“My drive was really molded at Howard University. It’s an HBCU; it was like-minded individuals that really have the same mission of bettering our community and bettering the underserved communities and really being a voice for them when they can’t be a voice for themselves. That truly translates into what I do today.” -Jocelyn Gates
Jocelyn Gates strives to be a voice for student-athletes and LEAD WITH A HEART TO SERVE in her position as Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at Boston College. She embraces her job with enthusiasm and encouragement for those around her, many of whom may not have had much say in the direction of their own lives.
“I am here for every student-athlete, there is a special place in my heart for the student-athletes of color. I feel like I need to be a voice for them and young administrators of color. They need to see a face like their own in administration and know they can do it too,” Gates explains.
Gates started her career in the sports industry as a diversity and inclusion intern at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. She moved to Duke University in 2009 and made major strides as Assistant Director for Athletic Development. Before landeing at Boston College in 2017, she served as the University of South Florida’s Senior Associate Athletic Director and SWA.
“Nothing is below me and nothing is above me,” Gates says. “I learned a lot from Kevin White at Duke. He is positive, transparent and kind. I believe that is the best way to motivate others. I like to approach from a humanistic standpoint, remembering that everyone will receive things differently. You need to flex to how they receive feedback, but also be positive. Positivity is like wildfire; it spreads to everything it touches.”
Gates’ attitude is infectious, and she has served as a voice for many. She is a member of various athletic associations such as the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA) and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA), and she is a graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute. She uses her position to impact those around her and make sure they understand they are being heard.
“Success for me is the happiness and satisfaction of our student-athletes, staff and coaches. I’m in this role because of them; everything I do is for them. If they are having a good experience, then we are all successful and all doing better.”
The success of others is what makes Gate’s job worthwhile, she wants the people around her to measure up to their full potential. Hopefully, they will take their success, use it to help others along the way, and maybe avoid the bumps in the road she’s had to endure.
“I had a real challenge early on in my career. I accepted a position that I worked so hard for and was basically put at a receptionist desk, which was not the position I accepted. My confidence was low, but I had people to turn to. I was able to vent and seek advice. I worked hard and then circumstances changed and I was elevated and taken seriously. It was a tough situation, but I was able to turn to my champions to help me through it. That’s what I want to be for others, a champion.”
Gates believes in lifting people up through encouragement and example and uses her voice and accomplishments to make others believe in themselves. We are thrilled to have Jocelyn Gates as a NEXT UP honoree.