SBJ/Sept. 9-15, 2013/Opinion

‘Game Changers’ goes from print to live event

From its introduction in October 2011, our list of “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business” now numbers 126. And this year, we’re extending the concept by holding a one-day conference on Tuesday in New York that will examine some of the key issues facing women in sports today. We’re expecting a dynamic discussion before more than 350 industry executives, including roughly 80 of the 126 Game Changers. The conference is a natural extension after three years of recognizing women executives in print, and we look forward to bringing thought leaders together as we move the discussion forward on some key issues. Frankly, it’s about time.

Over the past three years, our goal of introducing these talented executives to the industry and our hope of creating a network of leaders have seeds of growth. I’ll go back to what we wrote in October 2011, when we introduced the program: One of the most consistent criticisms of our editorial products has been the emphasis on white men and a lack of gender and ethnic diversity within our pages. So through Game Changers, we aimed to raise the awareness of the accomplishments and perspectives of women who are taking the lead across sports. By shedding light on these women, we firmly believe it helps develop relationships, mentors and future CEOs. This week’s event in New York is our first physical manifestation of such a network, similar to those developed by WISE, the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW.

Game Changers could not have been completed without the hard work and creative energy of Assistant Managing Editor Mark Mensheha, who has led the process since its inception and each year spends countless hours doing outreach, research and editing on the section. He started in the spring paring down an initial list of more than 600 names. Those who have appeared on our Forty Under 40 lists were not considered for inclusion, given the unique platform that honor already provides. People were considered because of their influential voice or deal making, their ability to make a mark on the sports business, their willingness to innovate, their stomach for entrepreneurism, or the compelling nature of their personal journey. As was written before, this is not a “best of” list; it’s a way to tell the stories of women who are having success, serving as leaders, or just kicking ass in a largely male-dominated industry.

This year showcases another group of talented, hardworking, successful leaders. They represent diverse backgrounds and lines of work. Some are leading big companies, some are entrepreneurial in spirit. Regardless, they are all making a difference within their organizations.

In addition to Mensheha, special recognition goes to Brian Whelihan, who worked side by side in the design and packaging of the profiles. We hope you enjoy learning more about these talented, creative and passionate executives. We welcome your thoughts and ideas on what we can do better — and most importantly, suggestions on future Game Changers.

> WORLD PARTY: I’ve heard from a number of you regarding our special issue published last week looking at some of the trends, companies and people to keep an eye on around the world in sports business. That issue could not have been done without the ideas and efforts of SBJ Special Reports Editor David Bourne and SBD Global Managing Editor Dave Morgan, who worked together on story ideas, as well as the editing and packaging of the issue. In addition, designer Corey Edwards brought a fresh set of eyes for an impactful presentation. I hope you’re able to spend some time with the speical issue, and we welcome your questions, thoughts or comments.

Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at amadkour@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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