Women In Sports: Maclaine Westford
“Play Your Game.”
Growing up in California, Maclaine started playing volleyball when she was just four years old. It never crossed her mind that sports were not as easily accessible to girls in other countries. Immersing herself into communities & different countries while studying abroad, Maclaine was surprised to learn that there was a massive gender gap in sports across multiple countries. “Sport is a universal language. I may not speak the same spoken or written language as you but I know to play the same game. Take away social beliefs, genocides, a global pandemic, we need sports to unite and inspire the world right now.” In Myanmar, when coming across a group of boys who were playing soccer, Maclaine’s competitive-self asked if she & a group of friends could join them. When the group of boys looked both un-inclusive & ostensibly perplexed, Maclaine realized that the country has established social standards for women to not engage in any sports. Those who do, or attempt to, are considered immodest therefore girls grow up learning to sit on the sidelines instead of playing. This moment was when Maclaine knew she wanted to focus on bringing opportunities to women across the world as sports is a direct driver of self-confidence, leadership, & grit.
Play Your Game, the phrase Maclaine lives by. PYG was created by her mother when Maclaine’s confidence was lacking while playing sports. Her mom wanted to show her that by “playing her own game” she would be able to find the strength in herself in those moments of uncertainty and self-doubt. While we were interviewing Maclaine, she explained how sports are a wonderful way for women to develop confidence, strength, and a sense of leadership which is integral in the developmental years of a woman’s life. “I am blessed to have given the opportunity to work within the sports industry & I want to make that available to women across the world. My dream & goal is for women across the globe to experience the confidence & support that I have felt in my career. There could be the world’s top soccer player or a stellar sports executive in these countries but if they are not given the chance, we will never know.
Maclaine continues to grow her career within the industry and recently finished an MBA from Columbia University where she focused on Sports Marketing and Management. She wanted to create a well-rounded career by working in several different departments within the industry. A piece of advice she gave was “Work a bunch of different departments to learn what you are interested in. You don’t need to have everything figured out after the first internship. Find positions in marketing, finance, sales early on and then see what interests you most because then you can say I love social media or hate analytics. But without the exposure, you will never know.” Experiences at UNICEF, the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Football Club, and UNINTERRUPTED have allowed for Maclaine to set her sights on working in marketing and partnerships.
She is currently working in Integrated Strategy for Bleacher Report, where she focuses on partnerships, client relations, and building creative campaigns for the digital sports platform. “My career thus far has given me an opportunity to connect with exceptional people across industries and build an expansive network within established brands and organizations.” We asked Maclaine her advice on how to be successful in her position and the point she emphasized most was “it is so important to build strong and meaningful relationships but keeping them in a professional environment. I keep an excel sheet with all my contacts and continuously find ways to follow-up with purpose.” Maclaine looks to continue working in sports marketing while growing as a businesswoman. She and her mother have started a company, Play Your Game, to create opportunities for girls to build confidence and leadership with experiences in sports and STEM. She continues to work with different organizations including Girl Power Talk to mentor and work with girls who are interested in playing and working in sports.
“If I can say anything to the young girls who are reading this, I would want to say that you are a badass, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something and to play your game.”