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Volume 22 No. 19
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Forty Under 40: Devi Mahadevia

Photo: facebook

Devi Mahadevia did not follow the traditional career path of a sports industry executive. But the power of technology has always resonated with her, which is why after the 9/11 terrorist attacks she spent the first five years of her career at Lockheed Martin supporting the country’s national security and intelligence efforts.

North America Sports Programming Lead, Facebook

Age: 37

Born: Baltimore

Education: University of Maryland, B.S., information systems and statistics; Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, MBA

Family: husband, Michael Huang; child, Baby Mahahuang, ETA March 2019

You wish you knew 10 years ago: Most people chase success at work, thinking that will make them happy. The truth is that happiness at work will make you successful.

Profession you’d most like to attempt: Entrepreneur or DJ, or both. 

Guilty pleasure: Taco Bell.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: Claiming that I would be a good DJ.

Could not go a day without: My library of music / Spotify playlists. 

Cause supported: PeacePlayers International. 

Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: Serena Williams.

Sports industry needs to do a better job of …: Supporting diversity in leadership positions.

Most thrilling/adventurous thing you’ve done: Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro.

It was there that she learned how technology can develop new businesses and change the direction of traditional industries. That knowledge led her to pursue a career in media and make what she deems her most important career move — taking a job with Comcast Interactive Media.

“Comcast gave me a solid foundation in traditional media distribution and technology,” Mahadevia said. “I worked on their regional sports networks and I was completely fascinated to learn how sports impacted cyber growth, advertising models and overall technology.”

At Facebook, she has been integral in the company’s efforts to add live sports content. From structuring Facebook Watch deals with MLB and the NFL to landing partnerships with the WWE and World Surf League, her work helps partners grow, engage and monetize their global fan bases while supporting Facebook’s mission of bringing people closer together through the power of sports.

“It’s been pretty cool to see how Facebook Watch puts people at the center of the social viewing experience so they can follow the content that they care about, start conversations with friends over videos they’re watching and, most importantly, building a community for people who share similar interests,” Mahadevia said. 

She concedes that with the increasing number of entertainment options, there are more challenges to people’s attention spans and overall fan growth for various properties.

“It’ll be interesting to see how companies creatively evolve their product and businesses to support this short attention span and, hopefully, leveraging platforms like Facebook to achieve that,” she said.