This week on Small Talk, we sat down with boss babe and founder of ‘Girls Talk Sports TV,’ Khristina Williams, to chat about creating work that outlasts us, breaking the stereotypes, and betting on ourselves.
In 2018, Khristina Williams founded ‘Girls Talk Sports TV,’ a digital sports media outlet offering women a voice in the sports media industry.
With a keen passion for storytelling and a double major in journalism and theatre, Khristina searched for an outlet where she could express her talents and give back.
“I’ve always been creative. I went to high school for visual arts, studying both drawing and painting. I was also a theatre kid from middle school all the way into high school. I just always loved the creative side of things and telling stories. As I got older, it kind of just evolved into how I did everything, so when I got to college, studying journalism was a no-brainer.”
Khristina’s passion for creative writing led her to journalism, and with a love for sports, Khristina couldn’t help but merge the two.
“Sports has always been part of my life. I started playing basketball in fifth grade, I played varsity in high school, and when I got to college, I coached a youth girls basketball team. So, for me, it was just a no-brainer to marry those two passions together.”
Having spoken with many Sports Superheroes, we at TrooMe, have come to grasp the level of love and dedication that these athletes commit to their craft. For Khristina, sports were what truly shaped her into the woman she is today.
“Sports absolutely changed my life and saved me in so many ways. It taught me so many life skills, and it also taught me about myself. When I started Girls Talk Sports Tv, it was really because I was trying to pivot my career to return to what I loved, which was journalism and being in and around sports in that capacity. I saw that there was a lack of representation in terms of women being front and centre.”
With women’s digital media outlets being far and few, Khristina knew that the media industry needed what she had to offer. So, Khristina created a platform where female journalists were no longer at the sidelines, and female athletes could amplify their achievements and tell their stories beyond the stats and scores.
“Having candid conversations so people can see and appreciate these athletes in a different light than what they’re used to is so valuable and was definitely a necessity that we were lacking.”
Far and Few
Khristina and her platform have not only given women a voice in the sports media industry but have created a safe space for female journalists to highlight the successes of female athletes. With a platform as necessary as Girls Talk Sports TV, we are left to question, why aren’t there more like it?
“When we look at the sports industry, it's male-dominated and male saturated. So, when it comes to women’s sports media coverage, there’s an inequity of coverage. But I believe that these women, who are in the 1% of the top athletes in the world, deserve to have their stories told too. They are breaking down barriers both in sports and in culture, and they deserve their names to be cemented in history just as any other athlete.”
Women sports receive less than 4% of all media coverage, and only 1% of sponsorship dollars, making it difficult for female athletes to feel heard and appreciated. Girls Talk Sports TV gives these well-deserved women a voice and recognition for the waves that these athletes are making within the industry and around the world.
“We deserve for people to know who we are.”
Struggles and Stumbles
Having vulnerably quoted, ‘I created this platform because as a former student-athlete with a journalism degree, I found it hard to break into the sports broadcasting industry. We wanted to know some of the struggles Khristina faced and the importance of being vulnerable.
“There will always be some micro-aggressions that people of color face when breaking into any industry. You also have to face a lack of access. I came from entertainment and fashion. In that industry, particularly, I remember being on red carpets, and ‘Black Media,’ as they call it, is all the way at the end of the carpet, and you can barely get interviews. So, really creating a platform that provided consistent coverage and could break that narrative of the stereotypes placed on black journalists or black media outlets was important for me as well.”
We often disregard the many difficulties and trials faced before we are acknowledged and appreciated for our voices, talents, and our place in the world. Everyone has barriers to break through, but it is through breaking that we rebuild ourselves stronger than before.
In being vulnerable, Khristina has granted a safe space for others to relate, connect, and overcome.
“I think being vulnerable is so important. You never know who you may inspire, and you never know who’s watching. I think that in any success story, failures are going to be a part of it. But you have to fail upwards. In being vulnerable about those experiences, one, it can help someone else, and two, you never know how it can help free you from any guilt you may have held onto along the way.”
As mentioned in our conversation with Kevin Love, when we share our stories and our truths with the world, we end up letting go and breaking free of the chains that once held us down.
