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April 24, 2008

Anucha Browne Sanders Offers Lessons Learned

Former Knicks Executive Advises St. Francis Students and Student-Athletes

A rapt crowd of St. Francis College student-athletes and their classmates shared a long conversation Thursday, April 24 at St. Francis College, with Anucha Browne Sanders, the former New York Knicks executive who recently won a sexual discrimination suit against the team.

For Browne Sanders, now the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Marketing at the University of Buffalo, it was a homecoming of sorts. She started her basketball career in Brooklyn playing for St. Saviour High School with several of those games taking place on St. Francis College's court.

Browne Sanders traced her career and the steps she took to get where she is today. "I graduated from Northwestern, had my Master's Degree but no job," she said. So she wrote a letter to Eastman Kodak, which had previously selected her as a Kodak All-American the year she led the nation is scoring. Browne Sanders then moved to IBM where a mentor helped her switch over to athletic marketing for the Olympics. She was recruited by the Knicks and became one of the highest ranking female executives for any team in the NBA.

Amidst the turmoil at that job, Browne Sanders said she focused on the things she loved, "I brought in young women and minorities and mentored them. My office looked like a snapshot of our fan base. I brought in Latinos, African-Americans and women." Browne Sanders said she is now at her dream job in Buffalo, working with student athletes.

She offered several pieces of advice to the students now getting ready to embark on their own career path, "Think about what sets you apart. Write it down and work on it. Hone it." She also said the students will need to manage their careers and actively think about what they want to do, where they want to go and take steps to get there.

"This was an amazing opportunity for our student-athletes to learn firsthand from a woman who leveraged her athletic skills into a solid college education and very successful career," said St. Francis Athletic Director Irma Garcia, a pioneer in her own right. Garcia is the first Hispanic woman to lead a NCAA Division I program. "The courage Browne Sanders has shown in the face of some very real and career threatening hardships should be an inspiration to everyone."

The St. Francis College Athletics Department co-sponsored the event with the Women's Studies Center. Browne Sanders declined to accept an honorarium for her talk, instead asking the College to donate that money to the Arthur Ashe Foundation.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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