Racial and Social Justice in the ACC, with Mary McElroy

Mary McElroy is the Senior Associate Commissioner of Women’s Basketball at the ACC, and she’s now the chair of CORE (Champions of Racial Equity), the ACC’s racial and social justice task force. Learn more about Mary’s career story — which includes being the only one in the room in many situations – and what the ACC is doing to address racial inequality and tension in our country.

Mary McElroy ACC with Dr Debby Stroman on If You Only Knew Podcast

Dr Debby Stroman: Well, hello there, Mary.

Mary McElroy: Hi, Debby, how are you?

Dr Debby Stroman: Welcome to If You Only Knew, and I appreciate having the ACC Women’s Basketball commissioner with me today for a very, very enjoyable fun conversation, but I was looking at the clock here, we’ve got 15 months since you joined us in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

So I want to go back to when it all started. Tell me about where it started, how it happened and what brought you to sports and this stage.

Mary McElroy: Oh, okay. You want to go way back? Okay. Gosh, my mother participated in sports and so, and I had a big family, she took us out to the softball field one day and taught us to play. I was in second grade at the time. So it was us, it was our family and then some other kids from the neighborhood. I’ve been an athlete ever since, and she played into her forties. I’m still playing in my fifties. Softball was my first sport. Then I learned, so I played that all through elementary school and middle school.

Then I picked up basketball in high school, in ninth grade, we had nine through 12 high school, picked up basketball in ninth grade, picked up volleyball in 11th.

Dr Debby Stroman: I’m gonna let you get off that quickly with the family. I understand you have a large family.

Mary McElroy: I do. I do. I am one of eight children. I have four brothers and three sisters and I was raised Catholic. That will help explain some of the size of the family. It was great growing up in the household with that many siblings and two parents that just were great role models and taught us the value of hard work and perseverance and education.

Dr Debby Stroman: Wow. We’re pretty similar. I’ve grew up in a family of five and definitely think that I was probably the most competitive with my sports.

Now, did you, were you super competitive? What type of athlete were you? Were you nice to your family members or the neighborhood kids?

Mary McElroy: No. No, just kidding. No, I was, I was and remain very competitive. I admit that, I do, when I get on that softball field, I wouldn’t say I’m a different person, but I’m all business.

I want to play. I want to win and I want us to play well, but no, I’m not ruthless, but I do want to win. Yeah. I learned the good things that obviously we learned from playing sports is teamwork and putting other people’s needs and the team’s goals first. So I did learn those things at an early age for that, but I did also learn that competitiveness too. I must confess.

Dr Debby Stroman: Now does that show up in other aspects of your life? Are you super competitive? I have friends who say, Debbie, you are really, really competitive. And I’m like, what do you mean? But when we play games and things, I want to win.

Mary McElroy: Yeah. Game, board games, game shows. I love all game shows. Diehards go-tos are Family Feud and I like America Says, that’s the new show that’s on now. I just like playing and I’m I’m into trivia and things like that. And then yes, in life I want to do well. I very much am a Type A personality. I like to do things well. I like to be a leader.

I’m aware of my position generally at all times, and a lot of times I’ve been a trailblazer, and didn’t set out to be one, it happens. It just so happens. And I look around and go, wow, man, I’m the only woman in this room. I’m the only Black in this room, but at the same time, I just try to do my work and perform so that people see the quality of the work product.

Judge me on that. Therefore that opens the door for others who look like me and think like me to come behind me. If I have the opportunity, I can reach back and pull them up with me because I think that is imperative, that we all do that when we get the opportunity, it’s not enough for us to just be there.

Somebody does have to always be first. I’m not always first. Sometimes I’m the beneficiary of other people from before me, but I’ve always felt compelled to reach back and pull others up with me.

Dr Debby Stroman: Thank you very, very admirable. And let’s think about some of those people who helped to pour into your life before we get to your military career, how about, were there any teachers or coaches at a young age who were really influential for you that you still remember how they touched your life?

Mary McElroy: Oh yeah. My mother, of course, generally Black women, we always look up to our moms because they are strong and they show us the way, I also had great elementary school teachers.

I remember Miss Bisco. A lot of people say Brisco, but she had had no R. Miss Bisco. My first grade teacher, I just had a love of learning and reading and she just, she fed that and just made me a voracious reader. I don’t read as much as I used to. I do have a love of reading.

Brenda Henley was my basketball coach and my volleyball coach in high school.

