Women in sports

Major sports leagues have traditionally been dominated by male players, fans and employees. While recent focus has centered on promoting female leagues such as the WNBA, there is still a long way to go to bridge the gender gap in sports. This panel will explore gender issues in athletics from various angles: What does gender equality in sports look like? Are certain sports simply not for women? What role does the media play in the portrayal of women athletes?


Lindsay Kagawa Colas_headshot.jpg

Lindsay kagawa colas

Senior Vice President of Action Sports & Olympics, Wasserman Media Group

Lindsay Kagawa Colas joined Wasserman in 2009 and is now Senior Vice President of the Action Sports and Olympics Division. In this role, Colas is responsible for managing the Olympics group with a special emphasis on women and cultural influencers. She oversees the careers of many elite Olympic athletes, including WNBA players including Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, beach volleyball medalists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, track star Dawn Harper, Paralympic judo medalist, Dartanyon Crockett, hockey pioneer Hilary Knight and fencing medalist and activist, Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Prior to Wasserman, Colas served as Senior Representative of the Women’s Elite Division at BDA Sports Management where she handled the representation and management of the WNBA players while supplementing BDA's NBA player focus with an emphasis on events, charitable giving and special projects. Upon joining BDA, Colas spearheaded the founding of BDAgiving, the company’s charitable arm. 

Colas received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and Master of Arts degree in sociology from Stanford where she was an All-District 8 performer and two-year captain of the women's volleyball team which, during her tenure, appeared in two National Championship matches and won an NCAA title in 1997.

She lives in Portland, OR with her husband, Andrew and son, Drew.


callie seidman dale

Assistant Director of Football Operations, Stanford

The 2016 campaign marks Callie Seidman Dale’s fourth season with the football program and fifth overall working at Stanford. In 2015, Seidman was named assistant director of football operations. She began her tenure as an intern in gameday operations and events in 2012, and was hired in a full-time capacity as an administrative associate with the football program in 2013.

She assists with day-to-day football operations, including team travel, bowl game coordination, community outreach, game management and summer camps. Seidman also oversee all administrative operations for head coach David Shaw.

In 2014, Seidman implemented the highly-successful Stanford Football 101 Women’s Clinic.  The event, hosted by Coach Shaw, the coaching staff, and members of the Stanford football team, features a crash course in all aspects of Cardinal football.

A former collegiate lacrosse player, Seidman graduated from Fresno State in 2012, where she captained the team as a junior and senior and was student-athlete advisory committee president. She earned a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco. Seidman resides in Palo Alto with her husband, Bryce.



Irina pavlova

President, Onexim Sports and Entertainment

Irina Pavlova is the President of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, the enterprise that owns Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. BSE controls Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and New York Islanders business operations, as well as the Long Island Nets and the new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which will reopen in spring 2017.

Based in New York City, Pavlova serves as the conduit among the Nets, Barclays Center, and Nassau Coliseum management and ownership of the team and arenas, overseeing business operations and ensuring the franchise and the arenas have everything necessary to build a championship team and operate first class sports and entertainment venues. She serves on the Board of Advisory Directors for both the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center and, as an Alternate Governor, represents team ownership at NBA Board of Governors meetings. Irina was appointed to her position in 2010.

Irina has an M.B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. and B.A. from Moscow Linguistics University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). She is an enthusiastic member of the board of PeacePlayers International, a non-profit organization that brings children from communities in conflict together to play basketball. 


Asani swann

Managing Partner, Sage Business Group

Vice President of Business Strategy, Melo Enterprises

As VP of Business Strategy at Melo Enterprises, Asani Swann oversees all elements of national brand strategy and development, business planning, and marketing supporting the multi-million-dollar organization of NBA All Star athlete, Carmelo Anthony. She is known to have helped him recreate his public image through applying general brand management principles.

More generally, Asani Swann serves as a key advisor around brand direction and strategy, contract negotiation, partnership and licensing opportunities, financial planning, staffing, and publicity initiatives at Melo Enterprises. Her key focus area have been marketing and brand strategy.

Asani Swann was also appointed as operational lead for the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, responsible for fundraising, program and event planning, and cultivating relationships supporting the foundation’s ongoing mission and success. She is heavily involved in all facets of licensing and brand management for associate properties under the Melo Enterprises brand, working with legal team to negotiate third-party agreements and licensing deals, and she serves as a primary point of contact for publicity, press inquiries, and in-person appearances.

Asani Swann obtained her MBA at Mercer University (Stetson School of Business and Economics). Before getting into the business of sports, she spent over 10 years working for Macy’s as their Human Resources Manager.


Brenda Villa (moderator)

Four-time Olympic Medalist

Brenda Villa has competed with the USA women's national team for the last 16 years. She has represented her country in 4 Olympic games and is one of two water polo players to have medaled in all 4 Olympic Games with her final medal in London being of the gold variety. Brenda attended Stanford University where she earned her BA in Political Science ('03) and helped lead the Cardinal to it's first NCAA title in 2002. Before arriving at Stanford, Brenda played on the Bell Garden's High School boys water polo team where she helped the team win multiple CIF titles. During a time when women's water polo was just getting started, Brenda had to compete with boys and was the first girl to start on a boys HS team and win a title. In addition to her achievements in the pool, Brenda was the first student from her high school to attend Stanford University. As a first generation Mexican-American she is very grateful for the courage her parents showed in seeking a better life for their kids in the US.

Today, Brenda is a founder of Project 2020, a non-profit organization committed to providing aquatic opportunities for those in under-privileged communities. As of late Villa added an additional focus on the promotion of female athletics overall, joining the athlete advisory board of the Women’s Sports Foundation. She is also an Athlete Director on the Board of USA Water Polo and a member of the U.A.N.A executive committee, where she is the liaison for water polo in the Americas.