Perhaps buoyed by the success of the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit held before last year’s inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, fellow major championship sponsor ANA announced its Inspiring Women in Sports conference.
The Japanese airline will stage the event March 29 at Mission Hills Country Club, two days before the ANA Inspiration — the first major of the 2016 LPGA calendar — begins play in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Speakers will include World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sörenstam (who also made a presentation at the KPMG summit last summer), four-time World Cup skiing champion Lindsey Vonn, all-time world leading soccer scorer Abby Wambach, Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and Olympic swimming gold medalist Missy Franklin.
“The ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference is an incredible platform to showcase the stories of the world’s best female athletes and learn from their successes in the Olympics and in life,” said tournament director Gabe Codding at an event in Beverly Hills announcing the conference. “We are so grateful to our partner ANA for sharing in the vision to help tell these inspirational stories amidst the backdrop of the LPGA’s most iconic venue.
“It will be an absolute thrill to welcome these sports legends to Mission Hills Country Club and watch them interact with the LPGA’s best.”
The conference is one of several new initiatives the sponsor has on tap. Another is the ANA Junior Inspiration, a nationwide top-level junior girls invitational with a grand prize of a spot in the ANA Inspiration field.
“The ANA Junior Inspiration is incredible,” said two-time major championship winner Brittany Lincicome, whose 2015 victory in Rancho Mirage came in the first year since the tournament changed its name from the Kraft Nabisco Championship. “For ANA to invite leading young players from across the country to Mission Hills and be given the chance to tee it up in the first major of the year is amazing.
“I can’t even imagine the nerves they’ll be feeling but it really is an opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve no doubt it will inspire more young girls into the game.”