“Be innovative, original, and not afraid to fail.” That was sportscaster Ann Liguori’s message for the AWSM Champions mentor program participants on a January conference call.
As a trailblazer in the industry, Liguori certainly has first-hand knowledge. She was the first woman to host a call-in sports show on WFAN Radio in New York – where she continues as the station’s golf and tennis correspondent at major events.
Thanks to a generous donation through her foundation, Liguori also is the first benefactor of AWSM Champions.
“We truly appreciate Ann’s sponsorship of AWSM Champions,” AWSM president Jenny Dial Creech said. “The mentorship initiative is an important and exciting part of our professional development program. Ann’s generosity will help the program grow and thrive.”
Liguori said opportunities for female mentors were minimal when she was starting out, simply because there were so few women in the industry and even fewer holding leadership positions. She wants to help ensure that today’s women in sports media will have a different experience.
Along with her pioneering career in sports radio, Liguori has the distinction of being the host, producer and owner of ‘Sports Innerview with Ann Liguori,’ the longest-running cable sports TV show owned, hosted and produced by a woman. She also was an original host on Golf Channel. In addition to WFAN Radio and CBS Sports Radio, Liguori hosts a weekly sports radio show on the NPR affiliate in Southampton, N.Y., and is a brand consultant for a number of companies. To learn more about Liguori, visit annliguori.com.
Members of the inaugural AWSM Champions class are Houston Chronicle sports copy editor Alexandra Alejandro, freelance broadcaster Rontina DeGraffenreid, Dallas Morning News digital producer Jori Epstein and NBC Sports Boston social media coordinator Kwani Lunis. Participants are paired with a sports media veteran as a mentor for one year and also partake in conference calls featuring industry leaders ranging from Liguori to AWSM co-founder and former New York Times editor Kristin Huckshorn to Fox Sports broadcaster and Galvanize co-founder Laura Okmin.
Mentors for the inaugural class are Lindsay Jones (USA Today), Amy Lawrence (CBS Sports Radio), Kate Leonard (ESPN) and Iliana Limon Romero (Orlando Sentinel).
Mentees receive a complimentary one-year extension of their AWSM memberships and assistance to attend the organization’s annual convention. The next application period opens in April 2019.