Play Fair

Vivian Santora

President & CEO, PowerPlay NYC

As the President & CEO of PowerPlay NYC, I am privileged to lead an organization in which there is a deep commitment to providing access to opportunities for girls in sports, particularly those living in communities of concentrated poverty, to build their self-esteem, courage, and self-efficacy.

We know sport – movement – play – are accelerators for leadership development. When the playing field is leveled and when girls get to play, they develop critical life-skills such as teamwork, goal setting, resilience, grit and communication. Growth in these capacity areas helps a young girl
thrive.

My mother who is now 85, used to play basketball in college when girls were only allowed to play half-court for fear that they may over exert themselves! Can you imagine? She was my first teacher and my first cheerleader. Growing up, I was both — a basketball player and a cheerleader. I also played soccer, field hockey, and loved to dance. Admittedly, I was no ‘star athlete’ (definitely didn’t earn a scholarship) but I felt strong, learned from my teammates and felt empowered. I ran for student council positions and wasn’t afraid to speak my mind. All of this helped shape who I am today and why I chose to focus my energy on supporting women and girls.