I’m still very close to her. In fact, I invited her to come as my guest to the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament this year, because I wanted her to experience that with me this year, because she made that possible. She actually was very instrumental in me going to the Naval Academy because I was applying and I was about to quit and she said, don’t quit, finish the process because you always wonder if you could have gone to the Naval Academy. I finished the process, I got in and I went, I had a great life as a result, and I’ve always let her know that and reminded her of that.

Dr Debby Stroman: That is unique. I don’t think many young black boys and girls grow up thinking about going to a military academy unless they’ve had military in their family, and certainly to go to Navy.

So what was the connection with Navy? Why Navy?

Mary McElroy: I had no connection with Navy. I actually had a little, not the Naval Academy per se. I grew up in Lexington Park, Maryland, and there was a big naval base there. The Tuckson River Naval Air Station. You got to say it slowly. They have a program on base called the PEX 10 program.

I think they still have it. What it does is, it’s a partnership between them and Tennessee State University. I was looking into that program and what afforded me the opportunity to get a college education free of charge. And then I’ll have to come back and work on the base. I mean, that was a win win, because that was the major employer in our area.

If you had a job on base, you were determined to have made it. So I was looking at potentially working on base and then getting a college education free of charge as well. I am first generation. I’m the first person in my family to go to college. My family didn’t have money to pay for college.

I saw some people with their picture in the newspaper for getting appointments to the service academies. I read the article, and I was like, I have good grades. I played three sports. Let me look into this. So I did. I ended up applying my senior year and by the time I applied, four other guys had already applied and gotten in, only one of them out ranked me, our valedictorian, since they had already taken up all the appointments, I had the opportunity to either go to regular college and reapply, or I can go to the Naval Academy prep school, graduate from there, and then I’d get an automatic appointment to the Naval Academy. I chose the short thing and I went to prep school for a year.

Then I went to the Academy.

Dr Debby Stroman: I know the experience was challenging, but it was also very, very rewarding, being in the sports business space and connected with the ACC I’ve had do research and really, really wonderful to find out the connection between Notre Dame playing Navy every year in football. A lot of people wonder, you know, is it just because of the prestige of the Naval Academy. In fact, I’ll let you tell that story in terms of why big ol’ ND plays Navy.

Mary McElroy: Yeah, I think it was World War I, and Notre Dame, they were struggling and they were about to go under, they reached out to the service academies and maybe in particular to see if they would be interested in playing them.

And that was back when Navy was good. The Navy had two, lot of people don’t know if a Navy had two heisman trophy winners in Joe Bellino from, I think he was class of ’61 and Roger Staubach class of ’63, Navy was really good. And as a result of them entering into this partnership with Notre Dame, they saved Notre Dame and to express the gratitude Notre Dame said we will always play for you, unfortunately, you know, COVID’s gonna break that streak. I think it’s like a, it’s over a hundred games, a hundred years in a row. Oh, well, no, it can’t be because that was, that would have been 32. But anyway, it’s significant. It’s an unbroken streak, but it looks like this year will be the first time in a long time that they won’t have the rivalry.

They did extend it into 2032 to make up for it.

Dr Debby Stroman: Yeah, I think that’s just a beautiful story. When you think about military academies, then you think about loyalty and tradition and here’s one that is still alive today that Notre Dame will never forget how Navy helped them survive during a very difficult time.

Thank you for sharing that. So the Naval Academy and with all of the demands of being a cadet and then playing sports on top of that, and there you go off into life after, I guess you call it undergrad at an Academy?

Mary McElroy: Yeah, we just refer to it as the Academy. So life after the Yard.

Dr Debby Stroman: Okay. You start your journey. More military work and then eventually you move into athletic administration.

Tell us a little bit from that transition from the Yard and then into your business world.

Mary McElroy:  I joke that I’m the Black female Forrest Gump, because I kind of have fallen into these opportunities in my life just by being in the right place at the right time that opportunity meets preparation is what luck is.

When I was looking to get off active duty in the military, my husband got assigned to the Naval Academy and I had the opportunity, I was going to pursue a job in DC or Baltimore or something. I was like, okay, I’ll find something. Luckily, I had kept in touch with my basketball coach, Dave Smalley, and we would always check in, I check in with him anytime I was on the Yard. We swung by there one particular time and I let him know that we were coming back to Annapolis, asked him if he knew of any opportunities and just so happened that he was looking for an assistant compliance coordinator. He encouraged me to apply for the job. He hired me and gave me my start in athletics.

