Who we are – both individually, and the fabric of our communities – has been undeniably shaped by the influential, inspirational women in our lives. While each woman’s story is unique, we all have shared triumphs and struggles that unite us.
Washington Women Who Dare is a new, YWCA series celebrating our collective strength as women. As our 125th anniversary celebration continues through 2019, stay tuned for exclusive interviews with local women who are shaping our region in important ways.
Amy Sprangers, Senior VP of Revenue at the Seattle Seahawks and our first profile for the Washington Women Who Dare series, has deep roots in the Puget Sound region. The Bainbridge Island native graduated from the University of Washington and has been with the organization for over 19 years. No stranger to the passion and commitment of the 12s--both on the field and off--she spoke with us about the importance of representation at all levels and her vision for women and girls in Washington.
Read on to learn more about her journey as a woman in sports, the challenges that have shaped her, and why she believes we’re only better together.
YWCA: We all need help at some point in our lives. Share a time you overcame a barrier and who helped you.
Amy Sprangers: Throughout my career and even personally I’ve always tried to focus on staying true to who I am, working hard and being honest and transparent. When facing a barrier, I’ve always overcome by being OK to be honest with myself and ask for help from those around me. Many times people view asking for help as a weakness, but that’s not the case. When I’ve had barriers to overcome, I’ve been shown by those around me that they will help lift me up and support me when I need it most. I now always try to demonstrate to my team that they have my support no matter what they face.
YW: What makes you feel empowered as a woman? How can we help empower others?
AS: I really believe in surrounding yourself with an incredible team of people and I’m fortunate enough to work in sports--so teamwork is just been something that is absolutely part of my mentality. I really feel you’re better together, you’re stronger as a team. I’ve worked really hard in my career and what I’m really proud of is now I have the opportunity to help other women and men on my team achieve their goals.
I had a really cool opportunity to lead a conversation with Abbey Wombach last month, she just released a new book, Wolfpack, and I moderated a Q&A with her. She said something that really stuck out to me “Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve,” and not all women do that! They may be thankful to have a seat at the table, but they don’t move it forward and demand what they deserve. When we talked about that point, the whole room just lit up and people really felt empowered by that message.
YW: What advice would you have for your fellow Washingtonian women looking to make an impact in their communities, but don’t know where to get started?
AS: I really think leadership is about action. Everyone has the power to make a difference and you just have to put yourself out there--and it can be big or small. There are so many wonderful opportunities and it can be right outside your front door. It can be at your local elementary school, it can be at your community center, your church. I really think that Washington has such a strong sense of community--we see it in our fans, but we also see it when they mobilize to action and are inspired to make a change for the betterment of our own communities. I’m inspired every day by what our fans are able to do.
YW: What is your hope or vision for women in Washington?
AS: I would love to continue to see strong, bold, accountable women inspired and emboldened to create change. Women who are not afraid to lead the conversation, women who have an inclusive mindset because understanding other points of view and having representation at every level is so important--we’re only better together.
YW: Many conversations YWCA has been leading in our state is around issues of gender and racial inequities in our region. What’s at stake if we do nothing to address them?
AS: What’s at stake is a future for success. I want young girls and young boys to see what it means to have gender and racial diversity represented across every level in a professional organization. For everyone to have seats at the table and be a part of these important conversations around impacting change--that’s essential for our region’s success . . . and we have to be able to act on that, not just talk about it, in the way we hire, the way we shape our organizations, the way we promote our leaders. We at the Seahawks know that we are incredibly successful because of the diversity and equality that we stand for and demand of one another.
YW125 is a year-long celebration of YWCA’s proud commitment to serving women and their families in our region for the past 125 years. By shining a spotlight on diverse local women and their stories, YWCA hopes to make 2019 “the year of Washington women” and lead the way in creating a new, bold vision for women across our state.
Feeling inspired after reading? Visit ywcaworks.org/get-involved to learn about the many ways you can join us in our mission to serve and empower women and girls across our region.