After working my way up the ladder in the television sports world—hosting and reporting at some of the greatest events the past two decades—it was time for a change. Even though the change wasn’t by my design, it was still very much needed.
As a successful two-sport athlete growing up in Arkansas, pursuing a career in this industry made perfect sense. By the time I made it to the network level covering golf exclusively, it finally felt as though I had credibility. Why do we as women struggle with our own validity significantly more than our male counterparts?
Golf has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I won my first of four Arkansas Women’s State Championships at the age of 14—still the youngest in state history—and was a two-time AJGA First-Team All-American. But perhaps what I’m most proud of is being the first scholarship player in women’s golf at the University of Arkansas in the post-Title IX era.
My television career included stops in Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, and then Chicago working for the Big Ten Network. But my big break happened in 2014 when I landed what was supposed to be my dream job at Golf Channel. Little did I know how quickly that would all change. As I would soon learn, the misogynistic, boys’ club culture—which had plagued the network from its early days—was still running rampant throughout the company. Unfortunately, many of those in the executive offices and on the management team only perpetuated these deeply-rooted problems.
Soon after making my story public on January 1, 2021, as detailed in the Washington Post, upwards of 30 women reached out to me privately about their own encounters of mistreatment. Sadly, most of these women have been unable to speak out because of Non-Disclosure Agreements they signed after losing their jobs. Others are afraid that voicing their struggles will blackball them in the industry moving forward. Trust me, I understand. Either way, it’s both heartbreaking and infuriating.
My hope is that by revealing these truths in my memoir, Troublemaker, it unites women and brings about change; that the people running companies who repeatedly make unfair decisions toward women and minorities finally get exposed and are forced to change—or cast aside if unwilling to do so; that HR departments around the world become places that protect the employees, not their employers. It’s astonishing how many people lack any sort of faith in their own HR departments to make their work lives better.
I want Troublemaker to serve as a reminder to these persecutors that we aren’t going away. I want it to empower women who’ve been silenced out of fear of losing their jobs to speak up and to do it loudly. As Elie Wiesel so poignantly once said, “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
May we all be (good) “troublemakers” together so that one day books like this will no longer be necessary.