Paraplegic Athlete to Tell Story at Women’s Leadership Summit
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A paraplegic athlete will talk about “Discovering Your Inner Champion” at a two-day Women’s Leadership Summit on April 12-13 in Fayetteville co-hosted by the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association.
The summit is by registration only. Registration may be done online at the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association website through Friday, April 6. Onsite registration is also available at a higher cost. The conference will take place at the Courtyard Marriott in Fayetteville.
Tricia Downing of Denver cycled competitively from 1997 until September 2000, when she was struck head-on by a car during a training ride. Downing is the second female wheelchair racer and first female paraplegic to complete an Iron-distance triathlon, which is a 2.4‐mile swim, 112‐mile bike ride and 26.2‐mile run. She is a member of the physically challenged National Triathlon Team and a pioneer in women’s wheelchair triathlon.
Downing serves as a spokeswoman for the Challenged Athletes Foundation of San Diego, and she created Camp Discovery in Denver with the foundation. She directs the camp for women with spinal injuries. Organizers of the summit say Downing leaves audiences with the belief that they can do anything they put their minds to.
The summit, subtitled “Professional Development in Recreation, Sport and Tourism,” is designed to give women working in recreation, sport and tourism from a five-state area the chance to learn from leaders in their field.
“The purpose of this conference is to help women move to the top in their fields,” said Merry Moiseichik, professor of recreation and sport management at the University of Arkansas. “While women are graduating from college at a rate of 50 percent, they are not moving up the ranks. There are only four recreation directors in the state who are women. Participants at this conference will hear and learn from women who have made it in their professions. The speakers are nationally recognized. It’s a chance to hear from the best in our field.”
Other speakers and their topics include Sara Hensley, parks and recreation director for Austin, Texas, “No More Rewards for Predicting the Rain; Only Rewards for Building the Ark”; Carolyn McKnight-Bray, parks and recreation director for Baton Rouge, La., “The Flight Plan”; Dianne Hoover, parks and recreation director for Bakersfield, Calif., “Leading in the 21st Century”; and Patti Beth Anderson, a motivational speaker and tour director from Oklahoma City, Okla., “Burning the Candle at Both Ends.”
Hoover, who is past president of the National Recreation and Parks Association, will also be part of a panel discussion about successful women. Other panelists are Connie Edmonston, director of parks and recreation for Fayetteville; Jodie Adams of Springfield, Mo., past president of the National Recreation and Parks Association; and Chris Pohl, associate athletic director at the University of Arkansas.
Hensley will also give a separate presentation that is free and open to the public: “Survive and Thrive in Any Economy by Developing Successful Partnerships.” This will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, April 12, in Room 103 of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building on the University of Arkansas campus.
Co-sponsors of the summit are the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission, the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department and several recreation equipment vendors.