Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Big Thank You to EspnW and a 98 Days to Shine Finale Recap!

Most of you know by now that I was in New York, courtesy of espnW, the last week of August. I won their grand prize in the 98 Days To Shine Twitter and Instagram contest they were running to promote women in sports. I was privileged to experience New York, the US Open and an exclusive summer finale event. Many of my readers participated in the contest and are one of the reasons it was so successful. Thank you for sharing your motivating photos all summer long! 

Me next to the wall of 98 challenges!

On Wednesday, August 28, I attended the US Open in the ESPN suite at the US Open. I'm telling you, this is the way to watch a tennis match! The seats were great, the view was perfect and the hospitality was top notch! My husband and I saw Li Na, Agnieska Radwanska, Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal and many more tennis players throughout the day. The fun thing about the US Open early rounds is the amount of matches around the grounds. We could see so many players up close. Inspiring!

Can't complain when enjoying the ESPN suite!

There were a few rain delays throughout the day and we even saw a few lightening strikes in the sky, but the tennis was still amazing! If I ever have to sit through rain delays, I will gladly wait them out in the comfort of the ESPN suite. With couches, TV's, food and charging stations for electronic devices, a rain delay is definitely not a hardship I can't handle. 

Juan Martin Del Potro's match after two rain delays. 

Did I mention that we felt pretty important with our ESPN bracelets. Branded! I really didn't want to take it off all week, but alas, all good things must end. Though I refuse to believe that this will be the last time I see the wonderful people I met at espnW and their partner agency. After all, the espnW Women + Sports Summit is just a month away! 

Branded! I like the way this looks. Yes, I think I would be happy working for espnW!

That evening was also the summer finale event for the 98 Days To Shine contest and I was invited to attend. EspnW had rented out a gallery for a showing of the best pictures of the summer, hosted a special event for young girls and had a cocktail hour at the end. They also had some of their featured athletes at the event. I got to meet Julie Foudy and Lakey Peterson! They were so down to earth and awesome. I could really tell that they enjoyed being at the event and promoting female success in sports.

98 Days To Shine Open House in NYC

I arrived at the event after a day of tennis and met many of the people who were working behind the scenes of the contest. I wish I could list all their names here and thank them for all the work they did and the great contest, but alas, I am afraid I would forget someone important! I will say that I owe this experience to their creativity and relentless pursuit to elevate female athletes. I was honored to be included and treated as a VIP! It truly was a great presentation, event and summer long contest and I felt like I learned a lot about my self and met some inspirational female athletes via social media because of the contest. I will be reaping the benefits of my involvement long after my trip to NYC. 

Inside the Gallery!

The gallery itself showcased some of the best photos from throughout the summer and I found so many of my photos displayed! I can now say I had my photos up in an NYC gallery showing, pretty cool right? I also saw a lot of photos from some of my friends and new acquaintances via the contest pictured along the wall. I tried to take photos of as many as I could. It was exciting to see so many female athletes featured in one place. These are everyday athletes like myself who are pushing themselves to be better than yesterday and achieving great goals. 

I got the meet the amazing Julie Foudy, Lakey Peterson and Laura Gentile!

The highlight of the evening was meeting Olympian Julie Foudy, Professional Surfer Lakey Peterson, Laura Gentile and Laura Suchoski from espnW. These ladies were so sweet, down to earth and genuinely excited to be promoting the growth of female athletes. They really took an interest in the contest and the gallery showing. I have a lot of respect for everything that each one of these ladies is doing to elevate women in sports and I can only hope that I can help them with the cause and give women the ability to believe in themselves and elevate their lives through sport. 

A huge thank you to espnW for everything that you have done for me this summer and for women in sports. I am excited to have been a part of something so special. Being among women who are as passionate about sports as I am really helped to push me in the direction of finding a career that allows me to help empower women in sport everyday. What's better than that? Whether that career becomes my childhood dream of working with Nike or perhaps I become a writer or social media guru for the WTA or maybe even espnW, I'm sure an opportunity will arise as long as I continue my relentless pursuit of my passions. After this past summer, I know that anything is possible and that the sky is the limit. 

We were meant to have dreams and goals for a reason and these past few years I have learned more about myself through sport than any other area of my life. I want to share that passion with others and continue inspiring women to go for their dreams. 

The 98 Days to Shine contest may be over, but I intend to continue to shine throughout the coming years. This is only the beginning.