LEADHERS: Sports, Race & Society Lecture features Swin Cash, Allison Feaster and Nyaka NiiLampti ’97

The Sports, Race and Society Lecture Series brought accomplished professional sports executives Swin Cash (Vice President of Basketball Operations & Team Development, New Orleans Pelicans), Allison Feaster (Vice President of Team Operations & Organizational Growth, Boston Celtics) and Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti ’97 (Vice President of Wellness and Clinical Services, National Football League) to campus on Monday, February 12th. Co-sponsored by Princeton Athletics and the Department of African American Studies, the event featured an authentic conversation about female leadership in male dominated spaces and the barriers and challenges each overcame in finding their voice and place among the leadership ranks in the NBA and NFL, respectively.

The Sports, Race and Society Lecture, made possible by the Stephen C. Mills ’81 Fund, aims to bring accomplished speakers to campus to explore the implications and possibilities of uniting sport with the American experiment, the obligation that executives in the governance of sport ought to fulfill to athletes and communities, and the impact of athletes as citizens and influential community members.


“It’s so important for women to take up space. I hear this a lot ‘Let’s check a box and hire a woman.’ Let’s not check a box and hire a woman. Let’s hire women because it’s good business. Women at the table is good business sense because it’s diversity of thought.” – Swin Cash

“We have no choice in this role; this platform comes with tremendous responsibility and I want everyone to be clear what my purpose is. And that is not only to serve my organization and lead, but also to provide exposure, provide opportunity and access, and plant seeds for not just young girls, but those who are traditionally nonexistent in our space.” – Allison Feaster


Moderated by Ford Family Director of Athletics John Mack ’00, the conversation also included a variety of questions about each speaker’s upbringings and their time as former athletes. The women discussed their childhood heroes that inspired their competitive aspirations and shared the lessons they learned later in life as they transitioned from their athletic careers to front office positions. One of these lessons includes the responsibilities each woman has taken on within their organizations to help advocate for social justice programming and awareness.

In her current role, Swin Cash serves as an NBA Global Ambassador to help bring awareness to these topics in addition to leading her own “Cash for Kids” program that helps motivate and mentor underprivileged youth. Allison Feaster is also paving the way for NBA social justice issues, helping to co-lead Boston Celtics United, a program committed to addressing racial injustice and social inequities in the greater Boston area. In the NFL, Nyaka NiiLampti helps lead the league’s Player Engagement efforts, educating current players on the benefits and risks of using their platforms to support social justice issues.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

Click here to view the full lecture video.


LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FEATURED SPEAKERS

Swin Cash-Canal, an illustrious Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, currently serves as the Vice President of Basketball Operations & Team Development for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. A three-time WNBA champion (2003, 2006, 2010), four-time WNBA All-Star (2003, 2005, 2009, 2011), and two-time WNBA All-Star Game MVP (2009, 2011), Cash also helped lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to two Olympic gold medals (2004, 2012) and was named one of the WNBA’s Top 20 Best and Most Influential players. Cash also covered sports and culture for several media outlets, including Turner Sports, CBS Sports, and MSG Network. 

Off the court, she founded Cash for Kids, a charity whose mission is to motivate, educate & elevate kids through physical fitness, nutrition, education, cultural trips, and sports camps. In addition to her non-profit contributions, Cash also founded She’s Got Time – a Women in Sports Organization whose mission is to create a diverse ecosystem of culture and resources while inspiring an intergenerational community of Women in Sports through interactive summits, the art of storytelling, authentic athleisure wear, and networking. She is proud to have worked extensively with the NBA as a global ambassador for social responsibility and civil rights.  Although Cash holds many titles, there are none greater to her than that of a wife to her husband – Steve Canal, and mother to their two boys – Saint Cash-Canal and Syer Cash-Canal.

Allison Feaster is Vice President of Team Operations & Organizational Growth for the Boston Celtics. She is a former professional basketball player, a global citizen, and a trailblazer in the sports industry who is highly regarded for her leadership and teambuilding skills. During her decorated college basketball career, Feaster was the first player in any sport to be honored as Ivy League Player of the Year three times, leading the first-ever NCAA Division-I Tournament upset of No. 16 seed Harvard against No. 1 seed Stanford. She was a first-round WNBA draft pick and went on to a 17-year professional playing career in the US, Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal.

Following her retirement from playing in 2016, Feaster joined the NBA’s Basketball Operations Management Development Program. After serving as the lead of Player Personnel & Coach Relations for the NBA G-League, she joined the Boston Celtics organization where she currently leads Team Operations & Organizational Growth.

Beyond the court, Feaster serves on the NCAA’s Board of Governors, and she is co-lead for Boston Celtics United, the Celtics’ social justice initiative to impact social and racial inequities in Black and Brown communities in Greater Boston. She maintains her role as an active public speaker, a champion of the advancement of women and girls, and serves as a global advocate for sport, including serving as a Sports Envoy for the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Feaster is a graduate of Harvard College (BA, Economics) and the Universidad Europea (MBA). 

Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti ’97 serves as the National Football League’s Vice President of Wellness and Clinical Services. A four-year track and field letterwinner, NiiLampti graduated from Princeton with a bachelor’s degree in psychology before earning her master’s in sport psychology and exercise sport science at UNC and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Temple University. She taught psychology courses as an assistant professor at Queens University of Charlotte until 2016 before transitioning to a career as the Director of Player Wellness with the NFL Players Association. During her time with the NFLPA she helped educate professional football players on different aspects of their wellness, with an emphasis on mental health and substance abuse.

In her current role, NiiLampti heads the NFL’s Total Wellness and Mental Health platforms. She is a critical player in advancing the NFL’s Player Engagement mission of making a positive impact inside and outside of the NFL family.

While at Princeton, NiiLampti focused her thesis on the psychological impact sport can have on women. She has also co-authored a book called “The Career Game Plan: Preparing Student Athletes to Compete and Win in the World of Work.”