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LEAD Sports Summit

Registration for the 2020 LEAD Summit in Denver, CO will open November 15, 2019.


LEAD Sports Summit

Registration for the 2020 LEAD Summit in Denver, CO will open November 15, 2019.

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Leadership, Empowerment, & Athletic Development

The LEAD Sports Summit is a yearly summit that connects young female swimmers with Olympic Champions and Specialists throughout a 4 day all-inclusive event. The 2020 LEAD Summit will be held in Denver, Colorado, over Labor Day Weekend (September 4-7).

Subscribe to our newsletter below to be the first to know about 2020 registration and other exciting updates from the LEAD Team!


the LEAD Team

the LEAD Team

Meet the 2019 LEAD Speakers

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About LEAD

Leadership, Empowerment, & Athletic Development

About LEAD

Leadership, Empowerment, & Athletic Development


Our mission at LEAD (Leadership, Empowerment and Athletic Development) is to change the lives of young female athletes by teaching, empowering, and cultivating an environment for leadership and confidence through our yearly summit.

LEAD mentors strive to help attendees realize their goals and develop their strengths as students, athletes, daughters, and leaders.

Attendees learn from a variety of accomplished women, from Division 3 college athletes to Olympic Champions. We align with mentors and community leaders  from diverse backgrounds in order to connect with and relate to every girl that attends LEAD.

See more from our 2017 Summit with this piece from The Olympic Channel. 



The LEAD Sports Summit was founded in 2017 by 3-Time Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce. Since retiring from competitive swimming in 2012, Kara has pursued a career in coaching, speaking and mentorship.  Kara is sought out nationally to emcee, moderate and speak about Women in Sports and Women's Leadership. A common theme and passion throughout her athletic career and professional journey has been the mentorship and empowerment of young women.

According to a study by the US Department of Justice, young adults with a mentor are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions. 

Kara was inspired to create the LEAD Sports Summit to develop an environment for young female athletes to connect with strong female mentors.



Lead has been transformative for my daughter. Many swim parents have asked me about her experience there. I tell them it’s not about the swag or swimming in famous pools with Olympians. It’s about realizing that ALL athletes battle personal challenges at one time or another. It’s about embracing the journey of their sport and what they can learn from that journey. Swimming is hard; no matter what innate ability a swimmer may have. Lead has taught her to be resilient, empathetic and a leader both in and out of the pool.
— LEAD 2019 Parent
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Frequently Asked Questions & Details on the Summit


Who can attend the LEAD Sports Summit?

LEAD is open to teenage girls ages 13-18 (at the time of the Summit) who are swimmers at any level.

What can I expect my daughter to learn from LEAD?

Attendees at the LEAD Sports Summit will learn from a versatile group of women leaders about topics such as Leadership (what it means to be a leader, how to lead a team etc), Nutrition, Mental Health, Perseverance, Overcoming Plateaus, and much more. Upon check-in to the Summit, each girl will receive a LEAD workbook with prompted pages for notes to help follow along with each presentation.

What have previous attendees said abut LEAD?

"My daughter came away finally understanding that Olympians are just humans with the same fears, desires, etc., as the rest of us. She loved getting to know all of the mentors on such a personal level. The Leadership Session and paddle boarding were her highlights." - 2017 LEAD Parent

"LEAD was amazing! I learned so much about myself and swimming, and I met so many amazing people from around the country. The best part; however, was the one on one time with the speakers. Sitting in the hallway with Elizabeth Beisel and McKenzie Coan was my highlight for the entire weekend. Seeing that elite swimmers are normal people who struggle like I do gave me confidence and made me excited for the upcoming season.” - 2019 LEAD Participant

"My daughter found value in hearing stories that go beyond success and winning gold. She felt touched to learn that it is not an easy journey for even olympians. That there are ups and downs and you have to continue to believe in yourself. This is where all of the discussions about confidence really tied together nicely with the stories. My daughter also took a lot away from the nutrition discussion. I think it is good for girls to hear from an expert and not their Mom/Dad. Overall, this was an amazing experience for my daughter and we are so appreciative of the opportunity!" - 2018 LEAD Parent

Are accommodations and meals provided?

