Women in Athlete Development Symposium and Networking Event

Berkeley Social Welfare is in the process of launching a social welfare, sports, and society initiative.

Our ultimate goal is to launch a certificate within our MSW program focusing on the specific areas of overlap between social work and sports — social advocacy, policy development, physical, behavioral, and emotional wellness that athletes are confronted with — and to establish the first ever Institute on Sports and Social Welfare in the country.

As part of this effort, we are partnering with Hilliard Solutions as a sponsor of the Women in Athlete Development Symposium and Networking Event.

Event information

April 7 – 8
8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Pacific)

View the full list of sessions and speakers

"register" button

Featured Sessions

Robert TurnerWhat's Social Justice Got to Do with It?

Thursday, April 8
8:15 – 9:15 a.m. (Pacific)

In 1967 heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was convicted of violating selective service laws and sentenced to five years in prison. A year later, Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos were suspended by the U.S. team and kicked out of the Olympic Village for raising black-gloved fists during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Nearly 55 years later, athletes are once again reenergized to use their platform to speak out on social justice issues. But at what cost, and what about college athletes? Dr. Robert W. Turner II draws on personal experience as a former college and NFL athlete, and his academic scholarship to provide a uniquely insightful perspective on various factors that contribute to athlete vulnerabilities in the present social climate.  

Robert W. Turner II, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neurology, at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. 

Dean Linda M. Burton, PhD (Moderator)

Linda BurtonA Change Is Gonna Come

​​​​​Thursday, April 8
9:35 – 10:35 a.m. (Pacific)

Anchored in conceptual perspectives on social justice, this presentation illuminates the importance of integrating social work knowledge and practice within the sports industry and across the life course of athletes from childhood through advanced age. I discuss ways in which the integration of social welfare with sports can elevate the discourse on justice, equity and healing for athletes as well as inform the efforts of athletes and the sports industry in making sustainable contributions to social change and addressing the needs of vulnerable communities.

Linda M. Burton, PhD
Dean / Professor
Eugene and Rose Kleiner Chair of Aging at the School of Social Welfare 

How I Got Over

Thursday, April 8
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Pacific)  

Attendees will understand the valuable skills of a social worker, learn from those utilizing their training in both traditional and non-traditional careers, and create a beneficial dialogue about how interested persons can move forward in their careers by including the skills of a social worker — both at the collegiate and professional levels. The moderator will explain how social work professionals experience boundless career objectives due to the diverse education and fieldwork internships.

Robert Watts III, LCSW (Moderator)
Field Consultant and Lecturer, Berkeley Social Welfare
Before joining Berkeley Social Welfare, Robert was a counselor and therapist at Seneca Family of Agencies and a social worker at New Haven Unified School District (Union City, CA). He also has a private practice where he focuses on working with adults of color on managing stress, relationships, and challenges related to communication, identity and self-esteem.

Ashley Bryant, LMSW
Program Manager, Communities in Schools
Ashley is a Licensed Master Social Worker who has served the Houston community in the K-8 and community college spectrums for the past seven years. She is passionate about child/adolescent development, addressing childhood trauma, and student-athlete welfare and development.

Devon Lewis-Buchanan, MSW
Alumni Relations Director, Las Vegas Raiders
Once a collegiate athlete and NFL prospect, Devon credits social work for guiding his path out of uncertainty. He founded a nonprofit organization, Inspire Youths Services, Inc. to create avenues to mental health access for youth combatting adverse environ (Mental) stressors. He also founded Inspire U, LLC, a consulting agency tackling stigma at the intersection of mental health and athletics.

Charmin Smith, MS
Head Women's Basketball Coach, UC Berkeley
Highly regarded throughout the coaching ranks at both the collegiate and professional levels, Smith has played a key role in building Cal into one of the premier programs on the West Coast, handling duties from recruiting and scheduling, to alumni engagement and campus equity and inclusion.

Bobby Thompson, MA
Interim Director of Operations, Cameron Institute, UC Berkeley
Before becoming Interim Director of Operations for the Cameron Institute for Student Athlete Development at Cal, Thompson was previously director of the department and led all operations and initiatives, focusing on the holistic enrichment of Cal’s 850 Division I student-athletes representing 30 athletic programs. In this role, he produced educational, empowering, and transformational programs, resources, and opportunities focusing on career preparation, character development, and community engagement.

 Robert Watts, Ashley Bryant, Devon Lewis-Buchanan, Charmin Smith, Bobby Thompson

Our Partner

Dr. Janice L. Hilliard is President & CEO of Hilliard Solutions, an education and sports consultancy firm that helps professionals help athletes succeed by providing career, consulting, and curriculum services. She is the creator of the annual Women in Athlete Development Symposium & Networking Event that assists women with entering, advancing, and transitioning into the field of athlete development. Dr. Hilliard spent fifteen years at the National Basketball Association where she was most recently Vice President of Player Development. She was previously an Associate Director of Athletics at the University of Houston and the University of North Carolina. She is a member of the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists, National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals, Alliance of Social Workers in Sports, Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development, and the Michigan State University College of Business Sports Management Advisory Board. A proud recipient of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Founders Award and National Girls and Women in Sports Day Award, she is also an Adjunct Professor at Michigan State University and Georgetown University and a published author.

Janice Hilliard
Hilliard Solutions logo