter if they're a good strength coach? So regardless of the block M on their shirt or if they're at a NAI school, if they're a really good strength coach, seek them out and talk with them and learn from them. And cultivate that relationship because you never know who your boss is going to be or who you want to hire and be the boss. So always just building that camaraderie and getting out of your comfort zone.

I think that's the biggest thing, too, is a lot of times, we're so set in our ways of I can only talk to my friends. I can only talk to my power 5 buddies. I can only talk to the people I went to school with. Well, why? No one made those rules. Reach out, shake a hand, take them to coffee. No one's going to ever turn down a free cup of coffee. That's a super simple way.

And I mean-- and Kourtney spoke about kind of outside your realm, I've the opportunity at Michigan to be around a lot of really awesome, high profile, sport coaches and administrators and athletic directors. There's no reason that I can't meet with them and sit down and "pick their brain," quote unquote, about what they're doing. We're all leading student athletes. We're all trying to empower and cultivate a good culture with these young kids. They do a really good job of it, why can't I use something that they're doing?

Yeah. No, that's awesome. All of them. And Nichole, too, you said you've had mostly male mentors. It's funny. I'm like, well, maybe I'm an anomaly because I don't think I've ever really intentionally sought out female mentors, but a lot of the mentors that I've had in strength and conditioning have been females.

So I mentioned, Leanne, Blin in the strength and conditioning earlier, like the first person I ever sought out when I wanted to learn how to do strongman. She lived in Massachusetts. I used to drive like three hours to meet up with her. Caitlin Sweeney, who some of you guys know, was at Dartmouth with me and was basically my boss. And she was in charge of football.

And so I learned under these people. I went to a private facility, and a woman named Jen Poljasek was kind of the chief operating officer there. And the business side of things, or the managing people side of things, I learned from her. But it's funny because I don't know if I just wasn't-- if I didn't have stereotypes where I just thought I had to learn from a specific type of person about it.

But I mean, again, my mom was also a basketball coach. So maybe at a younger age, I was-- I saw someone in a position that I knew-- that I was familiar with, and maybe that allowed it to be broken down. But certainly whether they were man or woman never came into my head when I was thinking about it. I was like, oh, that person's doing something I want to do, I need to find out more about how to do that from them.

Yeah.

I would agree with you that you're probably a rare case, but that I also think that that's what makes you a great advocate. Like Nicole talking about how it doesn't-- and I agree. It it doesn't necessarily matter that you're seeking out a specifically woman mentor or whatever. It's the right person for what you're looking for and a right match. But I always think about male mentors more as like advocates, and you kind of have to seek that out specifically too.

Because sometimes you have to get-- like Ashley said, you have to get to know people to understand what their intentions are and if that's really aligned with what you want to do and the direction that you want to go. But again, I feel like I didn't know that about you, first of all, but that makes a lot of sense based on how you show up for our industry and everything. So I mean, I think that's a good thing.

Yeah. Well, and I guess, too-- how about-- I wanted to say a little bit, too, because I was talking about earlier how you guys can be available to people as mentors. So I don't know. Do you have ideas for-- we kind of touched on it, but like through social media or whatever it may be, how are you able to kind of open your doors and be more available to help younger people? Or not even younger people. Maybe it's people that are trying to change professions. How do you do that? Or even somebody-- maybe if someone's out there listening, that's been a coach for a long time, and the light bulb's going off and like, oh, man, I really could do a better job probably of helping other people. What do you do at that point?

Yeah--

I think you have to show up and you have to ask, as far as the person that wants to get mentored. But for the mentor themselves, I mean, has to be open and willing. And sometimes people aren't, or they're bad mentors. There are definitely bad mentors.

Sure, absolutely.

And so I think building a relationship, figuring out, is this really a good fit? Because sometimes, it's just this-- I do not get along with this person and maybe they-- I do not want them to be a mentor. Or you figure out, through people that you work with, of what not to do.

I've determined that along the way, of people-- I do not want to be that type of professor. I do not want to bring someone into my office and yell at them and tell them that their publications suck, right? That I've had the experience happen to.

And so you want to make sure that you're helping your students, and-- for me, working with students. And I mean, Lee Brown always taught me take care of your kids. And so if I have students, they're taken care of. We try to get funding for them. We try to make sure-- I give them every opportunity that they're willing to take. I can't force them to do stuff, but they're willing to take to better themselves and put them in a good position.

