Nicole M. LaVoi, PhD, is a world-class researcher and thought leader on the importance of sports for the health and well-being of girls and women.

Over the course of 25 years of coaching executives and business owners on leadership, nearly everyone I’ve coached has been influenced by some form of injustice. Some get angry and derail themselves. Others find the motivation to make the world around them better. That’s why I’m so happy to introduce you to Nicole LaVoi, PhD – a good leader who let an early-life injustice fuel her instincts for good leadership, and as the passion for her career.

Pivot point

“I’ve always been athletic, and really good at sports,” Nicole explained. “So, when I was ten years old, I wanted to play basketball, but in those days in St. Paul, that meant I had to try out for the boys team. I was really excited when I made the boys team! But then, our school Principal – a man – told me that I should quit the team, and go to dance or join the Girl Scouts. That’s precisely the moment I started fighting for equity for girls in sports.”

Nicole (right) was honored by the Minnesota Lynx as one of the most inspiring women in sports.

“Fairness” is likely the most combustible value of the four Cornerstones of Goodness: excellence, generosity, fairness, and positivity. When good leaders feel their sense of fairness has been violated, they take action!  That’s the life of Nicole LaVoi. Today, she is the co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. She’s transformed her life through the challenges she faced, into life-changing/society-changing research and advocacy.

Nicole’s life’s work is advancing the idea that physically-active girls are happier, healthier, and better leaders. She does that through the Tucker Center at the University of Minnesota.

Fairness makes everything better

The main point of her work, as she explains: “When children play sports, a lot of opportunity for good things happen. For girls and women, it’s even more important to be self-confident to battle sexism, gender pay gaps, discrimination, etc… Sport can provide a valuable “counterweight” for the racism, sexism, and homophobia that’s prominent in our society.”

Today her work includes teaching, coaching, directing research, and embracing speaking engagements – like the Good Leadership Breakfast Series – as important strategies to improve the lives of girls and women.

A few tickets still remain – please follow this link if you would like me to introduce you to Nicole LaVoi next Friday, October 18.