“This industry is a tough one, and there are lots of highs and lows. So, I feel like having a great support system, and sharing your experiences with others along the way, is very helpful.”
Shift the Narrative
Khristina Williams started ‘Girls Talk Sports TV’ on her own, with no guarantee and many forces pushing against her.
Far too often, we possess an ‘I’m just me’ mindset, thinking that our actions and intentions won’t make a notable impact.
Once we begin to shift our inner narratives, we commonly come to find that even though I’m just me, and you’re just you, our potential for what we can achieve is limitless.
“I started Girls Talk Sports TV as a way of creating a solution to a problem that I saw. But I absolutely could not have done that without the support of people around me and the people within my network. Yes, the idea started with me, but the bigger impact and the bigger goal was to make a difference or shift the culture in such a way so that women who come after me don’t have to go through the same things I went through.”
It starts with an idea, and through believing in ourselves and taking that first step towards our vision, we create the momentum needed for our journeys. By following the voice in her head and the dream in her heart, Khristina connected with the people needed to turn her dream into a reality.
“I think that it’s important to get out of that ‘me’ mindset and realize that it's bigger than yourself. And whether I see a change in my lifetime or if it’s years after, I will just be satisfied that I impacted one person. It’s really about that one person who may be impacted along the way and creating work that outlasts you.”
When we act from a place of contribution, setting our sights on what is bigger than ourselves and our own wants and needs, our services will spread far and wide like ripples in a pond.
As quoted by Rosa Parks, "Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others."
Gift of Giving
They say that giving is the greatest gift we can receive. For all that Khristina Williams has given to both female journalists and athletes, we wanted to know how this gift of giving has given back to her in ways she maybe wouldn’t have imagined.
“It’s given back to me in so many ways. Being able to highlight the work of other female journalists and female athletes has been such a gift. Even just meeting other people in the industry, building new relationships, creating new opportunities to grow and amplify and continue this mission of wanting to shift the culture in sports media coverage, has been such an unforgettable journey.”
Having made the Forbes 30 under 30 list only two years after starting ‘Girls Talk Sports TV’ is a reward in and of itself. But, for Khristina, being rewarded this title served as much more than a personal achievement.
“Making that Forbes 30 under 30 list was definitely something that I’m proud of. It kind of cemented the work that I’m doing in this industry. Girls Talk Sports is here to stay, it matters, and it’s making a difference.”
Starting with five followers on Instagram and overcoming multiple challenges since starting her platforms, Khristina says that every stumble and every setback has served as a valuable lesson and has made the recognition of Girls Talk Sports TV all the more rewarding.
“It can be so easy to get distracted by what other people are doing or to compare our lives to their highlight reel. But I’m confident that I am where I’m meant to be in this moment.”
No Longer Pursue
“I guess something that I used to chase that I no longer pursue is being affected by people’s opinions. That’s something that I struggled with in the beginning. Not everyone will like you; not everyone is going to understand your vision or your mission, but start being okay with that. Just focus on the people that you love and care for and who support you.”
The ability to break away from the need for validation holds great importance. We have one life, and if we spend our whole life seeking approval left and right, can we even consider our lives to be our own?
“The best advice I have ever received is to bet on myself. Again, going back to what I mentioned, people will try and talk you out of your dreams because it doesn’t make sense to them; but as long as it makes sense to you, that’s all that matters. So, bet on yourself, take the first step, be consistent, and everything else will come after.”
We asked Khristina Williams what she knows 100% to be true, her answer…
“God is real.
I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for Him. Every day I wake up and center myself; mind, body, spirit, prayer, and meditation. I just know that I’m super blessed and thankful to be in the position that I’m in. To be a light to others through the work that I do is a gift. I know that it’s a privilege, and it’s something that I do not take for granted.”
At TrooMe, we believe that our dreams and visions are there for a purpose, a mission that is bigger than ourselves. Once we step into purpose, the rest will fall into place.
May we follow in Khristina William's footsteps, speaking our truth, blazing our trails, and always remembering and reflecting on how truly blessed we are to be experiencing another day in which we can make a difference in the lives of others.