Women in Sports Leadership: A Q&A with the Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director at Chicago State University

What are your responsibilities in your role at Chicago State? 

My role at Chicago State is vast but I primarily oversee all of the Chicago State athletics external facing units which include communications, marketing, ticketing and sales, corporate sponsorships and fundraising.

I also serve as sports administrator for several of our sports and work with our campus partners on various issues in my role of senior women administrator.

Jessica PooleJessica Poole

What are the short- and long-term impacts that COVID-19 has had on the budget and fundraising at Chicago State University?

COVID has had such an impact on all of college athletics and has really made us be smart, effective and efficient with our resources, both financial and human.

In terms of fundraising, it’s all about relationships and now more than ever it’s important to cultivate relationships with your donors. We’ve really learned how to do more with less and it’s actually helped us at forecasting long-term.

What was the immediate impact of the George Floyd verdict on your campus? And what might be the long-term impact? 

The George Floyd verdict gave us hope. I think on our campus and many around the nation, we were all holding our collective breath. While I think we still have a long way to go, this is a start and a step in the right direction.

Through the tragedy of George Floyd’s death, I believe our student-athletes found their voices and it’s been wonderful to see them come together on our campus and as a group nationally. I look forward to seeing how the voices of these student-athletes change the world.

How does diversity come into play in your role? 

Diversity is a part of my role in several ways. Formally, I serve as our department’s NCAA Athletics and Diversity Designee (ADID) which simply means that I am the point of contact between the NCAA and my campus on information around inclusive programs, emerging diversity issues and other related equity issues.

As a Black woman, I think just by me being in my position on my campus is important. There aren’t many Black women in my role, so being representative is a huge part of diversity and showing that a role like mine is attainable for those coming behind me.

During the 2022-2023 season you will become the first African American female to lead the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). What are your goals and what legacy do you hope to leave? 

It is such an honor and a privilege to be taking on this role, as the first African American female to lead the organization. I think my goal is to continue to push the organization forward with some emphasis on diversity and inclusion, advocacy and career advancement.

The legacy I hope to leave is one of service. I want people to say one day that I was dedicated to serving the CoSIDA membership and moving the organization forward.

This article originally appeared in the May 27, 2021 edition of Diverse. Read it here.