For her trailblazing career and contributions to countless NBA players and their families, Chrysa Chin ’84 joined an esteemed group of women who have received the William Smith Alumnae Association’s highest honor. The presentation took place during William Smith College’s annual Founder’s Day celebration.
“William Smith College has been a significant part of all that I’ve been able to achieve,” said Chin to an engaged group of students who filled Bartlett Theatre.
An executive vice president with National Basketball Players Association, Chin leads the strategic engagement and development department, directing the implementation of player initiatives and developing innovative programs and resources designed to catalyze players’ growth and success on and off the court.
Kendra Quinn-Moultrie ’18, an All-Academic forward on the Herons basketball team, led a dynamic conversation with Chin during the event. Quinn-Moultrie’s questions covered a range of topics including Chin’s career trajectory, navigating a male-dominated industry, and advice for students interested in a career in athletics.
There wasn’t a direct path to getting a job with the NBA, Chin said. Working from what she learned at HWS, Chin went on to gain skills as a case worker in New York City and later in the field of law as a paralegal and case manager. She told students to take the opportunities available to them at HWS and to truly “appreciate the moment” of being at HWS.
At the NBA, Chin became the vice president for player development, where she was the first woman to hold a managerial position in the Player Development Department as well as the first to hold the title of vice president. She helped launch the WNBA during its inaugural season. “You have to fight through and that’s what I did. I made sure people understood that they had to respect me and understand that I was there to do a job, regardless of my gender.”
During her 25-year career, Chin’s enduring impact across the NBA includes working with All-Stars such as Chris Paul, Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony, who each have launched their own philanthropic foundations. A highlight of her career, Chin told the audience, was when eleven-time All-Star Allen Iverson recognized Chin and how much she has meant to him and his family during his induction in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“You empower people by finding out what they’re good at and where things resonate with them,” said Chin. “I always like people to have confidence in themselves. I want to make sure that people understand their value and understand the value they bring to any situation.”
At the Founder’s Day dinner, President Gregory J. Vincent ’83 reflected on William Smith College’s heritage and connection to the suffrage movement, the deep impact of an HWS education, and how graduates such as Chin go on to lead lives of consequence.
“To be an executive vice president for strategic engagement and development is groundbreaking; Chrysa is competing at the highest of levels,” Vincent said of his former classmate. “She has achieved success because of the lessons she learned here at the Colleges. When we were students, I saw in Chrysa someone who was a true leader and someone who truly cared. What she has accomplished is what William Smith is all about; she embodies what William Smith College is all about.”
The Alumna Achievement Award was presented by Assistant Vice President for Advancement Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13, Chair of the Alumnae Association’s Honors Committee Kirra Henick-Kling Guard ’08, MAT ’09 and William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig. President of William Smith Congress Allison Cheney ’18 paid tribute to the heritage of William Smith as well as some of the College’s early pioneering students.