I know we discussed at our last session that maybe building-- as far as a committee, we could maybe build some sort of network within our own community of females that are attending our sessions. Maybe doing some sort of mentoring-- I don't want to say matchmaking, but some sort of opportunity to say, hey, are you willing to be a mentor? Or you want to be a mentee? Here's some contacts, figure it out-- let you guys figure it out, but at least build some relationships via that social media or just email. So I think that is important.

I think-- I mean, I know for me-- which, Scott, you mentioned, and thank you-- I am generally very approachable and open and online. And I keep all that stuff open. So for the other side of it, and I think I mentioned this when I was talking earlier, don't be afraid to just reach out to people because you'd be surprised. They may come off as like, oh, they're working a lot or they're busy or whatever. But you'd be surprised how many people check their direct messages or actually are checking their email every single day and will get back to you. So you just always ask.

And certainly from the perspective everybody has a different bandwidth for how much available time they have to mentor or put in a little extra or give back or whatever. But if that's something that you're into, you can communicate that and put it out there that, hey, this is just something that I'm into or whatever. Always feel free to reach out and ask me questions. Or even that can start the conversation, which you're kind of seeing, which makes a lot of sense. A lot of times, it happens organically, so--

I think it was something that I was looking for, as I grow in my career, is a way to give back, but like a very physical way to be hands on with it. And I found myself as the internship coordinator at our university, and this was my first semester. And it's something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and I finally got the opportunity to take it over.

And it's-- I'm really enjoying it because it's-- my ability to create kind of that relationship that I didn't have and that I always looked for. And so it's a way for me to help formulate that and educate the kids, our young strength coaches that are coming up through this, and send them along their way if this is what they really want to do. So I'm really enjoying that new part of my job.

Yeah. That's cool. I think, like you said, too, it's been touched on a couple of times. It might not be an official, will you be my mentor, please, awkward, first date kind of question. And it could be more formal, though, too. I think there's different levels. And what I think, too, about it is my relationship with Leanne wasn't like that. It was just like-- it was kind of common connection. I was trying to learn from her and wasn't like an official mentor thing.

 

But now I do something with our interns, and we have this mentorship notebook that we go through, and we kind of meet-- it's a workbook, and we meet every week. And there's different things. Basically it's more really like, who you are, what you want to be, what you want to do. We talk about core values, talk about goal setting, stuff like that. And I get to know them a lot better, and they get to know each other through that process.

And that's definitely a little bit more of a formal, I guess, mentorship relationship, then, in that aspect-- where I'm actually giving them homework to do, and they're bringing it back. So I think that's an important kind of thing to keep in mind too. There's different levels of it.

And obviously as we grow and change in our careers, it's going to ebb and flow. And we'll need different types of that in how we give and get for it. So that's super cool, though, to hear the different things. How about from getting into different areas within the profession and getting involved? If someone wants to be a strength and conditioning coach at Michigan, what kind of must-dos or keys do you have for them, Ashley?

Well, I think that that list is growing annually, of the minimum requirements of things that you have to do to get hired on as a full-time strength coach. But hopefully that's for a good reason in that we are maintaining the highest-- educated strength and conditioning professionals are being hired and continue to have employment.

I think education is the first thing that you need to take care of, and then getting in a weight room-- physically training yourself, getting comfortable with the barbell, getting comfortable with what hurt feels like and being able to talk about it and communicate it with someone else. But if you can do those simultaneously, I think that that's the most efficient way.

While you're in school, get in the weight room, go volunteer somewhere. If you can't get into a college weight room, go to a private training facility. Be around other coaches, be around athletes. Just really-- like I was talking about earlier, just mold your scenario that you want. There are so many, so many opportunities out there to be around coaches or even get to coach kids or don't take advantage of those.

If you get to coach 10-year-olds-- and that was something Joe Kenn talked about earlier. If it's 10-year-olds you're coaching, be the best 10-year-old strength coach that there is. If it's NFL, then you better be really good, or you'll be gone tomorrow. But do the necessary requirements.

Like I said, education, spend your time in the weight room, and put in your time. I know a lot of people don't like to hear that, and-- put in your time. And what does that time look like, and how long? And how many internships do I need to do unpaid? Do as many as you need to. If this is something that you're super passionate about and you want to be a strength coach, especially in the college setting at a big time university, do what it takes. Do whatever it takes to get there.

I like it. I've always said, I tell everybody that my quote is, "you don't give up what you want most for what you want now." Right?

Yeah, that's good.

