NASHVILLE - For the members of the Lipscomb women’s basketball team, growing better on the court is not the only goal for each season. The Lady Bisons and their coaching staff make it a priority to not only improve as players, but to grow as women also.
The Lipscomb Means Business Breakfast was the most recent off-the-court activity that the team participated in together, and it may have been the most impactful one for the Lady Bisons.
“We invited 13 women to a breakfast to connect with our players and get the ready for life after basketball,” Lipscomb women’s basketball head coach Greg Brown said. “Each player met in sort of a "speed dating" format for about four minutes individually with each of the 13 women. Topics ranged from what would I tell my 21 year old self to how to handle my first paycheck or what to do in an interview.”
The variety of women invited to participate included an Assistant United States Attorney, a business owner, a nurse, and a stay-at-home mom. Each woman provided a unique perspective for the student-athletes to learn from.
“We talk about giving our team the opportunity for unique experiences--which are the books we read, the places we visit and the people we meet,” Brown said. “This was a chance for our players to meet and interact in a different setting with strong, successful Christian women from a wide variety of backgrounds. We're thankful for the 13 women to take the time to share with our players.”
Among the interviewers was Lipscomb’s own Shannon O’Brien who pulls double duty in the athletic department as an assistant women’s soccer coach and Director of Women’s Spiritual Formation.
“Women’s basketball assistant coach Courtney Locke had called me a couple weeks prior to the event asking if I would be willing to be one of the women professionals representing spiritual growth,” O’Brien said. “My topic she gave me was "How to Keep God First," especially following college. I had three minutes with each player to encourage and expand on this topic.”
To help make the most of her three minute sessions with each player, O’Brien referred to an article she found particularly powerful.
“To maximize time I found a helpful article titled "How to Make Your Relationship with God First in Your Life," by Whitney Hopler. In the article I highlighted one specific element in the 11 suggestions to help you keep God first, which is to "Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your soul, to empower you to live God's way." I encouraged every player to pray this prayer every morning as they awoke and got ready for the day.”
This was not O’Brien’s first time working with the women’s basketball team. She had previously connected with the team during their mission trip to the Dominican Republic last spring.
“I personally felt very honored to be amongst the many incredible women that were other representatives at the breakfast. It was a blessing to me to get to sit with each girl, and share a little bit with them,” O’Brien said.
For the players, the breakfast was more than just a chance to network with potential employers. It was a chance for them to have meaningful conversations with respected women from the community
“While playing basketball, we get to network with many different people in the Nashville community and beyond, but Lipscomb Means Business was an intentional hour to meet successful woman in Nashville,” said senior Chandler Cooper. “I really appreciated all the women that took time out of their day to spend with our team and give us advice.”
Cooper’s mother, Melisse Williams, was among the group of interviewers. Williams is the principal at St. Bethlehem Elementary in Clarksville.
“Although I loved meeting different powerful women from so many different professions, my favorite part was how confident my teammates presented themselves. I absolutely loved watching the younger players blossom in a professional-type setting. It just gave me a little glimpse of the type of women this program produces, and I couldn't be more proud to say this program and school helped shape me into the woman I am today.”
Junior Alex Banks was also thankful for the opportunity that the breakfast provided, and expressed why the experience was something she will be sure to take with her after she graduates.
“The Lipscomb Means Business Breakfast was one of my favorite off-the-court activities we did as a team this year,” Banks said. “It was a great opportunity for us to meet professional business women in the Nashville community and get to make networking connections for the future.
“Getting to talk to the women and take in all of their advice about the working world and getting to hear about their college experiences is something that I will always remember. I am very thankful for the experience.”