A Partnership to Smile About

Standing at the podium, Mystics COO Greg Bibb smiled as he called Mark Stauder, President and COO of Inova Health System, Sheila Johnson, Mystics President and Managing Partner, and current Mystics players, Alana Beard and Crystal Langhorne, to the stage. On the picturesque spring day, Bibb, Stauder, Johnson, Beard and Langhorne pulled back the curtain to show a new-look Mystics uniform, and to announce officially the partnership of Inova Health System and the Washington Mystics.

It’s not hard to understand Bibb’s excitement. Earlier that day he stated that the event marked the end of a quest to find the ideal Marquee Partner for the Mystics.

“There can only be one Marquee partner. There can only be one name on the front of our jersey and we're excited that it's Inova Health System. They're an ideal partner. Their vision aligns with ours and their ideals align with ours. Most importantly we are both committed to serving the community in which we work, live and play. "

Thursday’s unveiling will initially focus on the Mystics’ jersey, which prominently displays the Inova Health System name on the front, but the bigger picture for Bibb and the Mystics is the influence that the two companies will achieve by working together.

“In the coming days, weeks, months, and years we will begin rolling out programs that we believe will make a positive impact on the community,” said Bibb. “These [programs] include fighting issues such as childhood obesity, focusing on women's health issues, and targeting preventative healthcare as an initiative of the future in ways to combat the challenges surrounding health systems today.”

To Johnson, the partnership represents not only an opportunity to help the community but also an example of the increasing influence of the female athlete in today’s society. Following the theme of the 2011 Mystics season, PoweRED UP, today’s press conference is the latest example of the empowerment of women through sports.

“The Monumental partnership between the WNBA's Washington Mystics and Inova, underscores the power of women and especially women athletes - how they can empower and transform the messaging of health care,” said Johnson.

A partnership that empowers women and focuses on making children healthier is something we can all smile about.