Orangeville Prep announces founding advisory board for new women's basketball team

·3 min read

Three prominent women will help guide the young athletes selected for Orangeville Prep’s new women’s basketball team.

The founding members of the team's advisory board aim to play an influential role in developing young women who aspire to utilize basketball to further their post-secondary goals and lead them to fulfilling professional careers, whether in basketball or not, according to a release on the Orangeville Prep website.

“They can have a great career playing basketball, receive a wonderful education and end up becoming a TV broadcaster, sports agent or marketing rep,” said Connie Amartey, an event marketing and branding specialist and founder of Collective Society 360 (CS360). “It can lead to so many different things.”

Amartey, Jessica Kemp and Dakota Whyte have been selected as founding members of the Orangeville Prep Women’s Advisory Board. They will provide direction, guidance and mentorship to athletes in a “women leading women” program.

“We’re all going to be working, collaboratively, leveraging all of our skill sets and resources to create a holistic approach towards young women playing basketball,” said Amartey. “They can take what they learn in basketball and translate it into transferable skills for life.”

Amartey noticed a lack of Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) in the event and marketing space and decided to create CS360.

“People of colour are often told they can’t view certain things and aren’t told how to go the extra mile,” said Amartey. “We’re providing that for them by mentorships and refurbished laptops and software they need.”

She helps marginalized youth find opportunities for hands-on mentorship and training programs by introducing them to prominent leaders in different sectors to try to ensure better BIPOC representation within the workforce.

Team selection will run from April to June 2022. The inaugural women’s basketball season will begin in September 2022. The 10-month program consists of daily practice, strength and conditioning, academic support, additional athlete services, mentorship and wellness, and a highly competitive game schedule.

Kemp grew up playing club basketball with the Niagara Rangers and for Team Ontario in the summers. She received an entire Division 1 scholarship to Niagara University, where she obtained her MBA and started in every game since freshman year. About 11 years ago, she founded Kemp Financial Group Inc. She runs a team of five and helps families build and transition their wealth down to their children.

Whyte works as a retail brand manager at Nike Canada and is studying for an MBA at Ryerson University, majoring in sports business.

“After I completed my undergrad, I said I would play professionally for a few years, and then I’m going to go straight into my career,” said Whyte. “That’s what leads me to want to work for a sporting brand because I wanted to still work within sports but on the business side, which I enjoy heavily now.”

She is a former seven-year Canadian national team member and played professional women’s basketball in Greece and Sweden in the European cup league. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a Division 1 basketball scholarship.

“There are so many different areas where you can be versatile and multifaceted,” said Whyte. “That’s what I want to ensure the girls going forward.”

She has a passion for community and serving marginalized groups and has been a women’s basketball mentor.

“Growing up, I didn’t see people look like me in positions of power, and I think now more than ever, we have the future ahead of us to lay the foundation for BIPOC youth and women to ensure they know they can be inspired and be anything they can be with a level of dedication.”

Orangeville Prep developed a road map outlining five stages of implementation leading to the inaugural women's basketball season in 2022. It includes creating a foundation, mentorship, programming and partnership, leading up to competitive games themselves.

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner