Stacy Lewis, Duke basketball coach Kara Lawson deliver empowering message at KPMG Women's Leadership Summit

The two stars of their respective sports gathered to talk about breaking barriers and empowering change in women's sports.

Stacy Lewis, Duke basketball coach Kara Lawson deliver empowering message at KPMG Women's Leadership Summit

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. ­– Stacy Lewis’ daughter Chesnee joined her on the flash area platform after her final interview of the day. She carried a golf ball with her – not mom’s – and took to kicking it like a soccer ball. Chesnee isn’t old enough to come out and watch mom play during tournaments, but she does like to join her at practice.

“She’ll pick up a club and she’ll miss the ball completely,” said Lewis, “but she’ll sit there and hold her finish. So you know she’s paying attention. She’s watching.”

Stacy Lewis has always asked why. Never one to settle for personal success alone, Lewis has always looked out for the best interests of the overall tour. Why do the women, for example, play for less money on lesser-known courses? Those questions kicked into an even higher gear after she gave birth to a girl.

“You know, it’s just everything I do now is for Chesnee,” said Lewis, “and I hope when she’s older, she sees what I did as far as just having her while I was still playing (to) keep pushing the bar.”

Lewis, a former World No. 1 and KPMG ambassador, has been an integral part of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship from the start. On Wednesday, she joined Duke head coach Kara Lawson at the annual KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit to talk about breaking barriers and empowering change.

Lawson, a Former WNBA and Olympic Champion, became the first female nationwide TV analyst for an NBA game and the first female assistant coach in Boston Celtics history.

“I think a lot of times those types of milestones say more about the decision-makers than they do the person,” said Lawson, who noted that not one day did she wake up in Boston thinking she couldn’t accomplish a task or that players wouldn’t listen to her because she’s female.

“I can’t be convinced about the opposite.”

Lawson wants to see women in key positions of leadership across all sports, just like Lewis wants to see all women’s sports get more network coverage.

“I think our biggest barrier is TV,” said Lewis, “and it has to do with the viewership and the number of people watching … that ultimately is what’s going to drive the money in.”

Being on the same stage as Lawson – though virtually this year ­– was energizing for Lewis, who wanted to jump on the floor and play for the Blue Devil coach after listening to her speak. In many areas, the accomplished pair could relate.

Boston Celtics guard Carsen Edwards talks with former assistant coach Kara Lawson before the start of a game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. (Photo: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

“It’s nice to hear the same struggles,” said Lewis, “but also the same kind of triumphs, too.”

Lawson said it’s important not to wait for someone else to recognize something that she already believes about herself. She knows what she has, what she brings, and in her mind, she’s already there.

“I don’t wait for people in my head,” she said. “That confidence has carried me a long way.”

Since the Leadership Summit began seven years ago, 20 percent of the women who participated have been promoted to the C-suite and 50 percent have been promoted.

“That’s one huge impact statement there,” said Paul Knopp, KPMG U.S. Chair and CEO. “We realize we play a small part in that, but these women continue to mentor and go to leadership development opportunities through this program. They network with the women every year that are at the summit.”

In 2019, two-thirds of LPGA events had some type of women’s leadership event convening onsite.

Condoleezza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State, followed Lawson and Lewis in Wednesday’s all-star lineup.

It’s important for Lewis to show Chesnee that women don’t have to choose between their career and raising a family. The two-time major winner was at the Masters doing an event when she first told former KPMG Chair and CEO Lynne Doughtie that she was pregnant. Lewis admits she was scared to tell her sponsors, wondering if they drop her.

Doughtie wrapped her up in a bear hug, and the next week Lewis found out that KPMG would pay out the entire year she was pregnant event if she didn’t compete in the minimum number of events that her contract stipulated.

“It was the biggest relief,” said Lewis, “just to know that they had my back.”

All but one of her sponsors did the same thing and Lewis was outspoken about the need for it to become standard practice for all female athletes.

“It’s just encouraging to see it across all sports, in business,” said Lewis, “things are changing.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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How a Purple Heart recipient with a prosthetic leg has changed John Daly's life

The vehicle he was driving in Iraq hit a 250-pound roadside bomb. Pulido swerved right, saving the lives of those with him.

How a Purple Heart recipient with a prosthetic leg has changed John Daly's life

AKRON, Ohio — John Daly has tried to help those in need throughout his PGA Tour career.

But a gregarious retired U.S. Army major with a Purple Heart and a prosthetic leg helped Daly when he reached a turning point with his 2020 bladder cancer diagnosis. Their partnership has given Daly’s charity work a newfound focus.

Major Ed Pulido teamed with PGA Tour Champions star Daly to launch the John Daly-Major Ed Heart of a Lion Foundation last October. Pulido said their fundraising events brought in $260,000 in the first three months and they’re on track to total $1 million in the inaugural year.

