SBJ/Sept. 11-17, 2017/Game Changers

Lynn White, NHL

Photo by: NHL
L
ynn White’s job at the NHL could perhaps be best described as an international jack-of-all-trades for the league.

Lynn White
NHL // Group vice president, international strategy
“Our international group is essentially a microcosm of all of the league’s business groups — we have a media business, we have a consumer products business, we have an event business and a sponsorship business,” said White, who has been at the league for more than 22 years. “We are also looking geographically at different areas, so it could be China in the morning, Sweden in the afternoon and Germany later that evening. Having such a wide view makes it very interesting to come into the office every day.”

White’s expertise has become even more important for the league the last 12 months as it has embarked on a renewed international strategy that began with the relaunch of the World Cup of Hockey a year ago. The league will play games in China and Sweden this fall and expects to continue to expand its footprint globally, all efforts in which White will play a key role.

“While we’ve successfully focused on our domestic business this last decade or so, the World Cup of Hockey this past September was our coming-out party internationally,” she said. “The next great frontier for us is the international landscape, and I don’t think anyone was more enthusiastic about the renewal of our international strategy than me.”

— Ian Thomas



  • Where born: Staten Island, N.Y.
  • Education: Boston College, B.A. in history.
  • Attribute I look for when hiring: The understanding that no task is too small coupled with the willingness to contribute whenever and wherever needed.
  •  A networking tip I’ve learned: Invest some time. We all try to squeeze 25 hours of activity into a 24-hour day. It can be tempting to cancel a lunch date or reschedule a cup of coffee. However, good relationships are the most valuable tool for a successful venture or career.
  • Sports business industry can foster a healthier work-life balance by: Recognizing flexibility is a necessity. Games and events on nights and weekends, significant travel, international business partners across multiple time zones — ours is not a Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5 industry. The NHL’s alternative work policy was invaluable when my daughters were younger as it allowed me to spend more time at home.
  • Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: Jeanie Buss, owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers. As one of the first female executives in professional sports, I am sure it was not easy walking into the NBA Board of Governors meeting that first time. I am interested to know how she approaches her role as the steward of a legendary brand under the glare of one of the world’s largest media markets.
  • Is discussion about challenges women face working in sports necessary or played out? It continues to be necessary. While I never feel as though I am treated differently, very often I glance around in a meeting and realize I am the only woman in the room. While more women are employed in sports than ever before, there are still far too few at the senior level. The good news is that I am seeing more women being recognized at the NHL and other organizations.
  • Causes supported: This harkens back to the work-life balance issue. I try to stay active in my daughters’ schools, volunteering for events whenever possible.

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