June 11 & 12, 2024

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 2023 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.


Bret Myers
Bret Myers, PhD
Professor of Practice
Villanova School of Business

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.


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.




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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.



Christine Dorfler '97 VSB
Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the National Football League


Tuesday, June 11, 2024 - Finneran Pavilion

5:00 pm - Cocktails, Dinner and Professional Networking

6:15 pm - Welcome and Introduction by Christine Kelleher Palus, PhD, Dean, College of Professional Studies and Mark Jackson, Vice President and Director of Athletics

6:30 pm -  Finding Your "WHY" for a Career in Sports by Mark Jackson, Vice President, and Director of Athletics

7:00 pm -  Opening Keynote and Discussion by Christine Dorfler '97 VSB, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the National Football League

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 - O'Dea Terrace

8:00 am: Breakfast  

8:30 am: Meet Professor Bret Myers & Course Introduction

9:00 am: Session 1 – Current Landscape of College Athletics | Facilitator: Brian Beacham; Speakers: Randy Foye; President, Friends of Nova; Baker Dunleavy; GM Basketball and Jill Bodensteiner; VP/AD, St. Joe’s

10:00 am: Break

10:15 am: Session 2 – Academic Session  

11:00 am: Break

11:15 am: Session 3 - College Athletics, The Physical and Mental | Speakers: Emily Perrin, CEO, Perrin Wellness & Performance; Kevin Miller, Associate AD; Leashia Lewis, Assistant AD; Jill Batcheller, Women's Lacrosse Coach

12:15 pm: Lunch and Networking  

1:30 pm: Session 4 – Academic Session: Bringing the Lessons Home

2:15 pm: Break

2:30 pm: Session 5 - Leadership Journeys & Career Pathways | Facilitator: Kevin Ahern; Speakers: Christy Hedgpeth; President, PlayFly; Lisa Harris, Sr. Associate AD and Eryca Bennett, Director of Student-Athlete Development

3:30 – 3:45 pm: Closing Session by Christine Palus and Mark Jackson


Event Attendance only

No credential issued, no required coursework

Standard Cost = $350 

VU Alumni Rate = $300 with code VUALUMVALS

Cost includes access to all events during the summit, meals, and Villanova swag.

Professional Education Registrant

Earn a digital badge and academic record, required post-work after Summit

athletic leadership summit digital badge

Standard Cost = $550 

VU Alumni Rate = $500 with code VUALUMVALS

Cost includes access to all events during the summit, meals, and Villanova swag.

1-credit Course for Villanova Students & Visitors


Earn a certificate and credit;
required post-work after Summit

Summer 2024 Program Rates
VU undergrads and visitors = $1,392 for 1 credit
CPS student rate = $790 for 1 credit

Cost includes access to all events during the summit, meals, and Villanova swag.


Current Villanova Student






  “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.”