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Monica Smiley

Monica Smiley is editor and publisher of Enterprising Women. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). To learn more about how you can become a mentor in the Peace Through Business program or donate to the organization, visit www.ieew.org. Contact her at msmiley@enterprisingwomen.com.

Five Questions - Sandy Cross, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion – PGA of America

b2ap3_thumbnail_sandra-cross-headshot.jpg1. What does your role with the PGA of America entail?
I’m responsible for leading the Association’s strategic development and execution of a comprehensive diversity and inclusion effort. Our approach is being designed in a way that will permeate the fabric of the PGA, further diversify participation in the game and the business of golf and drive transformation of our image and golf’s image. This is not merely a program or a campaign. It is a philosophy, an attitude and a commitment to act with real intention in word and deed.

2. What opportunities does the upcoming KPMG Women’s PGA Championship bring to women in the business and game of golf?
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the adjunct KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit present a tremendous opportunity for us, along with our partners at KPMG, LPGA and Golf Channel/NBC Universal, to elevate the stature of women’s professional golf. Not only through the high-caliber Championship venue, increased purse and expanded broadcast coverage, but also harnessing the power of what will take place on course and translating it off course in a way that will inspire greatness in women who are seeking to elevate themselves further on their career path. Golf can play such an important role in one’s career trajectory and in their ability to develop business. We intend to leverage the Championship and Summit in a manner that speaks to career-minded women and shows them the path to greatness.

3. What are some practical steps companies can take to improve diversity and inclusion internally and externally?
There are countless things companies can do to advance diversity and inclusion internally and externally. As I referenced earlier, it’s so important to act with intention in your words and deeds. That requires people to slow down and become acutely aware of how the world is occurring for others; essentially looking through a different lens than our own that we’re so deeply accustomed to. That alternative lens should be used when looking at every facet of your business internally and externally. It’s also tremendously valuable for you and your team to have a greater understanding of the dimensions of diversity. Oftentimes diversity is oversimplified into only gender and race; while by definition there are over thirty different dimensions at the primary, secondary and organizational levels. Increasing one’s understanding of the fundamentals of diversity and inclusion makes it much easier to act with good intention.

4. Recently, GolfForHer.com was unveiled. Can you share how this website is bringing girls and women to the game?
We’re so excited about the golf industry’s launch of GolfForHer.com and are proud to be a part of it. Golf can be a very daunting landscape to navigate for a woman or girl who’s coming into the game. This site is designed to aggregate all the possibilities and “on ramps” to the sport into a simple, singular portal and let her find the perfect program or playing partners for her. It also provides answers to many questions that women and girls have never had the opportunity to ask or were maybe too intimidated to ask previously. It’s a warm, welcoming resource for women and girls to get engaged or further engaged in golf.

5. What is next for the PGA of America in the D&I space?
We’re laser-focused on laying a foundation for identifying and inspiring the next generation of minority and women members and leaders in our Association and creating a stronger culture of inclusion enterprise-wide. We’re also digging deeply into supplier diversity, not only at our corporate and Championships level, but at the grassroots level where the lion’s share of goods and services are procured every day in this $68 billion per year industry. We want to help ensure that a meaningful share of the golf economy is impacting minority and women-owned businesses, and hopefully engendering great participation from them in the sport along the way.

About Sandy Cross

Sandy Cross has been a member of the PGA of America staff since 1996 and serves in the newly created position of Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion. A native of Buffalo, New York, she is charged with driving the development and execution of a comprehensive, ongoing diversity and inclusion strategy for the Association.

Cross is a member of the GOLF 20/20 Women’s Committee and the USGA Women’s Advisory Board. Prior to the PGA, she worked as Director of Special Projects for the United States Water Fitness Association in South Florida. She earned her Masters of Sport Administration from Kent State University and Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from the University of Buffalo, where she played NCAA Division I volleyball.

For more information on the PGA of America, visit www.pga.com

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