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

Sarah Cummins, New York Road Runners

Photo by: MIGUEL SAAVEDRA

S
arah Cummins has forged new partnerships with the New York Road Runners that continue to position the nonprofit group as the world’s premier community running organization.

Sarah Cummins
New York Road Runners // Head of business development and strategic partnerships
Last year, Cummins was part of the team involved in signing an 11-year deal with New Balance valued at between $90 million and $110 million over the course of the agreement, according to media reports.
In July, NYRR signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob Ultra brand tied to a marketing campaign that gives 95 runners the opportunity to compete in the New York City Marathon that would otherwise be shut out of the world’s biggest marathon, which draws 51,000 participants.
The number 95 corresponds to the number of calories in a 12-ounce bottle of Michelob Ultra beer.

Joining with a sponsor to help a runner compete weaves well with NYRR’s goal to give all levels of runners a chance to participate. “We don’t take it lightly that people cross the finish line and burst into tears,” Cummins said. “The storytelling that goes along with it … it’s 26 miles, a journey [and] we take that responsibility very seriously.”

The New Balance deal revolves around “One for You, One for Youth,” a program that donates one pair of sneakers for every pair of shoes purchased by an individual. This year, the charitable effort will result in 6,000 to 8,000 pairs of shoes distributed free to local children.

“The commitments New Balance was willing to step up to made them the right choice,” Cummins said. “Our mission is to help and inspire people through running.”

— Don Muret



  • Where born: Stamford, Conn.
  • Education: Boston College, B.A. in English.
  • Attribute I look for when hiring: Resourcefulness. Is this someone who has proven they can take the ball and run with it? I am looking for people that are not afraid to dive right in to the deep end of the pool even if they don’t know how to swim.
  • Best advice I’ve received for career development: Be the same person at the office as you are at home. Building personal relationships is the most important part of any role in your life, at home or at work.
  • Sports business industry can foster a healthier work-life balance by: Embracing the idea that team members and associates that are happy and fulfilled in their personal lives will bring their best self to the workplace. When your boss supports your personal goals, your loyalty to them and the organization runs very deep.
  • If I had it to do over again, I would: Focus on building my network of mentors, peers and “sounding boards” earlier in my career. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, seeking advice and letting people know that you are struggling with a decision.
  • Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: Kim Ng, Major League Baseball. She has blazed a new trail and opened people’s minds to the idea that a woman can lead and influence on-field decisions.
  • Is discussion about challenges women face working in sports necessary or played out? I think the better discussion is the unique value and perspective that women in senior leadership positions bring to an organization, sports or otherwise. Mary Wittenberg is the best example I can think of. Mary is a CEO that leads with compassion, heart and emotion. She openly displays that to her team, her partners and clients. She is a great example of how women can bring compassion and emotion to bear to inspire a team to be the best versions of themselves.
  • Charities supported: NYRR’s Team for Kids, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Kick for Nick.

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