Featuring 2020 Women of Inspiration Honoree: Sara Wegmann
Founder and President
Her Next Play
WISE Twin Cities is celebrating Sara Wegmann, Founder and President of Her Next Play, as one of this year’s 2020 Women of Inspiration honorees.
Inspiration is a funny thing. It’s one of only a handful of feelings that can simultaneously be both felt and evoked in the same moment. By the same individual. We see this in Sara Wegmann and her story. She’s inspiring others through her work, yet finds herself inspired by the young leaders she has provided opportunities.
Wegmann founded Her Next Play with Audra Emerson on the mission to develop the next generation of women leaders through sports. Her role as president perfectly combines three of her passions: equity for girls and women, the transformational power of sports and the career potential of young people.
The Twin Cities non-profit has experienced an incredible reaction from the community and growth levels that exceeded expectations in its 18 months of serving. Wegmann attributes this to the unique challenge Her Next Play tackles.
“There’s not really anyone else as focused on leadership and career development for female athletes,” said Wegmann. “There’s definitely organizations that are focused on helping athletes transition in their careers, and there’s organizations focused on girls in sport, but there’s not necessarily anyone that’s like us. We work across sports. And, we work starting in middle school all the way through careers. So, I think we’re a little unique, which is exciting, but, also, there’s so much work to do.”
The work lying ahead falls in line with the goals Wegmann has her sights set on accomplishing.
“For me, the purpose that has run through my career and my life has been advocating for more women leaders,” said Wegmann. “We still have a long way to go and that is what I am going to keep fighting for. I want girls and young women to see themselves represented in every leadership team and have the opportunity to lead at the highest levels.”
Wegmann found her voice as a leader through a journey within herself. She developed confidence through sports and saying yes to opportunities that both scared her and pushed her, but, in the end, helped her grow in leadership. She now helps young women find their own voices.
“I feel strongly that those who are in powerful roles and those who have privilege have a responsibility to use their voice to elevate others,” said Wegmann. “And, that is what I focus on in those moments when I need courage to stand up for something I believe in.”
Through Her Next Play, she has provided countless opportunities to the next generation of female leaders and has instilled a yes you can attitude within them. The non-profit has a junior varsity board for middle school and high school girls, and a varsity board of former college athletes. This structure has literally placed a leadership development experience into these young women’s hands. It has helped drive and develop Her Next Play’s programming to strengthen this experience.
Wegmann finds herself inspired by their potential and the optimism they carry. It’s the impact she’s had on developing female leaders that makes her the proudest.
She has created mentorship and leadership development programs in past roles at Deloitte and Target. She has helped young women through personal mentoring apply to business school. She has helped develop women through the career coaching she did in her role at CareerPrep.
And, while it’s just beginning, she has already made strides in setting up young women for success through launching Her Next Play.
“I’ve been able to help develop young leaders, and see them go on to lead in incredible ways,” said Wegmann. “I have this folder of notes I’ve received from young women who I’ve helped in different ways, and I re-read them when I need some inspiration. I’m really proud I’ve been able to be a small part of their leadership journeys.”