Meet Chrishaya Dixon

As the Redbirds Athletic department’s first Assistant Athletics Director for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Dixon is responsible for supporting, developing, managing, and implementing equity, diversity and inclusion strategies.

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Chrishaya Dixon

 Assistant Athletics Director/Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Illinois State

Chrishaya Dixon was hired as the Redbirds Athletic department’s first Assistant Athletics Director for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in September of 2021.

In her role, Dixon is responsible for supporting, developing, managing, and implementing equity, diversity and inclusion strategies that promote and foster an accessible, welcoming, and affirming environment within Redbird Athletics.

Dixon is no stranger to Illinois State, as she has spent the past five years on campus as a graduate student and full-time staff member. She currently serves as a program coordinator in leadership development at ISU, a role she began in January of 2019. In her work in leadership development, she rebuilt leadership programing that centers on equity and inclusion and assesses current programs and initiatives within the University.

She has also served as a retention specialist for the University since October of 2018. In that role, she has provided enrichment and programmatic support and collaborated with campus resources to provide safety and inclusion for underrepresented students. Dixon also assessed retention of first-generation college students and assisted them in connecting to the campus community.A two-time graduate of Illinois State, Dixon earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice sciences in May 2016 and earned a master’s degree in recreation administration in May 2018.

What’s the book on your nightstand right now?

John Lewis- Carry On

What’s your favorite podcast?

Gettin’ Grown and Women Leaders Podcast 

Do you prefer to have a coffee in the morning or some tea?

Chai Tea Latte 

How would you describe your personal style? 

Classy. Anything from Chico’s or blue jeans and a HelloGorgeous! hoodie.

How would you describe your personal style? 

I would describe my personal style as mood dependent. Everyday my style changes based on the mood I wake up with. In most cases, I would say sporty-business Mom (if that makes any sense). 

How would you describe yourself? At work, at home?

I would describe myself at work as inquisitive and team oriented. I enjoy an opportunity for collaboration and learning. In most cases, I seek out opportunities to include others and recenter or remove barriers.

At home I spend much of my time engaging with my family via FaceTime. When not on the phone with family, we are enjoying sports or embarking on whatever journey our little one wants to explore that day. Currently, she has been very interested in imaginary play. 

How did you get where you are?

I got where I am because my family encouraged me to dream. It was instilled in me that those who came before me only dreamed of the many opportunities that have been afforded to me. I continue to hold onto that internal motivation. 

Mica organizas skincare products

Did you grow up surrounded by certain influences or like-minded influencers?

I grew up paying close attention to black women in leadership positions. I admired their poise and aspired to work just as hard as they did. I always dreamed of one day potentially sitting at a table as a peer or colleague of theirs. 

What’s the one piece of advice you would give your younger you starting out?

You will not have it all figured out. Be intentional with your professional relationships. One day there will be a return on investments.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History month means opportunity, challenge and change. 

When and where did your love of sports begin?

My love for sports began sitting in the stands watching my dad coach high school boys’ basketball. I can still think back to the smell of those gyms and the roars from the crowds.

Inspiring quotation for women during women's history month

Tell us what it means to you personally to be a Redbird and a part of the Redbird community.

I am a Redbird for Life. What it means to be a Redbird is integrity and family. Redbirds have a common understanding and respect for one another that I feel doesn’t have to be explained but definitely understood amongst all of us. 

How has Title IX had an impact on you?

Title IX has created opportunity for women such as myself to begin to dream of equal participation in sports and leadership. 

Traditions are a big part of sports, what are some of your favorite game day traditions?

My favorite game day tradition as an athlete was pre-game. During that time, I was intentional about getting myself prepared for the opponent as well as loosening up with my teammates. No one could ever replace the pre-game dance parties we had in preparation for the game. 

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