On Tuesday, Pulido stood at the 17th tee at Firestone Country Club’s North Course, greeting participants and posing for pictures during a pro-am put on by the Wentz Family Foundation to benefit Heart of a Lion.

The fundraiser precedes the $3 million Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, which opens Thursday at Firestone South.

First discussed by Bud Wentz, president of Wentz Financial Group in Hudson, and Daly during a pro-am two years ago, Daly’s event was capped by a Jake Owen concert hours later at the Archbishop Hoban High School football field. Most of the proceeds will benefit Daly’s and Pulido’s 501c3 charity that serves children, veterans and first responders.

“We do events all across the country. What we try to do that’s different, we try to keep at least 60 to 70 percent of the dollars local,” Pulido said.

Major Ed Pulido, the founder and CEO of the John Daly-Major Ed Heart of a Lion Foundation, swings on the North Course at Firestone Country Club Tuesday, June 22, 2021 in Akron, Ohio. Photo by Karen Schiely, Akron Beacon Journal/USA Today Network

Pulido, 53, of Edmond, Oklahoma, said he met Daly, 55, about 15 years ago at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin, and they did some charity work together.

But it wasn’t until last year when Daly began planning the new foundation that they reconnected and became partners.

“A turning point, he had a cancer diagnosis and for him it was like, ‘What’s next? How long can I continue doing what I’m doing?’ and making some changes to not only his philanthropy footprint, but his life,” Pulido said. “I think all of us have a point in life when that comes to be.”

Pulido’s came when he was 37 in 2005, when he was forced to retire from the military after 20 years of service and three tours of duty.

On Aug. 17, 2004, the vehicle he was driving in Baqubah, Iraq, hit a 250-pound roadside bomb. Pulido said he had been trained to swerve right or left in such an instance. He swerved right, saving the lives of those with him.

“The first fragment broke my knee in three places, the fragment is still in the left side of my body,” Pulido said. “A combat medic pulls me out. I spent about 17 hours in surgery after I got back to Bagdad. Then Germany, Walter Reed, and Brooke Army Medical Center [in San Antonio, Texas]. I spent almost 40 days in ICU with e-coli, two staph infections and some kind of chemical infection in my leg. On Oct. 1, there was no other remedy except to amputate.”

With retirement inevitable, Pulido remembered the words of his father Manuel, a chief warrant officer 4 in the Army with whom he served when he enlisted at age 17.

“I’m thinking, ‘What’s next?’ I could have sat down and said, ‘I’m going to take my retirement and hang out at the house,”’ Pulido said. “But it was my father, he said, ‘Be resilient. Never quit. Move forward.’ That’s what John represents.”

Pulido went to work for the United Way, then spent 13 years with Folds of Honor, which aids families of fallen or disabled servicemen and women. Pulido gained valuable experience he’s now using to help Daly.

Manuel Pulido, who lives in Lakeland, Florida, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June 2020, which Polido said coincided with Daly’s test results. Daly revealed in September that he’d undergone surgery, but the bladder cancer had an 85 percent likelihood of returning. That strengthened Ed Pulido’s bond with Daly.

The Heart of a Lion Foundation soon followed. The lion in the logo represents Daly, the Purple Heart Pulido’s service and the American flag in a heart shape says to Pulido, “America’s heart is with all of us and we should do our part to make a difference.”

The foundation has worked on a house project for a veteran in Oklahoma. Some battling suicidal thoughts have had help in seeking counseling. Injured first responders have received assistance. The foundation also aids St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Boys & Girls Clubs.

“We try to empower veterans to be difference-makers,” Pulido said. “We have veterans who are selling coffee, they’ve started a coffee business, veterans who are doing woodworking. Some are doing long drive and playing golf.

“A lot of it is morale, welfare and recreation, taking care of their families and connections to organizations that can provide support and healing and educational opportunities.”

Pulido said Tuesday’s pro-am and concert would not have happened without Wentz, Heart of a Lion’s first corporate sponsor.

“We talk about unity and we talk about all of these words, but what’s our action?” Pulido said. “Our action is we’re not going to leave anyone behind on the field of battle for our military, but also on the homefront. That’s what’s Bud’s all about. For us to do our part with him and raise a substantial amount of money, tonight (Tuesday night) the concert with Jake Owen is going to be a pretty powerful thing.”

Pulido agreed that his partnership with Daly centered Daly’s charitable efforts that had been well-intentioned but somewhat scattershot before.

“We gave it focus, we gave it horsepower, we gave it connection,” Pulido said. “We reconnected with our network of people that have helped us with other things. Now it’s inventoried and we know what we’re doing.

“We’ve got people coming at us with golf course management, square (toed) shoes. We’ve got a coin coming out soon with John’s logo and name on it. I’m just re-starting this new brand. We’re the heart of a lion, the heart of America, the heartbeat of our nation. That’s the focus that we want to give. We want to change lives.”

Marla Ridenour can be reached at mridenour@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.

Source : Golf Week More   

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