LEADHER is a platform for female athletes to learn, share, and grow as leaders. It’s based on the belief that we can all help each other become the best versions of ourselves, in sports and life. Here we can learn from the greatest female athletes in history and share our stories, our challenges, and our beliefs on what it means to lead. 

As the platform grows, we’ll talk with professional and Olympic athletes to gain their insights on what it means to compete and lead at the highest levels in sports. We’ll share leadership experiences with one another, take inspiration from the quotations of great athletic leaders, and learn tips and tools to become the best leaders we can be for the teammates we serve.

About Jess Horwath

I’m currently a senior at Barrington High School in Illinois. I led our indoor volleyball team to a 40-2 record and the 3rd place trophy in the state playoffs for the second consecutive year. I was blessed to be a four-year varsity starter, three-year team captain, two-time conference player of the year, captain of the Daily Herald All-Area Team, 1st Team All-State, All-Midwest Region, and All-American. I was honored to be a 3-time winner of the AthLeader Award presented by the Junior Volleyball Association as one of the top 20 student athlete leaders in the nation.

I’m proud to have committed to play beach volleyball for the University of Arizona Wildcats in the 2023-2024 season. I’ve been a multi-sport athlete, having led our middle school basketball team to the Elite 8, and competed at the U.S. Junior Olympics in Track & Field in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles. I’ve also played soccer, softball, and tennis.

My leadership opportunities off the court include helping the Leukemia Lymphoma Student of the Year 2022 Team raise more than $25,000 in six weeks for medical research. I’m a PACT (Peers All Coming Together) senior leader at Barrington high school, selected as 1 of 25 senior students from a class of 750 to be a peer leader. The focus is connecting the high school community across differing grade levels and experiences to one another, further strengthening trust and comfort of all students.

In the community, I’ve volunteered at the House of Hope Community Thrift Shop and as the Barrington Community Meal Photographer in the group’s work with the hungry and homeless. I’m also involved in my church, serving as a PATHS Religion Confirmation Team Leader and as a teen lector leader for the St. Anne’s Ministry.

Academically, I’ve been honored to receive a National Merit Commendation, AP Scholar Award, President’s Educational Award, Math Olympiad winner, and National Latin Exam Suma Cum Laude. It was exciting to be the World Language Honor Society Induction keynote speaker and a member of the National Honor Society.

In my free time, I enjoy working out, table tennis, reading, paddle-boarding, yoga, and spending time with friends and family.



“I think so much of how I have decided to play volleyball, or just even the mindset going into it, I’ve learned from Jess. Just the continuous positivity, like picking each other up after every point, I’ve gotten that since I came into Barrington High School. Her play is out of this world. But her personality on the court and willingness to support everybody, I think I’ve implemented that into my style of play.”

Gwen Adler, Setter for the Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team, Barrington High School

Barrington’s Horwath will play beach volleyball at Arizona

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Leading better together