Melissa Proctor: She's in a League of Her Own

March 17 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT: Women Leveling the Playing Field

Whether you’re a teacher or a techie, we all have moments in which we feel like we’re plodding through a man’s world. When I hear that rude voice in my head say, “Girl, you can’t do that,” I grab a pint of my favorite ice cream and settle in for an inspiring viewing of the film A League of Their Own.

This timeless movie about the first female professional baseball league will make you laugh, cry and ultimately, give you hope to catch that metaphorical fly ball. The next time you’re faced with an uphill battle, remember the flick’s awesome girl-power message: “Give them a league of their own to play, then stand back and get out of their way.”

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 22 Years Old

There’s a long-held assumption that women can’t play sports and don’t even understand sports. Thankfully, Amanda Hopkins has shunned such stereotypes and is crushing the world of baseball anyway.

At only 22 years old, she was hired as a baseball scout for the Seattle Mariners in December 2015, and she was the first full-time female baseball scout hired since the 1950s. She now scouts high-school and college players for the Mariners in Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Melissa Proctor, Chief Marketing Officer for the Atlanta Hawks

Today’s Woman to Watch is another talented lady smashing the glass ceiling in the sports industry. A longtime lover of basketball, Melissa Proctor was practically destined to become a major behind-the-scenes player in the world of sports.

Raised in South Florida by a single mother from Belize—a woman Melissa says was her biggest champion—Melissa was a veracious basketball viewer as a kid. Though she never stepped foot on the court as a player, her dream was to be the first female basketball coach.

While still in high school, Melissa scored an envious job with the NBA’s Miami Heat basketball organization, which rebranded her position from “ball boy” to “team attendant.” From that one volunteer position, for which she cleaned up sweaty towels and mopped grimy floors, Melissa continued to focus on being a part of the basketball world, working a variety of related jobs before landing her current gig as the dynamic chief marketing officer for the Atlanta Hawks.

By the time Melissa was in college, the Women’s Basketball League had begun, increasing the number of women on the court, but there was still a serious lack of diversity on the administrative side of the game. So, after a few years of working in broadcasting, Melissa began changing the face of the basketball industry as a top strategist for the Hawks, which eventually promoted her to CMO and put her in charge of overseeing day-to-day marketing operations for the team and its Philips Arena.

Melissa credits her success to three key factors: confidence, perseverance and faith, and says she believes the strength of a powerful woman comes from being her whole, true and authentic self—unapologetically.

Melissa rose to the challenge of being one of the only women on the business side of basketball. She has all the qualities of a role model and mentor, with engaging ideas and passion. But her success isn’t just about her. She uses her position of power to collaborate and brainstorm ways early career women in sports can climb the ladder too. If there’s something to learn from Melissa, it’s to put yourself out there, leave your goals open-ended to never give up on creating a league of your own.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Melissa Proctor embodies today’s quote from civil rights activist Marva Collins. She said:

“Success doesn’t come to you; you go to it.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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