Honey Stinger, Angel McCoughtry & Project Backboard work together to revamp Atlanta basketball court

Angel McCoughtry and Eugene Anderson at the Project Backboard unveiling event, The AAC's keystone project in 2022.

February is Black History Month, and it’s a great time to celebrate the successes of African American athletes. Black History Month is also the perfect time to evaluate the success–or prevalence–of diverse workforces and inclusive cultures. In doing so, we can easily recognize we’ve come a long way and have a long way to go. Achieving equity and inclusion–at the gym, on the turf, in the office, and through Zoom–requires hard work, perseverance, and collaboration all year long.

As a sports nutrition brand, we’re privileged to be surrounded by athletes. Passion for physical performance is often a natural common denominator that brings people together. Honey Stinger has always been inspired by the achievements of a wide range of athletes, and for the past three years we’ve been working with a group of accomplished athletes and leaders to help us grow as a brand and a company.

The Athlete Advisory Committee

The Athlete Advisory Committee (AAC) was developed to establish ongoing relationships with a diverse group of Hive Ambassadors with the purpose of engaging in productive conversations around social justice and community involvement.

The AAC works to foster diversity through the Honey Stinger brand and reinforce inclusivity within the Hive athlete community.

Meet the AAC

  • Eugene Anderson - Honey Stinger Director of Athletes & DEI, AAC Director
  • Angel McCoughtryHoney Stinger Investor, WNBA Star, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, AAC Chair
  • Dr. Candace Brown - Honey Stinger Board, UNC Charlotte Prof. Dept. of Public Health, AAC Advisor
  • Mel Strong - Honey Stinger Board, former Nike Executive & Next Ventures VC Founding Partner
  • Jenna Burkert - AAC Athlete, USA Wrestling, LGBTYQ+ Advocate
  • Dr. Ouida Brown - AAC Athlete, Orthopedic Surgeon, Outdoor Athlete, Podcast Host
  • Heather Diaz - AAC Athlete, Outdoor Athlete, Sustainability Expert
  • Robert Marcus - AAC Athlete, VP of Community Engagement, Positive Coaching Alliance
  • Antwun BakerAAC Athlete, Director of After School Programming, Performance Athlete & Coach
  • Ashley Tukes KarnikAAC Athlete, Director of After School Programming, Youth Sport Coach
  • Adina Crawford - AAC Athlete, Yoga Instructor, Supervisory/ASIII with Montgomery County Police Department
  • Connor Ryan - AAC Athlete, Professional skiier and endurance runner, Native Outdoors advocate

In 2022, the AAC moved from thought into action. In Georgia, the AAC executed a transformational community project. In Texas, the committee kick-started a successful college internship program and supported a wide-reaching youth sports program.

Project Backboard

The AAC’s keystone project was completed in October 2022. AAC Chair Angel McCoughtry and Honey Stinger teamed up with the City of Atlanta, Project Backboard, and Champions for Philanthropy to refurbish two basketball courts at Maddox Park. The ribbon cutting was a big celebration that brought together professional athletes, Olympians, actors, models, entertainers, and business and community leaders. National nonprofit RISE supported the event by hosting an all-female panel discussion about female empowerment and its correlation with affecting change. All of this was followed by kids from Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta participating in a free clinic with student-athlete volunteers from Clark Atlanta University Athletics. 

Learn more about Project Backboard here.

Sports Marketing Internships

Honey Stinger Director of Athletes and DEI, Eugene Anderson and Honey Stinger Interns, Jashon Palmer and Kennedy Middleton

The AAC identified the parallel between the need for creating equity in sports for youth and females with the need for creating diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The committee helped secure funding for two paid internships in Honey Stinger’s Sports Marketing Department. With a significant concentration of colleges and universities with diverse student bodies, the AAC chose the greater Houston, TX market to attract a large talent pool. The Houston Chapter of The National Society of Black Sports Professionals (BSP) helped the committee connect with bright minds from Rice University and the University of Houston.

Interns Jashon Palmer (Rice) and Kennedy Middleton (Houston) made an immediate impact providing marketing insights related to NIL and connecting to young audiences through social platforms. Their fall 2022 internship will extend into spring 2023, and they will continue to receive active mentorship and gain exposure across multiple aspects of the business. The AAC’s goals for this internship program are to create employment opportunities for aspiring college students and carve a path for a long-lasting, problem-solving approach.

Sports Matter Youth Initiative With DICK’s Sporting Goods

DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation's Sports Matter Giving Truck made its third tour stop in Houston in December 2022. In partnership with Good Sports, the Foundation provided 10,000 athletes from 32 local youth sports organizations equipment kits containing apparel, training gear, water bottles, and more. Aiming to encourage participation in sports, the Foundation also hosted more than 500 kids for Sports Matter Day at the University of Houston Campus Recreation & Wellness Center. Honey Stinger’s AAC led the initiative to fuel the day’s participants with a $30,000 in-kind donation of sports nutrition products. 

The Foundation surprised the group by coordinating with World Series Champion Jeremy Peña and Hall of Fame Basketball Player Sheryl Swoopes. Both athletes spent time coaching, mentoring, and playing alongside the kids.

Along with Beyond Sport, The DICK’S Foundation additionally offered coaches who participated in Sports Matter Day fully funded leadership training courses to arm them with tools to heighten their impact within their communities. The first course was an in-person workshop titled, Coaching with Empathy. Additional courses focus on topics such as fundraising, governance, and stakeholder engagement. 

2023 Planning is Underway!

Stay tuned for updates as the AAC builds upon a rewarding 2022 and prepares the Honey Stinger team to be stewards for social change and justice by getting involved across communities.