Get to know Allison Feaster, 2022 Academy of Women Achievers Awardee
On June 15, 2022, we will join together and celebrate the achievements of five unstoppable women who demonstrate YW Boston’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women at our 27th Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon.
Since 1995, as part of our mission to promote and celebrate the achievements of women, YW Boston has held the Academy of Women Achievers luncheon. Through this event, we recognize and honor some of Boston’s brightest, boldest, bravest, and most influential women. Leading up to the event, we are sitting down with each of the 2022 awardees for interviews and releasing one each month.
YW Boston cannot wait to induct Allison Feaster into the Academy of Women Achievers. Allison is the Vice President of Player Development & Organizational Growth for The Boston Celtics, the renowned American professional basketball team. To learn about Allison, read our interview with her:
We are thrilled to honor you at our 27th Academy of Women Achievers on June 15th. Can you please tell us what about YW Boston’s work resonates with you?
I am equally thrilled and humbled to have this honor. I was raised by a woman of color, many of whom were educators, and many other strong women poured into me so that I might have more opportunities both personally and professionally. I am here today because of those commitments, which are in alignment with YW Boston’s mission to create a space where women, people of color, and women of color can succeed.
Tell us about your career path from player to Vice President of Player Development and Personal Growth. What made you interested in player support in particular?
I’ve been super fortunate to have had the career I’ve had both on and off the court. However, my career path from player to currently VP of Player Development & Organizational Growth was certainly not smooth or linear, and I’m thankful it wasn’t. It’s afforded me unique and varied perspectives on life, experiences I believe facilitate a connection with people at any level in the organization. As our players are central to our organization, I felt that I could add value in that space given my personal trajectory.
Throughout your career, you’ve used basketball to make connections with people around the world, such as serving as a Sports Envoy to Burma. Do you see sports as a way to create connection across differences, and if so, why?
I’ve always viewed sports and the values it encompasses as a unique bridge across differences, which is why I’ve always prioritized participating globally in basketball events, especially at the grassroots level. Even when I couldn’t communicate in the native language, I’ve always been able to connect and communicate in the language of sport and basketball: passion, togetherness, unity, team, perseverance, strength, confidence, and love. Those are things you can easily convey without needing to use words. However, their significance and impact across many facets of life are undeniable.'I’ve always viewed sports and the values it encompasses as a unique bridge across differences' - Allison Feaster, 2022 Academy of Women Achievers Awardee Click To Tweet
Tell us about your work as co-chair of the Celtics United Social Justice Initiatives and what changes you’ve seen or been a part of since joining the Celtics?
My work as a co-chair for our organization’s social justice and racial equity work has been super rewarding as it’s an organization-wide collaboration, including investors, players, and staff members. Under the direction of our co-owner Steve Pagliuca and SVP of Community Engagement Dave Hoffman, Boston Celtics United strives to make a dent in the issues that have impacted the Black community as a result of the nation’s long-term history of systemic racism. As a community organization, we acknowledge our commitment to our players, the communities they represent individually, and most importantly, the Greater Boston community. That commitment includes leveraging our platform to promote change in many areas:
- Our players advocated strongly for the passage of the MA Police Reform Bill.
- We’ve given out a number of $25K grants to black-owned businesses.
- We’ve organized several panel discussions and info sessions geared specifically towards people of color with topics ranging from info around the COVID-19 vaccines to pertinent topics around black maternal health and even mental health & well-being.
- Most recently, our organization came out in support of the MA Raise the Age Legislation which, if passed, would gradually raise the juvenile jurisdiction over several years to include people who are 18, 19, and 20 years old.
While we are proud of the work we are doing as a community organization, we know that there is still much to do. We just want to do our part and stand alongside our players who are brave enough to be at the forefront of these conversations around social justice & racial equity.
Where do you want to see the NBA, and professional sports in general, grow in support of racial and gender equity?
Obviously, I’d love to see more racial and gender diversity, and a more equitable representation across the board. The NBA, from a league office perspective and team perspective, is focused on creating opportunities for diverse voices and committed to developing young talent. At the end of the day, you want to see hiring practices and final decisions being made that tend towards the inclusion of diverse voices.
What advice do you have for women striving for equity in industries where they aren’t typically represented?
I’m proud to say I was coached by a woman who fought and is still fighting for equity so that other women might have a seat at the table. My advice would be encouragement and gratitude: continue to be fearless; continue to set an example for others. There is so much strength in the examples set by those striving for equity: the United States Women’s National Soccer Team; Kathy Delaney-Smith, the Ivy League’s all-time winningest coach in any sport, WNBA players, and many others. Be fearless and be the bosses you are because some young girl or woman will reap the benefits of that fight. That is motivation and reason enough for me!'Be fearless and be the bosses you are because some young girl or woman will reap the benefits of that fight.' - Allison Feaster, 2022 Academy of Women Achievers Awardee Click To Tweet
Learn more from Allison Feaster at our 27th Annual Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.