I worked there for a bit, some promotions and Jack Lingal was the athletic director at the time. Jack was very, very good at his job. Very good at what he does, challenged me a lot and helped me to grow. That’s how I made the transition into athletics from the military. So very fortunate to have been the beneficiary of Coach Smalley, for a couple of times, taught me more about the game of women’s basketball and then gave me my first shot on the administrative side.

Dr Debby Stroman: Definitely were very thankful as well for your transition over to sport administration on the collegiate level. We’re very similar being the first female or first African American in these boardrooms, various meetings and strategies, and it inspires me. And I’m sure it does the same for you in the sense of us thinking about whose shoulders we stand on.

Here you are, women’s basketball commissioner for the ACC. The first thing I have to ask you, did you know about how rabid we are about basketball in the state of North Carolina and the ACC? Did you have ideas about that?

Mary McElroy: 2001 was when I first got exposed to it because I was at Georgia Tech. I was working in their athletic department and so Georgia Tech being a member of the ACC, but 2001 was when I got into senior level administration there and got to get it up close and personal, but no, I did not grow up in it. Well, to a certain extent when I was at the Academy I saw it a little bit from a distance because I happened to be a classmate of David Robinson’s. That was back when Navy went to the Elite Eight that year. And what a great time that was for them to go up against Duke, have a shot at advancing to the Final Four, if they could just get past Duke, that kind of came to me, but no, it’s still different seeing it from the inside. It is something, as we put together things that showcase the whole conference, we might put together a video and it will include people from all the conference, all 15 schools.

Some of our institutions will not play that video. I’m like, oh my goodness. That is really strong. You know? Here’s a person coming from the Army-Navy rivalry, which that’s blood sport for us. And I’m like, really? You won’t even put that? Then we have to relent sometimes, you can make another video or something like that, but it’s something that’s, this competitiveness is good, but it makes us better, makes our team better.

Gives us a stronger footing. When we go to compete against non-conference competition.

Dr Debby Stroman: Well, you’re being very, very polite, cause it is very much like that. Having my experience with Virginia and North Carolina and then working in the Triangle with Duke, NC State and Carolina just watching some people and especially if, like you, if they’ve been to other universities and you understand that every university has great, good athletics.

Then you come and you realize it’s such an intense place. You can’t even relax. Sometimes you can’t even enjoy your meal because somebody has got to put something in there or some game where somebody felt that they were cheated or done wrong. Okay, talk about your first season, your first season in ACC Women’s Basketball, we’ll talk about how the Rona, Coronavirus, certainly put a little damper on things, so talk about your first season.

Mary McElroy: Yeah. Oh man. It was, it was a lot of fun, a lot of firsts. It happened to be the first year that the ACC Women’s Basketball schools played an 18 game schedule. that was good.

We break it down into regions. We have three different regions, a North, a Central and a South region. What you do is you play the schools in your region, the four other schools in your region, you play them home and away, and you play the other 10 schools. You play five of them home and five away.

It makes for a fairly balanced schedule and a very competitive schedule. We really had some great games this year, and I am looking forward to some really good competition this year as well. It was also the first year that the ACC Network came into being, that was really neat to see that we be stood up and see it go so well.

That was really fun. then at the tournament, it was a great tournament, very competitive. The number of upsets made it so compelling. Just must see TV. At the championship game, we had Florida State and got past Louisville. NC State, forget who they beat, Florida State-NC State playing for the championship, neither of their coaches has ever won an ACC Women’s Basketball Championship before.

Whoever won, it was going to be their first ACC Women’s Basketball Championship. That was awesome as well. A lot of fun, just a lot of great atmosphere in there. Brad Hecker and Kelsey Harris are just great partners in this, and Debbie Williamson, she’s in charge of our officials, and Tommy Solerno who helps us as well.

Even Charlene Curtis came back, we brought her out of retirement for one of the days, but it was, yeah, it was a great team. And then all of our volunteers, we got people coming in from Carolina. Actually, we had Sharon Terry from Carolina. We’ve had people from Wake Forest as well. It’s a great atmosphere there.

I look forward to it.

Dr Debby Stroman: Yeah, it’s really special. I know I’m from outside of Philadelphia when I first came here. I heard about the young children rolling in the television sets to watch ACC Men’s Basketball, and then to be affiliated with ACC Women’s Basketball and seeing the days where the little ones come and they’re screaming, and they don’t even know who’s scoring a basket, but if something exciting happens, it’s just a great atmosphere for the Triangle region, for the Triad.

