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Volume 22 No. 27
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Sianneh Mulbah, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx

Photo: David Sherman Photography

Every team in every league in every country has one major thing in common: people. It’s why another commonality is that all teams, sports or otherwise, have human resources departments.

 

Sianneh Mulbah

Chief People OfficerMinnesota Timberwolves and Lynx

Born: St. Paul, Minn.

Education: Bemidji State University, B.S., applied psychology; Concordia University, St. Paul, M.S., organizational development-HR, and MBA

With Sianneh Mulbah overseeing all aspects of people and culture, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx have seen firsthand what a difference HR can make.

Mulbah, who joined the Timberwolves and Lynx in 2011, has taken the teams’ HR department to new heights. “We’ve really evolved from pushing paperwork to now being a strategic partner at the executive table,” she said. 

One of the biggest changes Mulbah has brought is as simple as a more inclusive, open and enjoyable work environment. She has led a culture shift, bringing a more flexible organization from top to bottom, and helping raise employee satisfaction from 13% to 92%, according to a pair of surveys, each by a different vendor.

“People need to feel like they can bring their whole self to work, and if you’re not, then you’re not being fulfilled,” she said.

From being a part of the decision to hire Gersson Rosas, Timberwolves president of basketball operations, as the first Latino to lead an NBA front office, to establishing more transparent and equitable pay, to better facilitating and integrating the people in the organization with the business goals, Mulbah is leading the HR revolution in Minneapolis. — John Aceti

Getting to know...

Favorite day-off activity: Spending time with my kids and scrolling through Pinterest for my next DIY project.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: I always have a plan, even when we aren’t supposed to have one.

Misperception of working in sports business: You can’t be a parent and be successful in the industry. The key is finding a blend that works for you and communicating it to those around you!

Woman in sports business you’d like to meet: Cathy Engelbert, WNBA commissioner. She recently visited our market and I was blown away by her background and vision for the future, her desire for palpable change for the better and her candor of bettering the lives of our players. Her goals align closely with the goals I have for our staff.