GCSAA launches Women's Leadership Academy

Inaugural networking and education event for women in the turf industry will be held Nov. 7-9 in Lawrence, Kan. 


Three female tournament volunteers at the U.S. Women's Open

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) announced today the debut of the Women’s Leadership Academy Nov. 7-9 in Lawrence, Kan., home of GCSAA headquarters.

The event is focused on providing women in the turfgrass industry with education, mentoring and networking enabling participants to unleash their potential, empower their future and become inspirational leaders on scales both small and large. Participants will be guided along a path of discovery aimed at breaking down barriers and enhancing inner skills to maximize their impact as leaders.

The Women’s Leadership Academy will be headlined by Suzy Whaley, PGA Master Professional and first woman to serve as president of the PGA of America. Whaley, who has a unique understanding of the work of turfgrass professionals, having worked side by side with many GCSAA members, will speak to her experience in the golf industry and relate it to turfgrass professionals during a fireside chat at the opening evening reception where participants will be able to ask questions in a conversational format.

The 2 ½ day event is open to all women in the turfgrass industry, not just members of GCSAA. In addition, participants will bring a wide range of experience from those early in their career to those who are seasoned veterans. The diversity within the group will help grow the network of women, not only in golf, but within the entire turfgrass industry.

“The Women’s Leadership Academy evolved from feedback from the 2022 GCSAA Women’s Task Group,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “This event gives us the opportunity to inspire a small, yet growing, and passionate group in our industry to become impactful leaders. Their leadership will not only help those already in the turfgrass industry but attract more women to work in turf-related fields.”

Education at the event will be divided into four segments: self-discovery, understanding others, communicating effectively and being an inspiration. In addition to educational sessions, the Women’s Leadership Academy will include networking opportunities and discussions on wellness, talent optimization, human resources and more.

The Women’s Leadership Academy top-level benefactors include The Toro Co., Nufarm and Yamaha, who are designated as event Trailblazers. Club Car is a Pathfinder benefactor, and Target Specialty Products is a Flag Bearer benefactor. Because of these benefactors the event is free to all those selected to attend. In addition, Trailblazer and Pathfinder benefactors have the opportunity to include women from their own organizations to participate in the event, in turn growing leadership opportunities within their own ranks. Additional benefactors are welcome to support this endeavor by contacting Matt Brown at mbrown@gcsaa.org.

Applications to attend are now available at gcsaa.org/wla and must be submitted by Aug. 7.