Athletics administrator Mollie Marcoux-Samaan heads the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Tour with a mission. She is committed to advocating for better media representation, gender equality, and accessibility in golf for women of all ages. With years of experience in senior leadership roles, including Executive Vice President at Chelsea Piers Connecticut and Director of Athletics at Princeton, she has the expertise necessary to carry out her goals.
We recently spoke with Mollie on the Forge Ahead podcast about welcoming people from different backgrounds, pushing for equal opportunities, and helping to increase access.
1. Welcome People From Different Backgrounds
Having people from different backgrounds participate doesn’t just happen. You have to invite them. Reach out and welcome people from all walks of life and all ages. When everyone is included, you create a sense of community and connectedness.
“Being invited… for women, that’s so important,” Mollie says. “Getting the invitation and then being willing to accept the invitation.”
We learn from Mollie that invitation is a powerful tool. It makes people feel considered and valued.
2. Push for Equal Opportunities
Women have been inadequately paid and represented for ages. Leverage your position to promote equal and fair treatment of everyone.
“Less than 10% of all sports media is focused on women’s sports,” Mollie says. “So I always say, ‘Listen, that’s an opportunity.’ We’re aggressive at the LPGA. We’re not complaining; we’re not bemoaning this… If we’re at 8% or 9% right now, there’s a long way between 10% and 90%. So how do we grab more of that, and how do we show people that that’s a good investment in us?”
Mollie teaches us that with power comes responsibility. She uses her voice and resources to give visibility to women’s golf and advocates for fair treatment and pay in men’s and women’s sports.
3. Help Increase Access
If certain activities prevent someone from participating, work to alleviate that issue. Maybe the activity is too expensive or requires special skills. Find ways to reduce barriers to increase access for anyone who may be interested.
“Sports need to be more democratized at this point in life. When we were growing up, it was like, ‘Hey, I have $45 and garage sale clubs,’ and I was off to the races. And I think there’s still a lot of municipal golf courses like that and still opportunities. But a lot of sports have become pay for play. At Princeton prior to taking this job, we were studying the diversity at various sports and saying, ‘Okay, when they come to us at the highest level of Division I athletics, what does the diversity look like?’ And it’s too late when you’re recruiting in college if kids haven’t been given that opportunity earlier on.”
Mollie shows us that providing access to activities—especially for kids—is critical. They have a greater chance of excelling because they were given the opportunity early on. Sometimes, it just takes $45 and a garage sale to create that opportunity.
Visit the Forge Ahead homepage to hear the entire conversation with Mollie.