Or our entire state. we appreciate what you’re doing to advance it because certainly the work of Bernadette McGlade and Norlene Finch was wonderful. And to be able to pass the time, but someone looking for even more innovation. So that’s a wonderful thing.

Don’t forget Dee Todd. I always leave her off because Bernie and Norm Orlin.

And I am, I am forever in both of their debts. Bernie is one of the people that I give credit to for helping with my career as do I give credit to Dee Todd, even John Swafford, even when I was at Georgia Tech, he picked me to succeed Bernie McGlade on the management council. That was very flattering for me, but Dee actually helped manage the Women’s Basketball Championship before it was broken out as a separate entity.

I always forget that she did a great job with it as well. I would a very big debt of gratitude to those three ladies. Yeah, thank you for mentioning Dee Todd, her history with the ACC and Commissioner Swafford we go back to our days of Virginia and then I followed him to Chapel Hill, but certainly he made a very bold and courageous move to hire Dee Todd, African American woman to break the color barrier, I guess you could say, for the conference.

Thank you for acknowledging that, but it is Coronavirus time. Health and safety, you know, what are your thoughts? What can we do? Is there anything else we can do to protect our athletes and our coaches and anybody affiliated with college sports in the league?

Mary McElroy: Yeah, we are committed to their health and safety.

We are mining our P’s and Q’s and taking our cues in particular from our medical action group, that’s composed of the doctors from every ACC institution. That’s the expertise of 15 different doctors who are committed to their craft. And as I said, we are all committed to the health and safety of our student athletes, and don’t want to put them in any situations that are going to put them in an undue risk. I mean, we acknowledge that life happens and we can’t guarantee that we won’t have anybody come down with it, but we are poised to make sure that we minimize the impact as much as possible in that we minimize the incidents of Coronavirus by doing what we can to encourage people to wear a mask, having a great testing protocol, limiting the amount of, or the number of people who interact with, or on a regular basis with our student athletes.

Right now, we don’t know what the final decision will be on whether we have fans or not. But if we do have fans in attendance, they will not be up close and personal with our student athletes, we will have them in as much of a bubble as we can either a real or a virtual bubble, that is in their best interests, and that will allow them to stay healthy and then increase our opportunity to get through the full season despite Coronavirus. I just don’t understand what people’s aversion to wearing these masks. It’s like, come on. It’s really in the grand scheme of things, a very small sacrifice for the freedoms that we would give up if we can’t get a hold of this virus and get it under control, social distancing, wear those masks, respect each other’s space and privacy, and then we can get out of this, you know, let’s not make these things bigger than they are, and certainly not make them flourish.

Certainly. I was doing some research recently around that tried and true model around grief. The first step is that denial piece. I think a lot of people are still in denial in terms of what’s happening and whether or not a mask will work and whether or not vaccinations make any sense. There’s a lot of denial, which stems from a lack of education.

Hopefully the more of us who will model the proper behaviors and the attitudes around this, that we can get more people to understand that we’re all in this together. To your point, there has to be a sacrifice if we’re talking about our entire country, whether we’re talking about sports or not, I want to go back to the piece around Dee Todd, because it was actually Dean Corrigan.

Dr Debby Stroman: Dean Corrigan, who was my athletic director at Virginia, spent time at Notre Dame as well, who made that hire for Dee Todd, which broke the color barrier. And then John Swafford, where we met at Virginia and he moved on. His Alma Mater at UNC and I followed him, but I wanted to make sure that we lift up Mr. Corrigan, may he rest in peace and power, and John Swafford in terms of recently.

Mary McElroy: I mean, the ACC has had such great role models. Gosh, even Commissioner Weaver before him, and James, the Weaver James Corrigan scholarship. It’ll be interesting to see what we name after John Swafford to ensure his legacy in the ACC. I try not to think about it on a day to day basis, but with him already stating that this is going to be his last year as commissioner of the ACC, everything that we do this year with him will be bittersweet because we know it will be the last.

And then with regard to coronavirus, we were fortunate that we got through with the women’s basketball tournament. My heart went out to the men’s basketball players and student athletes of the other spring sports that were not able to get through their championships.

