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Inaugural DEIB Pulse Survey Offers Snapshot of the Lived Experiences of Referees, Coaches and Officials

01/12/2023, 12:15pm CST
By Bryan Wendell

The survey results offer an unbiased review of where referees, coaches and officials believe USA Fencing stands in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Key members of the USA Fencing community believe that the organization has made great strides toward increasing awareness of DEIB issues and allowing individuals to show up as their authentic selves — but that we still have a long way to go. 

Those were among the many initial findings from the DEIB Pulse Survey, which was open to members last year. A full report will be released later this year.

A majority of referees agreed that DEIB was important to them (88%), that they were aware of incident reporting procedures (75%) and that leaders understand the needs of referees with disabilities (69%). 

On the other hand, most referees believe that not all referees are treated fairly, that more DEIB education is needed and that referees need a more defined development path.

You can read the full, 14-page survey snapshot to gain a better understanding of how referees, coaches and officials see USA Fencing at this moment in time. 

“It is important to recognize that fencing has formed many unique experiences for our members, and while these results do not represent the views of all referees, coaches and officials, they reveal the nuanced thoughts and perceptions that currently exist in our sport,” the survey authors wrote. “The results of this survey capture both positive and negative viewpoints from within the organization. We recognize that there are many areas of opportunity, and DEIB is a continuous journey that we are committed to embarking on with your continued support.”

The report’s authors included two volunteer members of the Referees’ Commission DEIB Task Force as well as USA Fencing’s senior manager of DEIB:

  • Emma-Tei Kyono: Emma chairs the RC DEIB Task Force and has refereed at the regional, national and collegiate levels. Outside of fencing, she is a consultant and has done work in nonprofit, DEIB and public bector strategy.  

  • Annamaria McGill Lu: Annamaria is a member of the RC DEIB Task Force and a fencing coach. She earned her master’s in industrial organizational psychology, focusing on aspects of the field such as organizational development, diversity, teamwor, and motivation. 

  • Shannon Jolly: Shannon joined USA Fencing in May 2022 as the organization’s first senior manager for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In this role, Shannon leads USA Fencing's DEIB initiatives and works closely with the DEIB committee to ensure the organization promotes a safe environment for everyone to enjoy the sport of fencing.

Tag(s): Updates