Photo Credit @ATLHawks
Earlier this afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks teamed up with Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta to host a one-hour virtual event called EmpowHER by Lady Ballers’ in which more than 100 girls were in attendance virtually.
The virtual panelists included the first woman in NBA G League history to hold a GM title, College Park Skyhawks Tori Miller, and 11-year veteran, two -time WNBA Champion, and activist Renee Montgomery. The virtual panel was moderated by Atlanta Hawks Reporter and Sr. Coordinator of Digital Content Annie Finberg.
Miller and Montgomery shared their unique point of views from their roles in the sports industry, the impact of sports, dealing with no’s and how sports have shaped them into the women they are today. Ahead of the event, participants were able to submit questions to be answered live during the event by the panelists. Questions ranged from advice on how to become a general manager, healthy eating tips and what types of degrees WNBA players hold.
Miller, who is a native of Decatur, GA, and a University of Miami graduate spent time as a Basketball Operations Intern for the Phoenix Suns prior to her time in the G League. On July 30, 2019, she was named Assistant General Manager of the Skyhawks and began her tenure with the organization as Manager of Basketball Operations for three seasons with the Erie BayHawks.
“In failures you learn how to win so every no that I received along the way, along my journey has help prepared me for my next opportunity. You know hearing no’s requires you to be self reflective. It’s something we don’t like to do all of time. But when you hear no you have to go back to the drawing board and self evaluate yourself.” said Miller. “I had to sit in my room and think what can I do to separate myself to make myself stand out from my other counterparts and so doing that I learned a lot about myself. I was able to do my own scouting and things of that nature that helped me build relationships that help put me in the position I am in right now. I”ll say there are progress in no’s get accustomed to hearing it and just roll with the punches and just learn from those no’s.”
“For me sports gives you confidence. You have a certain confidence when you have to go perform in front of people. You have to have a certain kind of confidence about yourself when people are going to critique everything you do. So, for me being at a high level in sports almost all my life, I think I started playing USA basketball at 14 or 15,” said Montgomery. “So from a very young age, I’ve been in at very intense sports situation that gave me confidence, because every time I had a failure I figured out the next time how to maybe have a win and those things helped my confidence. So now when I see something that I don’t particularly like, I have to stand in for people and say something. That confidence that I have (is) from sports and being in front of people. Now, I’m like I have something to say.”
Montgomery decided to sit out the 2020 WNBA season to focus on off-court initiatives. She has spent her time growing the Renee Montgomery Foundation and focusing on social justice reform. Montgomery has been instrumental in raising money to help protesters and support the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s always a pleasure for me to be invited to various Lady Ballers events,” said Renee Montgomery. “Since leaving the WNBA earlier this year, I continue to look for opportunities to be involved in the community and to give back, and today’s event was a great opportunity for me to connect with young female basketball players. I am hopeful that I inspired them to speak up on issues they care about.”
The Lady Ballers Program aims to support youth basketball participation and improve the overall youth basketball experience for girls. The program is also part of the Hawks at Home program which was created to educate and engage youth in a safe and health-conscious manner during social distancing.
The virtual Hawks at Home live programming continues tomorrow, July 30, at 1 p.m. with a special guest. Those interested in signing up for the webinar or who have interest in learning more about Hawks at Home are recommended to visit:
hawks.com/HawksatHome for more information