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

Morane Kerek, U.S. Olympic Committee

Photo by: CHRISTOPHER COLEMAN
I
n January 2016, the U.S. Olympic Committee was focused on preparations for the Rio Summer Games. But it was also handling transition at the chief financial officer position for the first time in 15 years.
Morane Kerek
U.S. Olympic Committee // Chief financial officer

Morane Kerek stepped in for the retiring Walt Glover, and the organization didn’t miss a beat. The finance department even posted the highest internal customer service scores that year.

Kerek, one of four women on the executive team at Team USA, credits her success as CFO — and before that, managing director for internal audit and controller — to “not being a traditional accountant.”

“I can relate to agents, and event people, and comms people, and I can bring the accounting to a creative mind,” she said. “I can explain contracts and accounting to nonfinancial people. That’s always been one of my strengths. Fitting into the sports world was a natural because you deal with a lot of people without that background.”

After starting her career at Ernst & Young, she got a job at IMG, specifically because she wanted to work in finance and not be an agent, she suspects. There, she learned the sports business as a controller for IMG’s Trans World International, then later as finance director for tennis. She credits her career success to a frame of mind, one she looks for in her staff, too: “We are trying to get to a yes answer, not a no answer. There are rules and laws we need to follow, but how do you help the group do what the organization’s trying to achieve?”

— Ben Fischer



  • Where born: Wheeling, W.Va.
  • Education: Miami (Ohio) University, B.S. in accountancy.
  • Attributes I look for when hiring: Curiosity and attitude. Just about everything else is teachable.
  • Networking tip I’ve learned: Try to find one common trait to make an authentic connection with someone you meet for the first time.
  • Best advice I’ve received for career development: Volunteer for lots of different roles, jobs and experiences. Fill in for a co-worker on leave. Take that crazy temporary assignment that seems out of your career path. Volunteer to help with a project in a different department. You never know when those experiences will come in handy in the future.
  •  Sports business industry can foster a healthier work-life balance by: The industry is full of highly ambitious, very hardworking people. At the organizational level, making balance a priority is important but as individuals we are responsible for embracing opportunities.
  • Is discussion about challenges women face working in sports necessary or played out? We, as a society, still have both conscious and unconscious biases that negatively impact women’s careers, and the sport industry is no different. But it’s getting better, slowly but surely.
  • Cause supported: I work with a local nonprofit that provides environmental education for kids. Even in Colorado, too many kids don’t have the opportunity to get outside and play in nature.

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