Dr Debby Stroman: No doubt. In fact, that’s one of the more bittersweet things about this year and what’s going on with the Coronvirus being able to send off Commissioner Swafford in the way that we would like to, and that we might have to do all this virtually and I’m sure there’ll be private receptions and things, but private reception with a mask just doesn’t speak to the  way that we should acknowledge his work. Let’s talk about the other issue, we’ve got the COVID-19 and then we’ve got social justice, and NBA with their billions, they’ve been able to do some things that just about no other sport can do. And NHL possibly, but to be able to create your own facility, do two contracts, management, labor to “force the guys” to come in and play. Now you can opt out and many did, but that’s very, very unique. Let’s talk about college sports and what are the possibilities and terms of social justice in this pandemic time period.

Mary McElroy: Oh gosh, they are somewhat limited, but we are embracing it. I’m the head of, I happen to be tasked with chairing the ACC racial and social justice, and we go by the moniker of core, C-O-R-E, which stands for Champions of Racial Equity.

I have a cadre of 46, 47 people, we are working together to move this needle forward. We want to make meaningful and lasting change, and the ACC wants to be part of meaningful and lasting change. I mean, the commissioner came out very strongly when this Mr. Floyd was murdered to say that racism has no place in society and certainly not within athletics.

I’m very happy to be on his team with someone who would come out that strongly with a statement. And then he took the further step to establish this committee and gave us the authority to come up with some ideas of how we work, things we can do to help move these issues forward. One of the things we did right away was recognized Juneteenth as a conference holiday and bring attention to that.

We are working with our schools on voting initiatives, because the right to vote is a sacred, right, and as the late John Lewis would a-test to, he was willing to die for people to have that right. For us to see Mr. Floyd be murdered as he was in broad daylight, on camera, it just awakened in a lot of people, the commitment to do something, to get this issue addressed significantly and in a meaningful and lasting way.

We have tackled these issues somewhat before. We’ve still not made as much progress as some of us would like this country and this world to have made. But if it feels different this time, because we’re able to say things like Black Lives Matter, and it used to be just a couple months ago, if you even uttered those three words, you were labeled as a militant, but it’s like, no, you’re not being militant by saying those words, you are being compassionate by saying those words because, and it’s everybody wants to point out it’s not saying that only Black Lives Matter. It’s saying that Black Lives Matter, too.

Because clearly some people don’t seem to get that, because they just want to dismiss these, especially Black men, as disposable. Well, they’re not, they are valued human beings and they are fathers, they are brothers, they are husbands, either way, they are loved. Someone loves them and someone values their life and we should all value them.

We should all value each other’s lives. Our committee is talking about things like that. We’re initiating conversations, talking about holding all of our institutions accountable for their hiring practices, in terms of diversity, to include whatever group, whatever category you want to put people in.

Especially with regard to your race and gender, we’re also looking at that are search committees and our candidate pools are diverse. Let’s talk about those kinds of things. Let’s talk about unconscious bias, we hesitate to talk about White privilege because it puts people on the defensive, but I’m reading a book right now called Me and White Supremacy that talks about, let’s talk then, instead of saying White privilege, let’s say the benefit of the doubt that White people get that other people don’t get. When you’re a doctor or your patient, say you’re a patient, a white patient sitting in a waiting room waiting for the doctor, or in the treatment room waiting for your doctor to come in, let’s say, this is your first time at that doctor. And you don’t know what he or she looks like, if a Black doctor walks into that office, why would you even have a thought in your mind of wondering what are his or her credentials? Do you have that same thought when a White doctor walks through the door?

No. You give them the benefit of the doubt that they are well versed in their training to be a medical professional. So we’re just saying that want whatever color, whatever gender for people to be given the benefit of the doubt and being able to be treated equally and with dignity and respect. In fact, the ACC is initiating a unity statement that will be read at all of our sporting events, it was just voted on today by our athletic directors and that unity statement says, in part, that we are committed to seeing each other as equals, treating each other with dignity and respect, recognizing that our differences do not divide us, but make us stronger.

So at every ACC event, you’re going to hear this and we’re going to have public service announcements. We’re going to have posters with this stuff put on it. So we are making a visible Testament to our commitment to seeing people as equals and doing what we can to eradicate racism and stop people from being treated differently based on the color of their skin.

It’s time to stop it once and for fall.

Dr Debby Stroman: Well, I’ll tell you, we are very blessed to have your leadership in this space. You sound like me at a workshop. There is no doubt that Black Lives Matter, comma T-O-O, right. White privilege can be disturbing to some people because we have more than 15 million White people who are poor in this country.