Yeah, if that's-- if you really want to be that, then do what it takes and don't quit too soon. And when you think about it-- or quit some of the things you need to quit to be able to get there. Nichole, how about from your side? If someone wants to be an associate professor, any kind of must-dos, gotta do it, key--

A lot of school.

School, educational requirements.

Yeah, I mean, it goes back to of having a mentor in that setting, too, to guide some of that. But keeping your grades up, all the things that we know, but then also showing up-- so the lab, where we do a lot of research, and that's the key to our profession. So you have to come and show up to the lab.

You have to put other things aside. And if you can't, then you're not going to put in the time. The more hours you can put in, the more beneficial it's going to be for your career. And then eventually you can start presenting at conferences and go from there.

And then-- I mean, part of our profession as professors is teaching and then part of it is research and part of it is service. And the service part, I do a lot, with the NSCA. And so some of that is getting involved externally from our university and being here and being at the conferences and getting involved at different levels.

And so I think that's something cool to talk about because it's nice to give back. I know as a graduate student, I got women's scholarships and challenge scholarships as a graduate student, and I got a lot from the NSCA. And so it's nice to be on the other side and be able to give back to the NSCA and mentor other people and see the processes that happen throughout the volunteer service. So I think that is important.

So I mean, I think encouraging young professionals to get involved as a student rep on a committee or even just volunteering-- apply. If you do meet the minimum requirements, apply. See what happens. You never know. I did that as a PhD student, and I've been on a membership committee for six years, and I just rotated off.

So I think that that's something that doesn't hurt. It doesn't cost anything to apply, at least in our profession. Physical therapy school, it's different. It does cost to apply. But I think that getting involved and giving back, and that's another way that I like to give back.

But just working hard, and-- I mean, I think there's sometimes a misconception about academia that, oh, I have the summers off. And I'm like, I wish I had the summers off. But you know, you're doing other things. I might be teaching, but I'm doing research or working with the students or prepping or doing other things. So there is flexibility, but there is-- if you want to get further, there is a lot of work involved with that. So you have to just get in the lab and get research experience, I think is one of the big things, at least starting out.

Definitely. Cool. Yeah, I think the NSCA involvement, too, is a lot. And if people are interested in a lot-- I mean, one, I tell people all the time, if you're a student, join as a member when you're a student because everything is cheaper. Once you're not a student anymore, it's not cheap anymore. So do it when you're a student and get involved.

But I mean, I was a state director before I worked at headquarters. And I never turned down anybody that wanted to help me out at a state clinic for free. So if you're thinking, oh, I don't really know how I can get involved, almost every single state has a state director, or we have regional directors. Reach out to those people, see if they'll let you help out. And I'm pretty sure nobody is going to turn down a free set of hands to help. Even if you're literally checking people in at a clinic, you're probably going to get in that clinic for free. You're going to get to hang out. You're going to get to meet people.

Kourtney, how about getting into your profession? Obviously you did a lot before you're able to start an online coaching business and some of the coaching stuff you do, but what are some of the real key points to being able to get to the point where you're at?

Yeah, I can definitely speak to the personal training side of things. And we actually had a really good conversation at the personal training SIG Solution Session this morning, too. A lot of times, there's a misconception that you really only have the option of working in a big box gym or opening your own gym, and that's the only way to be a personal trainer or to be a fitness coach or whatever you want to call it.

And I think it's really important to remember that there are a lot of really cool and interesting and impactful ways to go these days. So open your brain to what you are passionate about and how you might want to help people and how you can do that. But that being said, those two options are certainly viable.

There was actually a conversation about how there's a negative stigma around working at a big box gym in the beginning as a trainer. And that's actually not the worst thing in the world because you get to work with a huge, wide range of people. You can learn a lot about business , sales and all of the different things, kind of get your feet under you because--

It certainly was my experience as well, in the beginning. I was like, well, I need to learn how to actually train people. I know what the book says and what my certification test said, but how do I actually do this with real human beings?

So just as Ashley and Nichole both said, you've got to put your time in. And you've got to spend some hours on the floor training actual human beings of different types and bodies and methods and whatever else, and all that good kind of stuff. And over time is how you get to figure out-- like I did-- OK, I don't want to work for somebody else. My philosophy doesn't align with theirs because these are, like you said, my core values, or this is the type of training I want to do. This is a population that I'm very good with.

And then you can start making those decisions of, is that going out on my own? Is it a facility? Is it online? Which, again, I've transitioned to over time. But there's lots of choices. But in the beginning, don't underestimate, again, putting in your time. And you're not going to be training celebrities tomorrow when you start, so--

No, that's great. You guys all have such a great, unique view-set too. How-- I guess this is great. We're talking about some of these hot topics. We've got this women's committee, and we've talked about, well, how do we get them involved in different NSCA?

