June 13 & 14, 2023

The journey to becoming a University that brings home national championships is about a lot more than the x's and o's of the game. It's largely due to the exceptional leaders on the sidelines and behind the scenes who have a passion for sports, a genuine desire to develop well rounded student-athletes, and the vision and charisma to inspire greatness in those around them.

At the Villanova Athletics Leadership Summit, you will hear directly from leaders of Villanova Athletics, like vice president and athletic director, Mark Jackson, to understand their “WHY” behind pursuing a career in sports. This course will provide a unique opportunity to crystallize your leadership philosophy, apply it to your life experiences, and implement it in your life.

Sights and Sounds from the 2022 Villanova Athletics Leadership Summit


  1. Developing an authentic leadership philosophy
  2. Supporting student-athlete development
  3. Achieving competitive excellence
  4. Fostering compliance and community, and
  5. Promoting athletic entrepreneurship.  

Held at the state of the art Finneran Pavilion on Villanova’s beautiful campus, students will participate in a two-day, truly one-of-a-kind learning experience.

You will learn directly from the creative and innovative leaders of Villanova Athletics. You will connect and network with other sports professionals who share a passion for Villanova Athletics and its values based, holistic approach to leadership. Finally, Villanova faculty member Bret Myers, PhD will guide you during and after the summit in the development of your Leadership Philosophy. By committing to this important “lonely work”, you will craft a living guide that will influence how you communicate and respond authentically to people and events.

finneran pavilion


The Villanova Athletics Leadership Summit is designed for:

  • Early to mid-level professionals working in all dimensions of Sports Management (administration; coaches; academic support staff; facilities professionals, fundraisers, etc.)
  • Individuals interested in transitioning to a career in Sports Management
  • Individuals who desire to know more about general leadership lessons from Villanova Athletics (such as Alumni, Parents, etc.)
  • Current college students (undergraduate and graduate) seeking to learn more about a career in collegiate athletics.


Choose from 3 registration types.
Cost includes access to all events during the summit, meals, and Villanova swag.
Still don't know which option is for you? Email

OPTION 1: Event Attendance only

$300 for Villanova Alumni with code VUALUMVALS

Details: No credential, no required coursework

OPTION 2: Professional Education Registrant

$500  for Villanova Alumni with code VUALUMVALS

Details: Earn badge and academic record, required coursework after Summit

athletic leadership summit digital badge

OPTION 3: 1-credit Course for Villanova Students & Visitors

See Summer Program Rates for one credit*
*rates may change for Summer 2023

Details: Earn certificate and credit, required coursework after Summit

Current Villanova Student


Credit Student Not Enrolled at Villanova



The quotes below come from attendees of the inaugural Villanova Athletics Leadership Summit in 2022,

speaking to what they were able to learn from the program and bring to their careers in the industry.


  “Coming to events like this and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals and leaders, gleaning from things that they do and philosophies they follow, I can take that back to the young men I serve and be a better leader for them.”


  “It was a life-changing experience. Being able to hear from some of the best of the best in terms of leadership was a phenomenal opportunity.”



  “It was a great experience. You don’t get something like this every day, especially from such a great university.”


  “No matter what you do in athletics, there’s a lot of crossover. You can apply some of the same concepts to anything you do within (the industry).”



  “What a great opportunity to learn from another institution. There was so much energy in the room.”



TUESday, June 13, 2023 - Finneran Pavilion

4:30-5:45 pm - Reception with Dinner and Professional Networking

5:45-6:00 pm - Welcome and Course Introduction     

6:00-7:30 pm - Opening Keynote with Discussion
              Mark Jackson, Vice President and Director of Athletics
                           Louis Riddick, ESPN Analyst 

WEDNESday, June 14, 2023 - O'Dea Terrace

8:00 am - Breakfast   

8:30-9:45 am - Session 1: Meet the Professor & Academic Session: Interactive Academic Course Session with the professor.

9:45-10:45 am - Session 2 - Panel: Leadership Journeys & Career Pathways
              Moderated by Meredith Okenquist, Director of Career Management, Villanova Career Center
Ashwin Puri, Villanova Senior Associate Athletic Director
                            Brian Papson, Philadelphia Eagles Vice President of Marketing
                            Brian Cull, Group Vice President, Integrated Marketing, National Hockey League
                       Lisa Harris, Senior Associate AD/Intramurals and Recreation

11-11:45 am -  Session 3 - Panel: Head Coaches

                      Marcus O'Sullivan, Head Coach, Villanova Men's Cross Country, Track & Field
                      Samar Azem,
Head Coach, Villanova Women's Soccer
                      Mike Corrado,
Head Coach, Villanova Men's Lacrosse

11:45 am - 12:45 pm - Lunch and Networking

12:50-1:30 pm - Session 4 - Discussion with the professor: How can I bring these lessons back as a leader of my organization? 

1:30-1:40 pm - Break with movement: Kevin Miller, Associate Athletics Director for Sports Performance

1:45-2:45 pm - Session 5 - Panel - Current Landscapes in Athletics
              Moderated by Meredith Okenquist, Director of Career Management, Villanova Career Center
Lynn Tighe, Villanova Senior Associate Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator
                         Taylor Hess, Villanova Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance, Basketball 
                         Leashia Lewis, Villanova Assistant Athletic Director UNITAS

2:45 - 3:00 pm - Academic Wrap-Up: What's next for coursework

3:00 - 3:30 pm - Closing Speaker



The Athletics Leadership Summit will be taught by Bret Myers, PhD.
Dr. Myers is a Professor of Practice within the Villanova School of Business.

Faculty Bio



To lead others, it is vitally important to understand ourselves first and the type of leader we seek to become, as well as the culture we would like to develop. The “Leadership Summit” will help unlock some of the answers to these questions. Students will learn about the importance of self-discovery and what questions should guide them in the development of their own personal philosophy.

We will feature the many varied careers associated with providing support for student-athletes that is critical for their success and that they will carry with them for a lifetime. These include professional pathways in academic support, mental health counseling, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programming, spirituality, and career planning.

Winning championships in the ultra-competitive world of major collegiate athletics is a multi-pronged effort. Students will hear from those on the front lines as we cover the hiring and managing of head coaches, what makes a successful coach and program, the recruiting of prospective student-athletes, the importance of sports medicine, strength, conditioning, sports psychology, nutrition, technology and analytics, and other areas that factor into garnering a competitive edge.

Building guardrails and protecting an institution’s brand is a huge responsibility of collegiate athletic programs. We will discuss topics related to compliance and community, how to balance stress, anxiety, and expectations while navigating these demands in the lightning quick world of social media. 


Revenue-Generation, Storytelling, and Brand-Building: Athletic Entrepreneurship includes themes such as strategic and innovative fundraising models and the creation of sustainable revenue streams to help support all areas of the athletic department. Additionally, we will discuss brand building and inspired story telling through an athletic department and/or a flagship program within the athletic department in the digital social media vertical, a fast-growing field that offers multiple opportunities for career development.