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Q&A with Denise Thompson of the Big Sky Athletic Conference

As Women’s History Month kicks off, we will be shining the spotlight on the women in college sports leadership, starting with Denise Thompson, Assistant Commissioner/Communications and External Affairs Director for the Big Sky Athletic Conference. Tune in to this episode as Diverse VP Ralph Newell speaks one-on-one with Denise Thompson about her experiences as a former student-athlete, navigating sports play during COVID, diversity in the sports leadership pipeline, and much more. As she takes us on her journey, from being an aspiring radio DJ to student-athlete to a change-making leader in sports, uncover how her passion for sports developed as well as her advocacy for diversity in the sports arena for student-athletes. This is an episode you won’t want to miss.


  • Denise’s student-athlete experience.
  • Considerations for going to an HBCU.
  • Diversity efforts by the Big Sky Athletic Conference.
  • COVID-19 impacts on budgets for sports events.
  • How to make effective change in policies and attitudes.
  • Social justice and diversity actions by the conference.
  • Venturing into Esports.

“You can’t go to the same Black student-athlete every year for Black History Month and ride that one-person story all the time. There are so many stories to tell.”

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