Stephanie Jackson: First Director of Diversity for USA Hockey
Stephanie Jackson sat with Darren Brown-Hall for three hours at a Buffalo-area restaurant reviewing how USA Hockey responded to the racist taunting that his son, Roshaun, endured during a Western New York youth hockey game in January 2019.
"She was asking us a lot of probing questions about what do we think would have been more helpful in getting resolution quicker," Brown-Hall said of the meeting last October. "It meant a lot just knowing that they're trying to do something, and she specifically, to prevent what my son had to go through from any other child having to go through that while they're trying to play a sport they love."
Jackson said her inaugural year as USA Hockey's first director of diversity and inclusion has been a listening tour of sorts, learning how the nation's hockey governing body works internally and how it's perceived beyond its Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Plymouth, Michigan, headquarters, particularly among underrepresented-but-growing hockey communities.
"Over this year my primary focus has just been working within USA Hockey to see where the needs are, where the gaps are, where the opportunities are," said Jackson, who joined the organization last June from Nike, where she worked in diversity and inclusion communications.
Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey, said he's impressed by what Jackson has brought to the organization as it tries to keep pace with the sport's increasing diversity.
"Stephanie has created a whole other network and brings back more information of what people are seeing and hearing and experiencing on the grass-roots levels," Kelleher said. "That's been very impactful for USA Hockey to understand that better."
Kim Davis, NHL executive vice president of social impact, growth and legislative affairs, and one of the highest-ranking black women in professional sports, said Jackson has been "a knowledgeable 'connector' who is working diligently within the youth hockey system to demonstrate why diversity and inclusion is relevant to everyone across the organization."
"Stephanie's steadfast efforts to encourage others to demonstrate the values of inclusion and respect in their day-to-day interactions will hopefully reveal over time how the youth hockey culture can shift in a meaningful and positive way," she said.
Learn More: Jackson Focused on Long Term Change