Courageous Conversations with the Atlanta Hawks

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The Atlanta Hawks know how to set a room

Recently, I was asked to speak to the staff of the Atlanta Hawks as part of their Courageous Conversations series started by my friend and mentor, Nzinga Shaw. You might remember Zing from back in March 2017 when I spoke at the MOSAIC conference on a panel with former and current pro athletes. Zing continues to encourage me, and after I told her about the work I’ve been doing at ESPN regarding the language of violence, she invited me to speak to Hawks employees. Of course, I accepted the invitation.

The room filled up as employees filled their lunch plates and I was struck by the notion that the topic of sexual violence is probably something that would make them lose their appetites. I decided my best approach would be to present my work and story in a relaxed, conversational manner. Many of the Hawks employees are familiar with me because of my MOSAIC participation, and also, because I am on the Hawks Diversity & Inclusion Council. So, I felt at home and as if I was having a conversation with friends.

I loved seeing the faces of so many great people I’ve come to know there including Steve Koonin, the CEO of the Hawks; he’s been very supportive of me and just a good guy to know. And when it was all over, I had lots of hugs, received some questions and listened to a few disclosures. I’ve been told that employees really enjoyed the topic in the way I presented it and that means a lot to me. I always want to connect with those I am speaking to, and they made sure to let me know I did. Love my Hawks!!

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