20 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Stay on Top of Your Game 

The Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020 provided a space for leaders — in Chicago and beyond — to share where their strength comes from, what inspires them, and why it’s important to embrace risk (and occasionally fail). Here are some words of wisdom from MVPs in the lounge who are changing the game and inspiring others to do the same. 

In the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“When your source of energy, love, and fulfillment is your family, it is a source so powerful that everything else falls into place.” — Boris Kodjoe, Actor, Producer and Philanthropist, on equality at home leading  to success, relevance, and impact

“Everyone wants to be the employer of choice, and in order to do that, you have to create an environment that is conducive to every person who works there. The employee experience is pivotal.” — Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Managing Director, Inclusion & Diversity Lead at Accenture, on companies making people a priority

“My first role model was my mother. She was a teacher and when she saw my interests outside of school, she fed it and cultivated it. That’s how I learned about athletes who used their position as their platform.”Etan Thomas, NBA Legend, Writer, Activist, and Motivational Speaker, on becoming a community changemaker

Etan Thomas, NBA Legend, Writer, Activist, and Motivational Speaker, in the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“As more girls see women do extraordinary things, the more they realize they’re capable of doing them too.” — Jeremi Gorman, Chief Business Officer of Snap Inc., on activating the next generation of female sports fans

“The more we have women in these unexpected roles, the less unexpected they become. I’m the leader of our men’s business. Some would see that as an unexpected role, but in my world, it’s not.” — Karie Conner, VP/GM at Jordan Mens, on encouraging each other to embrace both masculine and feminine approaches to leadership and success

“I believe that in order to change the story, you have to change the storytellers.” — Valerie Vargas, Senior Vice President, Advertising, Creative Services and HelloLab at AT&T, on women claiming the narrative

Valerie Vargas of AT&T in the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“Companies that can understand their customers’ values are the companies that will survive and win their customers’ hearts and minds.” — Alicia Tillman, Chief Marketing Officer of SAP, on what happens when women construct the stories we hear

“When you look in the mirror and see yourself staring back, I don’t want you to like yourself — I want you to love yourself.” — Muggsy Bogues, NBA Legend, on influencing women in sports beyond the playing field

“Being first is not the goal. The goal is to make sure you’re not the last. As women, walking through so many doors for the first time, our job is to keep that door open for others behind us.” — Swin Cash, 15 seasons WNBA vet, VP of Basketball Operations & Team Development for New Orleans Pelicans, on helping break down barriers for other women

Swin Cash, 15 season WNBA vet, VP of Basketball Operations &Team Development for New Orleans Pelicans, in the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“It’s a crazy chicken-and-egg thing with women’s sports. They aren’t supported because there isn’t enough viewership, but there isn’t enough viewership because it just isn’t on. There should be more.” — Mark Wright, VP Media Services and Sponsorships at AT&T, on increasing visibility for women in sports

“Companies have to be intentional about their partnerships. They have to choose where to engage and who to spend their dollars with. And that’s where change happens.” — Andrea Zopp, CEO and President of World Business Chicago, on joining forces to amplify and deepen our impact

“Not everyone’s path is a straight line — but don’t ever lose vision of what you think is possible for yourself. There are many ways to get that door open for you.” — Ros Gold Onwude, Host of ESPN’s FirstTake, on achieving personal and professional goals

Ros Gold Onwude, Host of ESPN’s FirstTake, in the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“Sports are a catalyst for change — and they can help us advance the UN Global Goals: We need sports to be a platform to educate everyone about the responsibility they have to the world.” — Ann Rosenberg, SVP and Global Head of SAP Next-Gen, on leveraging sports as a platform for global change

“One of the most transformative things that happened to me in my career was when I became comfortable with the fact that I didn’t know it all.” — Liliahn Majeed, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at the NBA, on staying open and embracing risk

“Everything that I do has a purpose. While I’m inspiring others, I’m inspiring myself, as well.” — Tia Mowry, Actress, Co-Founder and Partner of Anser Supplements, on a collaboration benefiting us all

Tia Mowry, Actress, Co-Founder and Partner, Anser Supplements, in the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“As leaders and as people in the room, we have to call out exclusive behaviors and create a speak-up culture. It’s the only way we’re going to make progress.” — Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, on creating an inclusive sports and entertainment culture

“Have the confidence to stand up and say, ‘This is who I am and who I need to be.’ Own it and know that, authentically, this is who you are.” Shawna Ryan, Director of Experiential Marketing at Gatorade, on setting an example and ensuring that all voices are heard

Shawna Ryan, Director of Experiential Marketing at Gatorade, in the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“We don’t spend enough time thinking about what gives us energy, and realizing that it’s personal and that it changes with every chapter.” — Janet Foutty, Chair of the Board, Deloitte, on maintaining balance, prioritizing human connection, and staying connected to a sense of purpose

If you look at CEOs, something like 92% of them played sports growing up.” — Cathy Engelbert, WNBA Commissioner, on how the skills we learn as athletes, like teamwork, transcend sports and prime us for success later in life

Mark Wright of AT&T and Cathy Engelbert, WNBA Commissioner, in the Equality Lounge® @ NBA All-Star 2020

“When you support a girl or woman, you change the world.” — Angela Woods, Director of Corporate Citizenship at ESPN, on a panel about how advancing women strengthens communities and creates more opportunities for all


To watch full panel discussions, head over to our Facebook feed. You can also find more highlights from the Equality Lounge® on Twitter and here on our site:

Passing the Mic to Women in Film

Know Her Name: Women We’re Celebrating this Black History Month 

Money Mindset — Align Your Voice & Self-Worth