Conversations with Champions


Tuesday, August 20th


Description: What is the road to championship and what does it take to sustain high performance throughout life on and off the playing field? The speaker will be interviewed by Liz Plosser, Editor in Chief of Women’s Health.

Keep checking back for details on who will be speaking during the “Personal Best” session.


Description: How do you compete in a ruthless, competitive world and at the same time advocate for the traditions and beliefs of your ancient culture? A young Native woman of the Iroquois Nation speaks out on living in two worlds as a Haudenosaunee faithkeeper and champion U.S. lacrosse player. Kayleigh is 18 years old, a freshman at Kent State University, a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team at school, and member of the U-19 Haudenosaunee Women’s Team that will play in the world championships in August 2019. Kayleigh will be interviewed by Sara Tracey, senior editor Women@Work and Upstate magazine.

Topic: MIND/BODY REBALANCE – Dr. Mara Smith + Dr. Kate Ackerman – Mind/Body Rebalance

Description: Recent research reveals that training regimens for female athletes, traditionally based on men’s routines, may be doing more harm than good. Dr. Kate Ackerman, Director of the Female Athlete Program at Boston Children’s Hospital discusses her work with reframing training protocols for optimal performance for women. Former gymnast Dr. Mara Smith helps athletes build mental skills enabling them to handle whatever comes their way. She has become a pioneer in the concept of Mental Strength and Conditioning. These two leaders bring us up-to-date on the critical importance and value of mind/body balance required to succeed on and off the playing field. Their conversation will be moderated by Bethany Bump, Health Reporter for the Times Union.

Wednesday, August 21st


Description: Stephanie Harvey, also known as missharvey, is a Canadian video game developer and professional gamer. She is best known as a Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player, having won five world championships. She plays for Counter Logic Gaming Red. Outside professional gaming, Harvey works as a designer at video game developer and is an advocate against gender discrimination in professional gaming. In 2013, Harvey and other major female gamers co-founded the online community and streaming site Missclicks to help make gaming more welcoming for women and minorities — and to kick start discussion about the discrepancy in video game prize money for men and women. In December 2016, she won the third season of Canada’s Smartest Person. Stephanie will be interviewed by Liz Plosser, Editor in Chief of Women’s Health.

Topic: THE FUTURE IS FEMALE – The Aurora Games Champions

Presented by Women’s Health

Description: Join this spirited conversation about the rise of women in sports and fitness and its impact on future generations. You’ll have the chance for a Q/A with a group of Aurora Games competitors (to be announced) who will share their personal experiences of what it takes to compete, win and serve as a role model for the next gen of female athletes. Liz Plosser, Editor in Chief of Women’s Health will moderate the panel of world-class champions.

Topic: EMPOWERMENT + SELF-RESPECT – Judge Rosemarie Aqualina

Presented by the Times Union

Description: All athletes deserve to participate in sports free from bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct or any form of emotional or physical abuse. Judge Rosemarie Aqualina sentenced Larry Nassar in the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal. She made it her mission to give voices to Larry Nassar’s survivors and, in the process, emerged as a fierce support system, eager to create a safe environment for victims of abuse in her courtroom. Judge Aqualina is a highly outspoken and an engaging personality; she will discuss how athletes have the right to be protected from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. She is an empowerment advocate supporting women to find their voices recognize how strong they are, powerful and full of potential. Susan Mehalick, Executive Editor Women@Work and City Editor at the Times Union will interview Judge Aqualina.

Thursday, August 22nd


Description: World-class athletes speak out on their careers, lives and what it means to achieve global recognition as the top athletes in their fields. They will also discuss how young women can strive to reach their personal potentials – even against all odds – and how to rise above adversity to succeed and thrive. Susan Mehalick, executive editor Women@Work and city editor of the Times Union will moderate the conversation.

Keep checking back for details on who will be speaking during the “High Performance” session.


Description: What roles do resilience, imagination and creativity play in reinventing yourself?  How do you tap into your inner strength and conviction to win?  And then what do you do to keep winning after your professional career as a champion is over? The conversation will be moderated by Leigh Hornbeck, senior writer Women@Work at the Times Union.

Keep checking back for details on who will be speaking during the “Resilience” session.


Champions discuss the how to take advantage of the opportunities today to learn how sports, competition and training can transform your life — personally and professionally. The experiences you have and the lessons you learn about yourself and teamwork will give you an advantage off the playing fields. Sara Tracey, senior editor, Women@Work and Upstate magazine will interview the featured speaker.

Keep checking back for details on who will be speaking during the “Power and Persuasion” session.

Friday, August 23rd


Being comfortable in your own skin can take some discipline and focus.  With today’s obsessions on body shape, fitness, glamour and Photoshopped celebrity role models, looking and feeling your best can be challenging. Join this conversation on self-image and self-worth through the lens of Champions who struggled with the same issues and took the right steps to success.
Keep checking back for details on who will be speaking during the “Self-Image + Self-Worth” session.


Description: How do you coach young women to become world-class champions? This candid conversation reveals the highs, lows, challenges and the role modeling coaches play to bring out the inner champion in female athletes. And how does coaching play a crucial role off the playing fields?

Keep checking back for details on who will be speaking during the “Coaching Nextgen Champions” session.  

Topic: ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Dr. Lisa Delpy Neirotti 

Description: Do you have a business idea but not exactly sure how to begin?  Lisa Delpy Neirotti is an expert business woman and professor who will share personal start-up stories, experiences, and advice for both products and services. The entrepreneurs speaking during this session do a deep dive into what it takes be your own boss. Whether you are an athlete training for your next Olympic Games, considering other career options, a retired athlete or a member of the entourage, you will hear how to set up your future self for success.  Sara Tracey, senior editor Women@Work and Upstate magazine will moderate the conversation.