Executive Coach: Dr. Janice Hilliard

Category: Career Resources

Dr. Janice HilliardDr. Janice Hilliard

President & CEO – Hilliard Solutions

Dr. Janice L. Hilliard is an accomplished, innovative and highly respected industry expert in the field of athlete education, development and transition. She is a nationally recognized consultant, professional development trainer, workshop presenter, speaker and resource for educators, athletics directors, sports officials, athletes, coaches, parents and community leaders.

Dr. Hilliard is a trailblazer with a unique background as a professional sports league executive, collegiate associate athletics director, secondary school teacher, coach and counselor, and collegiate basketball scholarship student-athlete. She holds a doctorate degree in educational administration and a master’s degree in urban counseling from Michigan State University and a Bachelors in Education from the University of Houston.

Prior to founding Hilliard Solutions, Dr. Hilliard was employed for 15 years at the National Basketball Association (NBA) as Vice President, Senior Director and Director of Player Development where she was responsible for the leadership of the continuing education and life skills programs for NBA and Development League players. She created the continuing education model curriculum- the first of its kind in professional sports- and the online Michigan State University Business Communication Skills Certificate Program for Development League players. Her team assignments included the world champion Boston Celtics along with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.

Formally trained in career and staff development, Dr. Hilliard worked directly with league and team officials and coaches to create and implement educational, personal development and career transition programming for players and staff. Dr. Hilliard established the league’s Professional Development Institute (PDI) which serves as the primary training platform for league and team player development directors.

Dr. Hilliard was Player Development’s designated liaison to higher education institutions. She established a partnership with the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A) that formalized communication and collaboration efforts to better assist collegiate men’s basketball student-athletes with their transition to the pros. Her vision led to the establishment of innovative career development experiences for NBA players and joint training opportunities for collegiate and professional staff members.

Prior to the NBA, Dr. Hilliard was Associate Director of Athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Houston where she was a member of their senior leadership team. She oversaw staff training and development and student-athlete life skills education and career development programming. Her career began as a high school teacher and coach in Texas. She was also a middle and high school counselor in Michigan and served as Associate Director of Minority of Affairs at Central Michigan University.

No stranger to radio and television, Dr. Hilliard has been a guest on numerous shows including Channel 12 Connecticut Our Lives where she discussed athlete education, community leadership and career transition issues. She has been a featured speaker at the Women in the Spotlight Leadership Conference and invited to deliver numerous high school and college commencement speeches. She was a featured presenter at the Women Leaders in College Sports Conference, NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar and the National Alliance of Social Workers in Sports Conference.

Dr. Hilliard is a contributor to the recently published textbook, Human Resources in Sports: A Managerial Approach. Michigan State University, the University of Houston alumni and CollegeAD.com magazines are among numerous publications that have documented her success and accomplishments. She is a frequent guest lecturer in graduate sports administration programs throughout the country. Coaching young professionals seeking careers in sports is one of her favorite things to do.

Dr. Hilliard was honored with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Founders Award in 2014 for outstanding contributions to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She was awarded the 2018 Community Member of the Year Award by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. for outstanding contributions and longstanding commitment to the chapter and sorority. Also, in 2018, the University of Houston women’s basketball program and American Athletic Conference recognized Hilliard Solutions for its support of female athletes.

Dr. Hilliard is a member of the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists (PAADS), National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A), American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Michigan State University Sports Business Management Advisory Board.

Contact Dr. Hilliard by email or phone.

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.