Can a golf tournament change the world? The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship may be a start in that direction. The strong emphasis tournament sponsor KPMG is putting on the women's summit and other activities around the event designed to inspire women in business--as well as golf--shows there's more to it than who takes home the trophy.
PGA of America Secretary Suzy Whaley opened a discussion with women leaders at the PGA Show by observing that the upcoming KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club is one of the most important golf events ever played. The reason? It marks a revolutionary collaboration between the men's and women's sides of the game. Whaley knows whereof she speaks, since she is the first elected woman officer in the history of the PGA of America.
Panelist Lynne Doughtie, Vice Chair, KPMG Advisory Practice, expanded on Whaley's assessment. "It is going to be a phenomenal event to develop, elevate, and empower women both on the golf course and off," she said. "The course, the size of the purse, the TV coverage, all make it a big deal." The event will be played on the West Course of Westchester Country Club, site of men's PGA Tour events for many, many years.
The remarks came at the beginning of the Inspire Greatness Panel held during the PGA Merchandise Show last week. Five leading global women influencers and trailblazers discussed the importance of the golf industry’s dedication to diversity and inclusion. PGA of America secretary Suzy Whaley, PGA/LPGA, moderated the panel which included Lynne Doughtie, Vice Chair, KPMG Advisory Practice; Paige Mackenzie, LPGA, LPGA Tour Player; Donna Orender, CEO, Orender Unlimited; and Molly Solomon, Executive Producer, Golf Channel.
The group discussed the importance of inspiring more women and minorities into leadership roles at the local, regional and national levels in the golf industry and shared their stories on how they have been inspired to greatness, who influenced them and how they are currently inspiring others to lead.
“When you don't see someone who looks like you in a leadership role, it's tough to have confidence in yourself--to try." Doughtie said. "We need to shut out that voice that says you can't do something." Having top women achievers on and off the golf course associated with a high profile event like the KMPG Women's PGA Championship provides those all-important role models, according to the panelist.
“The cultural landscape of the industry and the makeup of its leadership has to continue to shift if our efforts to make the game more welcoming and accessible to people of all backgrounds are going to be successful,” said Sandy Cross, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the PGA of America in a release before the program.
“Some of the most successful organizations around the globe continue to demonstrate that having a more diverse leadership and staff composition has a direct positive impact on the workplace culture and ultimately the company’s ability to innovate, produce better products and services, grow their business and ultimately improve their bottom line. We’re thrilled to have these exemplary leaders here to share their insight,” Cross added.