South Asian Woman In Sports: ESPN’s Pooja Kobawala Van Dyke

Pooja ESPN

For a few months, BG writers have been participating in a Twitter chat dedicated to raising awareness about South Asian Women in Sports, organized every second Wednesday of the month by Neha Contractor. In April, she conducted an interview with Pooja Kobawala Van Dyke, an influential South Asian woman in the entertainment and sports industry. The monthly Twitter chats are a great way for us to connect with many engaging and motivated individuals! Join us on Wed., May 14 for the next chat, “Power of Social Media,” at 9 p.m. EST.

by Neha Contractor

Originally appeared on South Asian Women in Sports:

After a couple months of topics for our South Asian women in sports community, I decided to change it up and bring a different format to the chat.  An individual who is in the industry and well versed for a number of years was brought in to bring a different dynamic.  In addition, it gave folks a way to connect with yet another South Asian female in the industry.  She’s been working in the sports industry for almost 10 years!

April’s chat was with Pooja Kobawala Van Dykewho is the senior manager at ESPN CreativeWorks.  The conversation started off with learning more about who and what ESPN CreativeWorks is and does.

The path Pooja took to get to where she is today wouldn’t seem so “traditional” in a  South Asian household.  She has been in the sports industry since college, started off by working for the school paper.

And when asked what sent her down this path, she highlighted something I thought was very important, having family support.  It’s very tough for South Asians to explain why they want to pursue a career in this field.  Though, the more successful “Poojas” we have in the world the more success we’ll have as a community.

Not only did her success come from having support at home but also having a platform to prepare her for the real world and learn about the barriers minorities deal with.  That platform was the South Asian Journalists Association.

On those similar lines, when asked to tell us about other women focused platforms or conferences that we as women can tune into at ESPN for inspiration, Pooja responded with this:

There is also the very powerful espnW Summit hosted every year for the last four years where females in the sports industry come together to share stories, ideas, and empower one another to become successful.  This chat is doing the same on a smaller scale, it’s about looking after one another, sharing experiences and ideas on a platform everyone can go to.

And finally, Pooja talked about how she attended SXSW this year and how creative the conference has become.

As these chats continue the idea is to get many folks engaged, sharing stories and ideas with one another, and most importantly for everyone to get to know what each other is doing in the industry.

It was delightful chatting with Pooja about her thoughts and experiences in the sports industry!  The next chat is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14 from 9 to 10 PM EST.  Join in using #SAWSports!

Finally, I leave you with a tweet from Pooja that many of us can smile and chuckle about:

Feature Image Source: Pooja Kobawala Van Dyke

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