New Balance Networking for Responsible Leadership Forums

April 26, 2013

On March 26th Sport in Society, with the support of New Balance, held the second Networking for Responsible Leadership Forum at the Northeastern Faculty Club. Members from Boston’s sports-based youth development community joined together to share best practices and learn about new growth in the field. Participants in the luncheon had the opportunity to network with their peers, hear from sport-based youth development expert Diana Cutaia, and express their concerns and questions about the growing future of the industry.

The event began with a quick presentation before moving right into a dynamic exercise where members took a few minutes to reflect on their organization and brainstorm their workforce competencies. Each person wrote notes about their program’s pre-employment screening, on the job training, and employee evaluation, and also identified necessary employee skills and how they are provided through training. Participants then engaged in speed-networking, a cornerstone of the event and one that received plenty of positive feedback. One member reported that they “were able to connect with some new organizations we hadn’t worked with before” and are already “ exploring partnerships with one organization, setting up training from another, and organizing a field trip for our students to go to the third group”. . Many programs share the same difficulties in job retention and this gave attendees an opportunity to learn about and share best practices in the field while creating meaningful connections.

This luncheon was part of an initiative that grew out of Sport in Society’s work with local organizations like Playworks, Squashbusters, and Tenacity; research with these groups showed that members of the growing network of sport–based youth development programs sought more professional development and networking opportunities. The conversations at the luncheon are one piece of the puzzle that will inform the curriculum and professional development that Sport in Society will provide via the College of Professional Studies. Through both formalizing and expanding the chances these groups have for professional growth, the leadership institute will assure the growth and continued success of this industry as they create positive outcomes for youth.

Within Boston alone, there are over 95,000 youth participating in some form of recreational activity; each of these players has the opportunity to learn valuable leadership skills, cooperation tools, and healthy habits (2000 Census). But these outcomes can only be achieved if the organizations providing this sport-based development are equipped with appropriate knowledge, education, and funding. Often, these non-profits do not have the capacity or staffing to fulfill their potential within the underserved communities they work in. Through this work, Sport in Society will provide education and support to these sports-based youth development organizations with the goal that every child has the opportunity to develop within a healthy safe environment, and become a self-aware, contributing member of society.

Our next luncheon will be held on Tuesday, May 7th at noon at the Northeastern University Faculty Club. For more information email Caitlin Geddes at  or check out our event page.