But what I can say is that, you might be poor, but it’s not because of the color of your skin. There is relative advantage, whether you are zero income or high income, and we need to have more conversations. And especially when we have young people in athletics, because when you roll that ball out or pick up that athletic equipment, unless there’s just something that is just so wired in you from socialization and conditioning, all you carry, all you think about is my teammate and how we’re going to win the game. We’ll oftentimes use sports becomes that front porch so that we can see the rest of the house. I think really we have a good opportunity in the sport world to lean in, to make some statements and to have people challenge us, because we’re not perfect.

But certainly I think because of the nature of how we work together in a competitive fashion, that it lends itself to us to making a difference.

Mary McElroy: Yeah, exactly. I always look to, I’ve always pointed people’s attention to the Olympics. Every two years, we are all just Americans. We’re not hyphenated Americans anymore.

When that person is competing and they’re wearing that red, white, and blue, we’re pulling for them because they’re an American, we’re not pulling for them because they look like us. You know, we might be pulling stronger for them because they look like us, but we’re pulling for them first and foremost, because they’re an American.

We need to treat each other everyday like that too.

Dr Debby Stroman: Now again, we appreciate you being in the sports world and all the schools that you’ve touched and organizations, but if it weren’t sports, if you had that magic wand, weren’t creating, guiding, speaking, coordinating for ACC Women’s Basketball, sharing your expertise and experience with staff. What would you be doing outside of sport?

Mary McElroy: Oh, my goodness. I can’t think of anything that I would rather would be doing right now, but in all honesty, and at one point in my life, I did want to be a lawyer and I wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t end up pursuing the law because, in my mind at the time I only thought of child law, and in my personality was such that I eliminated it because I said I could never defend someone who I knew was guilty and get them off. I could not live with myself if I were a prosecutor, and I knew someone was, or I suspected very strongly that someone was guilty. And they got off. I couldn’t be able to deal with that.

I kind of abandoned being a lawyer. Then I wanted to be a teacher because I really do enjoy imparting knowledge. I do love learning. In fact, when I was at Temple, I actually taught algebra. I had a lot of people in the athletic department, they reach out, they have a school of sport hospitality and tourism and they have a sport management program. Some athletic department people taught in the sports management program and I’m like, I don’t want to teach sport management. I want to teach math. I reached out to him and I said, hey, you know, I’ve went to the Naval Academy. I took four semesters of calculus.

Can I teach algebra? They said, sure. So I taught a semester of algebra.

Dr Debby Stroman: Wow, that says a lot about you. That’s more a question outside of sports. So what do you do to escape sports, what are some of your hobbies and pastimes?

Mary McElroy:  I like to go to yard sales and consignment stores and find little pieces and then repurpose them, like a couple of weeks ago, I went and found this little, I didn’t know these things even existed, this sewing machine table with the sewing machine in it.

And it actually still has a sewing machine in it, but I bought one of those was only $15 and it was beautiful. I bought it and that brought it up and it’s on my front porch now in the corner and I repainted it. I refinished it and it is gorgeous. The creative side in me likes doing those kinds of things.

And again, like you said, It gets me away from that competitive side that pertains to sport and it just lets me be creative and transform these pieces.

Dr Debby Stroman: Well I’m dating myself, but I remember that sewing machine and used it quite a bit. Now, when it’s all over and you’re sitting in your rocking chair, watching your favorite team play, if you reflect back on your career, what do you want people to remember you for?

Mary McElroy: I’d like them to remember me for, first of all, those times that I was a trailblazer, I didn’t seek out being one. But I didn’t run away from it. I was always committed to paying it forward. I wanted to make the most of the opportunities that I was given, and I wanted to share that largesse with other people and reach back and bring up one of my sisters or brothers so that they could enjoy the fruits of not only my labor into the future, but in real time, and that wouldn’t want to just be content that 10 years after I got a position, yeah, I can speak up for someone. I want to do it in real time. Now, what am I doing now to help someone to get into this profession or to realize their dreams. That’s what I hope for.

Dr Debby Stroman: Thank you. It’s certainly has shown forth in today’s conversation. I thank Mary McElroy, the commissioner of ACC Women’s Basketball for spending time on If You Only Knew. Thanks again, Mary.

Mary McElroy: Thank you, Debby. Bye. Bye.

Full Episode Transcript

If You Only Knew…with Dr. Debby Stroman is edited and produced by Earfluence, and brought to you by The Diversity Movement.

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