Q&A: Former athlete creates platform for ladies in sports activities
MaryKate Siegel ’19, a former field hockey player from Ithaca College, recently launched a new social media brand called Women Changing The Game to help more young women enter the male-dominated world of sports media.
In 2017, around 10% of sports editors and 11.5% of sports reporters were women SportsPro. Siegel opened the account on Instagram in September when she was looking for a job with the New York Jets after completing her internship on Corporate Partnerships Game Day. “Women Changing The Game” has since expanded into a website, podcast, TikTok and LinkedIn. In less than a year, the Instagram account has grown to over 700 followers, while the TikTok account has over 120.
Employee Aidan Charde spoke to Siegel about creating the account and her goal of making the sports media industry more inclusive.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Aidan Charde: What was the idea behind Women Changing The Game?
MaryKate Seal: After graduating from college, I had two internships and I was supposed to start a third when COVID-19 hit it and canceled. It was extremely difficult to look for other jobs, mostly because the sport basically stopped for a while and I knew I needed a way to stay connected in the sporting world. When that happened, I realized that I lacked the support of women in the industry and that I lacked the confidence to make contact and network. So I decided to create a space exclusively for women to network in the industry. … I started this on Instagram just because I found this to be the easiest way to get started. I could be creative with my posts and gain a following on the platform. … My overall mission is to get them only in classrooms and on sports teams, to fully introduce girls to this world, and to get more leaders into schools who may not have the privilege that Ithaca brings [its alumni community].
AC: How did the media resources offered by Ithaca College help you create this account?
MK: All alumni visits in class definitely helped me. I would now highly recommend all students to take advantage of this when these alumni walk in. Really ask questions and pay attention because that will help you and afterwards try to connect with these people. I would also say it influenced me because a lot of these people who came in to give the sports lectures were men. So with “Women who change the game” I wanted to make that change and maybe start a trend where women who work in sports would come and give these lectures.
AC: Do you think that more women in sports talking could get more young women into sports media?
MRS: Yes, 100%. I think if young women are exposed during school they are more likely to be forced to go into those areas. With “Women who change the game” I want to get more women to tell them stories and give advice because I know I wish more women would come in and tell me these things when I was in school. If more of them had come in and told me what it’s like to work in sports, maybe I would have gotten into internships earlier, which are really important in sports.
AC: How did field hockey get you started? “Women who change the game”?
MRS: I think that while doing sports in college, I definitely felt like staying in the sports field. Just being surrounded by athletes and of course the coaches who work in the sport motivated me to do that more.
AC: How has your experience been so far?
MRS: I love it so much. I don’t care if I have a huge following because if I can help a girl get her dream job, that’s all I care about, so it was so rewarding. On the flip side, I’ve spoken to so many cool women in the industry who are just doing great things. I can interview them and get first hand advice which was a great experience in itself. No matter where it goes, I just want to keep doing it to help people and gain knowledge from these women in the industry who are breaking barriers.
AC: If you could give advice to the women in college who work in sports media, what would it be?
MRS: Most importantly, be confident in the sports world as it can be intimidating to step into a male-dominated field. We can expand each other and encourage and strengthen one another.