Chevonne Mansfield has moved multiple times for her career, but New York energy will always be a driving force. Born and raised on Long Island, the St. John’s University graduate is now based in Washington, D.C., since becoming the executive senior associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator at Howard University in March. No stranger to HBCU culture—Mansfield earned her master’s degree at University of Maryland Eastern Shore—she is thriving in her new environment.
“I have a lot of love for Howard; I previously spent three years here,” said Mansfield, who started her career in collegiate athletics as an assistant sports information director at Howard. “For me, this is like coming full circle. It’s a return to home.
“For my trajectory, this is another step towards my career goals, which are to be in athletic administration supporting student-athletes and helping to shape and mold them,” she added. “I like working on a campus.”
After her three years at Howard (2007-’10), Mansfield worked at the Southwestern Athletic Conference (a Division I conference of HBCUs), helping to reshape perceptions of the SWAC. She then worked at the Southeastern Conference before becoming communications director for the American Athletics Conference and then the LEAD1 Association (athletics directors). While working as deputy athletics director at Florida Memorial University, she stepped in as interim athletics director for almost two years.
Mansfield recalls her introduction to HBCU life in graduate school and sees the value of students seeing professors who look like them and take a vested interest in their success. She values being a role model for Howard Bison student-athletes.
“Representation really matters to me,” she said. “Throughout my career, I didn’t have a lot of Black women to look to in these roles. The stats are out there about the low hiring, at least in Division I outside of HBCUs. There are not a lot of Black administrators in the head chair position or even senior staff at most Division I schools.
“That’s one of the reasons I decided to come back to Howard,” she continued. “[Athletic administration] has always been demanding, but the changes the last few years with sports betting, NIL and mental health, the stakes are really high. Being in this role is important, and I’m hoping that can show young Black women that this is an opportunity that you can pursue even if you come from a non-traditional background. I wasn’t a student-athlete and I didn’t have any connections in college athletics. It was just hard work. You can get here if you want.”