Include and Empower: In order to welcome all ideas and persons into her Florida State University Athletics team, Vanessa Fuchs has crafted a leadership style that is both “inclusive and empowering.” “I value relationships, diversity, innovation, development, teamwork and having fun.” Fuchs’ commitment to building this type of environment has moved her department forward and earned her the respect and buy-in necessary to deliver the kind of support her student-athletes need.
Fuchs adds, “Those that believe they can and those that believe they can’t are both right.” Fuchs believes she can, but stresses the importance of utilizing talents and abilities of the whole staff rather than simply relying on her own expertise. Together, the FSU team employs a student-first philosophy, checking to make sure all they do is in the best interest of the those they serve. All ideas are valuable when they help advocate for students.
Fuchs intimately understands the needs of those student-athletes because she was one. “I had a phenomenal experience as a college student-athlete and it was that experience that led me to dedicate my life to serving and supporting future generations of collegiate athletes as an athletics administrator. The life-long skills gained as a result of my participation in sports have had a tremendous impact on my career: teamwork, communication, relationships, accountability, performing under pressure, work ethic, how to be coachable and leading within your role.”
And now that Vanessa Fuchs has found her place on a college campus, she gets to put those experiences to the test. Her presence there means daily interactions with students and a way to directly impact their lives. She makes sure she passes along the lessons she’s learned not only in her role at FSU, but also during her previous tenure with the NCAA. She refers back to a career-long dedication towards advocacy. Seeking out and providing leadership opportunities for all – especially underserved women and minorities – is paramount in Fuchs’ eyes and remains a key driver in how she approaches those she mentors.
Florida State AD Stan Wilcox recognizes this commitment, “Vanessa is passionate about student-athlete development, promotes a culture of diversity and inclusion, and works tirelessly to ensure our staff and coaches have the tools necessary for success in the hyper-competitive, constantly-evolving world of college athletics.”
We see this as a necessary component to the future of athletics, and we believe Fuchs is an ideal representative, personifying the success such efforts can yield. We are proud to award her excellence as a NEXT UP honoree.