By Bryna Jean-Marie
Sports Illustrated and Empower Onyx are putting the spotlight on the diverse journeys of Black women across sports—from the veteran athletes, to up-and-coming stars, coaches, executives and more—in the series, Elle-evate: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.
If the pandemic has taught former college volleyball coach and Division II athlete Jen Fry anything, it’s how to improvise.
During a recent presentation to a group of physical education coaches at The Dalton School in New York City via Zoom, Fry’s internet went out, so she quickly employed the so-called flip technique, when you turn your phone screen toward your laptop so that the audience can see your PowerPoint slides. Many of us can relate to disruptive and untimely tech snafus. But this one was an opportunity for Fry to continue to master what she does best—stretch herself and others beyond boundaries, to embrace change. Particularly when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), as a social-justice educator and owner and CEO of her educational support and consulting firm, JenFryTalks.
“It was just one of those things that I had to figure out somehow,” says Fry, who tweeted a picture of her emergency setup. There are no obstacles between Fry and her mission to help build stronger and more effective administrative social environments. It trickles down from the top. The admin starts the ball rolling to make a difference. “When I present [it is important] to make sure I talk to the people in power first, because if they don't have the conversations, no one else can do it,” she says. “So it needs to be the people in power doing the learning, because they are also the ones that have the ability to create the most harm.”