Yes! Girls will stay in a hotel with other participants, usually 3-4 to a room. Roommate requests can be submitted in our attendee info forms, which are completed 2-3 months before the Summit. We cannot guarantee all roommate requests will be honored, but each girl will be with other attendees her age unless otherwise requested.

All meals will be provided at the Summit including: welcome dinner Friday; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday and Sunday; and breakfast Monday. Snacks will also be provided throughout the weekend. If your daughter should need any additional meals, hotel room service is available and will require a credit card on file.

How will my daughter get from the airport to the hotel?

A LEAD Staff member will meet girls at the airport for a shuttle to the hotel. Details for Denver 2020 coming soon.

Will my daughter have interaction with the speakers?

Yes, in addition to our keynote talks, smaller breakout sessions will take place throughout the weekend with our speakers and experts. Our speakers will also participate in activities and games along with the girls.

What does the LEAD Summit weekend look like?

Below is the 2019 schedule. The 2020 Summit in Denver, CO will have a similar feel with keynotes, breakouts, a swim clinic, as well as the addition of new activities, topics, and speakers.

2019 Itinerary 

Friday, AUgust 30

Swimmers should arrive at the airport by 3:00 pm. 

12:00 pm Registration/Gifting Suite open

5:00 pm Welcome: Kara Lynn Joyce

5:35 pm Fireside chat: Maya Dirado and Elizabeth Beisel

6:00 pm Buffet Dinner

7:00 pm Opening Keynote: Mckenzie Coan  

7:40 pm Icebreakers and Team Building Activities

9:00 pm Room checks

Saturday, August 31

8:00 am Breakfast

10:00 am Swim Clinic/Dryland @McAuley Aquatic Center

12:30 pm Lunch

3:00 pm Confidence Keynote: Christen Shefchunas

4:15 pm Athlete Keynote: Maya Dirado

5:00 pm Breakout Sessions

14 & Under: Confidence // 15 & Over: Sports Psych // 15 & Over: College Recruiting

6:15 pm Dinner

7:15 pm Breakouts Sessions

14 & Under: Sports Psych // 14 & Under: Leadership

15 & Over: Team Building // 15 & Over: Confidence

9:00 pm Room checks

Sunday, September 1

7:00 am Grab and Go breakfast 

8:00 am Yoga/Meditation @ Piedmont Park

8:50 am Breakfast at field

9:15 am Leadership Style Activity: Toni Armstrong

11:45 am  Sports Psychology Keynote: Megan Cannon

12:45 pm Lunch

2:45 pm Athlete Keynote: Elizabeth Beisel

3:45 pm Breakout Sessions

Balancing School and Swimming // Nutrition // Mindfulness

5:00 pmNutrition Keynote: Alicia Glass

6:30 pm Dinner

7:30 pm LEAD Scavenger Hunt/Leadership Styles and Summit Reflection

9:00 pm Room checks 

Coaches/Parents Track: September 1

11:00 am Coaches & Parents Welcome: Kara Lynn Joyce

11:15 am Madisyn Cox keynote

12:00 pm Coaches Track Lunch

1:15 pm Athlete Panel and Q&A (Kara Lynn Joyce, Elizabeth Beisel, Madisyn Cox, McKenzie Coan, Maya Dirado, Missy Franklin)

2:30 pm Coffee 

2:45 pm Breakout Sessions

PARENTS: College Prep

COACHES: Sport Psychology

3:45 pm Confidence Keynote: Christen Shefchunas and Natalie Hinds

5:00 pm Nutrition Keynote: Alicia Glass

6:15 pm Dinner

7:30 pm Parent Social (all parents) 

Monday, September 2 

Swimmers should arrange travel for 3pm or later. 

7:30 am Breakfast

8:45 am Closing Keynote: Missy

9:45 am Panel and Q&A (Moderated by Kara with Maya Dirado, Elizabeth Beisel, Missy Franklin, Eva Fabian, Natalie Hinds, Toni Armstrong, Megan Cannon, Christen Shefchunas)

10:30 am Photos and autographs 

12:00 pm Summit concludes

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