I mean, how, overall, do you think this is going? I feel like we're talking about it more, right? So there seems to be more awareness. So how does the NSCA and people listening to this who are NSCA members keep this-- keep the ball rolling, keep it gathering more steam? What else do we need to be doing? You guys have--

I think that we just need to build a culture that is inclusive and involving females and not being exclusive. So I think we've discussed that on different occasions, but I think that is one way the NSCA can-- NSCA members can be more inclusive in what we're doing with females without-- I mean, it doesn't always have to be all about females, but it just needs to be open. And I think that the more that culture starts to shift-- and I think it is doing that slowly-- that that will be more in line with what our goals are as a committee, I think.

Cool.

Yeah. I think a huge part of that is awareness of what that looks like. A lot of times, people get the wrong idea about what inclusiveness is or what it means, like you said, to elevate the voices of women and other marginalized populations. And historically, we have struggled with that as an industry. And it's still a current issue, by the way.

But just having an awareness that it can be very small shifts. It can be just becoming aware that people are different and have different life experiences. And we can acknowledge that and start to behave in more appropriate ways toward all of the people around. And that creates, ultimately, a more inclusive culture and environment for everyone.

Cool. Ashley?

Yeah, we were just talking about it a little bit earlier. I said I think we're past the point of just being able to show up. We're going to have to take an active role. If we want something changed, then we have to be a part of that. And attending the conference is a great first step, but continue to do that. Don't come once every five years, once every recert period. Come every year if you can, and come as much as you can. Bring your friends and talk to them, and talk to people you don't know and bring up these subjects-- not with just women, with men also, with the exhibitors, with the coaches, with the presenters, with the president of the organization. Make your voice heard.

Yeah.

Yep.

Yeah, and I think the more that we have women involved, I think that's just-- it doesn't have to be the Women's Committee. The Women's Committee could go away, right? Once we-- and I think that it doesn't always have to be this thing-- we don't want it to be separate. We want it to be that we're just trying to encourage females to be involved in several ways.

And then when you do volunteer your time, show up. I mean, not just show up, show up, but do something. And don't just be on a committee to sit there and not answer e-mails or never do anything. The whole point is that you wanted to be involved, so actually do stuff. I mean, I've been on countless things where people just don't do anything. I'm like, well, why are you even here, taking a spot from someone else? And so there's things that you have to also do the work. And so I think that's important to know.

Well, and I think we were talking about it earlier too, but you made a great point, is the Women's Committee Solution Session. Today we had a couple of men in there, and sometimes people have been like, oh, it's the Women's Committee Solution Session. I'm a man, I'm not allowed in there, right? So maybe we need to communicate, too, a little better that no, no, this-- or the women's luncheon, that--

Right

There's only been one man in there, so what else do we need to do to let guys know, hey, no, we want you as part of this discussion.

Right.

Right

We're just hosting it, or we're just sponsoring it, but we're not excluding other people. We want everyone to be included.

Yeah. Well, that's great. Well, I really appreciate you guys taking the time out. This has been super. We'll best-- let's go around real quick, Kourtney, Nichole, then Ashley. If people want to reach out, they heard something on the show, how do they follow up with you after this?

Well, I'm Kourtney, and all my stuff is super easy. It's Kourtney with a K, Kourtney Thomas.com, Kourtney Thomas Coach on any social media.

Cool.

For Nichole, this is-- my email is ndabbs, D-A-B-B-S, at csusb.edu.

For Ashley, my email is ash, A-S-H-J-A-C-K at umich.edu.

Great. And we'll put that stuff all in the show notes as well. But really appreciate you being on the show, and enjoy the rest of the conference.

Yeah. Thanks so much.

Thanks.

Thanks, Scott.

Thank you for listening to the NSCA's Coaching Podcast. We truly appreciate your support, and we wouldn't do this without you. So we are very appreciative. If you enjoyed the podcast, please go write us a review. Please subscribe so you get these episodes delivered to you every other week, right on time. Go to nsca.com and check out everything else that we have to offer. We've got a podcast download page. We've got tons of other content. So check us out there. And again, thank you for your support.

This was the NSCA's Coaching Podcast. The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 by strength and conditioning coaches to share information, resources, and help advance the profession. Serving coaches for over 40 years, the NSCA is the trusted source for strength and conditioning professionals. Be sure to join us next time.

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