We asked the Forty Under 40: What person in the industry has most influenced your professional development (and why)?
Christopher Benyarko: Adam Silver. For his work ethic, attention to detail, leadership and drive to innovate.
Daniel Cohen: Jason Cohen, my brother and general counsel of the Dallas Cowboys. Jason has been a guiding voice in reminding me to appreciate every opportunity, put in more than you take, and invest in the professional and personal relationships that are so critical to happiness and success.
Gideon Cohen: Steve Herz has been my mentor and champion from the minute I entered this business 19 years ago, and I consider him a brother.
Russ D’Souza: I’ve gotten to work closely with Chad Estis of the Cowboys over the past year. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by him and his leadership style.
Camilo Durana: Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito for his humility, emphasis on people and encouragement of discomfort as a path to growth.
David Foster: Michele Roberts. Since I joined the NBPA I have continued to be inspired by Michele’s relentless championing of players’ rights.
Lloyd Frischer: Arn Tellem, vice chairman at Palace Sports & Entertainment. I had the privilege of having Arn as a mentor for the first nine years of my career in the sports business while working at SFX Sports Group and Wasserman.
Libby Geist: My dad, Bill Geist, one of the all-time great storytellers. He would come home from work telling us about the interesting people he met and places he went.
Michael Goldstein: Mike Robichaud, Mastercard SVP of global sponsorships.
Al Guido: Jed York. Passion for sport, desire to grow and build, and care for me and my family.
Amanda Herald: Hans Schroeder, for always giving me as much as I can handle.
Broderick Hicks: Elizabeth Lindsey, because she taught me a ton.
Bill Hudock: Kit Geis, executive vice president, Genseco. She took a chance with me and taught me a lot.
Martin Jarmond: Gene Smith because he’s the best and I was blessed to work closely with him.
Shelby Jordan: Kevin Rieger (AEG) — he is not only a great mentor and I admire his preparation and dedication. Dave Hatheway (Legends) — his confidence in and support of me has allowed me to succeed.
Stephanie Joukoff: Julie Coppernoll, my current boss. She is deeply technical and a visionary on the intersection between technology, partners and the experience.
Tucker Kain: My father, Bob Kain. Given his role in building the sports industry into what it is today, having him as a resource is amazing.
Matt Kalish: Jason Robins, by far. He’s so strong on so many fronts. Everything from the consumer side through to fundraising and dealing with investors.
Brian Kantarian: Scott Milleisen and Arlen Kantarian (my father). Scott taught me how to effectively balance the interests of our clients and shareholders. My father has always been my biggest supporter and sounding board throughout my career.
Tim Katz: Russell Wolff. Russell helped me land my first job at ESPN and showed me how important it was to both love what you do and give back to your community.
Christopher Lee: Rick Welts. We didn’t work together long, but he made a lasting impression on me.
Zach Leonsis: My dad. I’ve learned a significant amount about how to treat others and how to operate effectively from him. The experiences that he’s able to share with me from his previous roles at major media companies are invaluable.
Devi Mahadevia: Dan Reed. He has been an incredible manager, friend and mentor who has pushed me to take on new challenges outside my comfort zone. Melissa Brenner. She has always taken the time to listen and share her perspectives on balancing life and career goals as a female in sports.
Will McIntosh: Mike McCarley. He’s taught me quite a bit about product excellence, the TV business generally, building a network/relationships, art of presentation/public speaking, being a visionary.
Chad Menefee: Rich Luker. No one is more passionate about their work and this business than he is. It’s a privilege to have had him as a mentor for 10 years.
Nate Nanzer: There are some incredibly impressive people in the industry that I have been lucky enough to watch work and spend some time with — Peter Moore, now CEO of LFC; Jonathan Kraft of the Kraft Group; and Steve Cohen of AEG.
Peter Nelson: Our CEO, who took a chance and first hired me.
Ashley Page: Tim Pernetti. He has been a tremendous client, friend and mentor to me in helping me learn the ropes of the heavily relationship-driven and nuanced business that is college sports.
Jake Reynolds: Scott O’Neil. He has taught me, challenged me, guided me and supported me.
Whalen Rozelle: Riot Games co-founder Brandon Beck. His guidance was formative in my professional development as a leader in a new industry, especially in the early days of our sport.
Patrick Ryan: My two business partners Ignacio Cubero and George Postolos. The three of us take such a different approach to the business that it has resulted in some really creative and special partnerships with our teams.
Frank Saviano: Joe Leccese, a mentor who has trusted me, taught me to practice law at the highest level and is always there to listen and share advice.
Rob Schneider: Greg Brown for demonstrating the power of love in the workplace.
Daniel Sillman: Stephen Ross, Peter Guber, Maverick Carter. They taught me professionalism, vision and what it means to think big.
Sara Slane: Jim Murren and Geoff Freeman.
Joe Smith: Charles Greenstein. He has demonstrated that you can be successful through authenticity, integrity and honesty.
Fabian Stechel: I have been immensely fortunate to work with a large number of highly talented senior executives, including colleagues and clients as well as folks on the other side of the table.
Eric Sudol: Mike Redlick, my first boss in sports. He took a chance on me and I am forever grateful — R.I.P. Chad Estis: Receiving this honor is a direct reflection of him. The Jones Family: They are not only some of the best people you will ever encounter, they are some of the most genuine and caring people.
Morgan Sword: Dan Halem.
Keli Zinn: Gordon Gee, Shane Lyons, Oliver Luck, Debbie Yow, Stan Wilcox have all been instrumental. Stan at the Big East, Debbie at Maryland, and Oliver, Shane and President Gee at WVU. They are all examples of the impact you can have on someone by recognizing their potential and empowering them to succeed.