Support for women in industry intensifies


A diverse panel came together to share their experiences to a record crowd at the recent Ladies Leading Turf event.

Hosted by Syngenta Territory Manager Kimberly Gard and featuring panelists Jamie Taylor, Sally Jones, Lorabeth Catterson and Kennedy Ellis, it was the fifth instalment of the event founded by Canadian Superintendent, Leasha Schwab, taking place at this year’s GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego.

LPGA Professional and CEO & Creator of the Black Golf Directory, Jamie Taylor, recounted her stories of being the only black female to work at her previous golf clubs and her push to bring greater diversity into the game.

Her impassioned presentation detailing the more recent creation of the Black Golf Directory, which promotes and elevates African Americans in the golf industry, drew a standing ovation from the 100-plus delegates in attendance.

Delegates also heard from Sally Jones, Course Superintendent and General Manager of Benson Golf Club in Minnesota and Lorabeth Catterson, Assistant Director of Agronomy at Hillcrest Country Club, California.

This year’s event also celebrated the roles of mentors and mentees in the industry, and invited aspiring young turf professional and student, Kennedy Ellis, to talk about the sources of inspiration that have led her to choose a career in turf.

Following a Q&A session, delegates and panelists gathered at a networking reception to develop new and existing connections which are helping to elevate the role and status of women in the industry, and make it a safe, appealing environment in which to welcome new generations of young female turf professionals into. 

Kimberly Gard commented: “Many of the women are fairly isolated, so to be able to connect with others and broaden that network is really important.”

Buoyed by the success of this year’s event, Catterson hopes it will continue to gather momentum.

“Easily next year this could be a longer event, with more discussion, more panelists, more diversity, we can just keep going and make it even better.”