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 through our yearly summits and regional seminars.

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.




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.



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!
— LEAD 2017 Parent

The Seminars

LEAD Confidence Seminars are special 3-hour mother-daughter sessions, led by 3-time Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce and Professional Confidence Coach Christen Shefchunas. 

Kara and Christen work alongside mothers and daughters to discuss how this relationship can help build confidence and empower young female swimmers.  

Attendees work through self-evaluations and relationship assessments to gain a baseline understanding of their communication strategies and what helps boost their confidence. 

Throughout the seminar, Kara and Christen share their individual journeys with developing confidence as well as their tips for creating an environment where confidence can thrive—for both mothers and daughters. They also host a Question & Answer session open to both parents and swimmers.

What stood out the most were the personal stories and struggles of the speakers that showed that my daughter’s anxieties and fears of the sport were not just unique to her. It seems to have given her more confidence in herself to know that even Olympians have some of the same thoughts that she does. What a fantastic thing to see your daughter realize!
— LEAD 2017 Parent