Global Sport Institute

Global Sport Institute, pro sport executives assemble for parity in play and pay

By

Suzanne Wilson

The Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University is convening with sports business executives to launch Pro Sports Assembly — a 501(c)(3) organization and first-of-its-kind, industrywide community that aims to achieve parity in opportunity, pay and leadership in the professional sports workforce by 2030.

Designed to keep leagues, teams and unions both knowledgeable and accountable for delivering an equitable and profitable future in professional sports organizations, The Assembly is a membership-led community that challenges its industry to advance diverse and inclusive leadership. It believes that by developing cultural and gender intelligence, as well as setting best practices of stewardship, mentorship and allyship, professional sports properties can drive innovation, bolster financial performance, capture new markets and increase brand loyalty.

“We are united in game plan, and diverse in council,” said Shareef Abdur-Rahim, president of NBA G League and founding advisory board member of The Assembly. “We organized our founding boards to represent the diversity that our industry-at-large needs to see. In order to truly advance collectively — we must use an equity lens in leadership.”

In its first year, The Assembly will formalize its member network and provide professional development, as well as hold virtual forums, workshops and discussions. In addition, it will commission research, share tools and develop analytics around key indicators in professional sports to distribute among the membership as a benchmark and playbook toward ensuring a more fairly functioning workplace.

“At the core of the Global Sport Institute’s mission is to make a positive impact on the world through the lens of sport,” said Kenneth Shropshire, CEO of the Global Sport Institute and board member of The Assembly. “Through research projects like our field studies, we’ve been able to examine the trends that precede the hiring data for important leadership positions in sport. In this work and in future initiatives, we are keenly aligned with Pro Sports Assembly and its purpose of working toward a more equitable future in sport.”

The Assembly believes membership will be key to its purpose of advancing diverse, productive and inclusive leadership.

“For every five athletes you see on the field of play, there are 95 people behind the scenes bringing that game to life,” said Laura Dixon, head of external relations for Spurs Sports and Entertainment and founding governing board member of The Assembly. “The people who work for professional sports teams, leagues and unions now have a place to connect and collaborate on the critical issues facing our industry. The power of pro sports is truly in its people.”

Below is a complete list of The Assembly’s Founding Board Members (in alphabetical order):

Advisory board members

Andy Loughnane, president, Austin FC

Cynt Marshall, CEO, Dallas Mavericks

Ese Ighedosa, president, House of Athlete

Hugh Weber, president, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment

Jessica Berman, deputy commissioner, National Lacrosse League

Kenneth Shropshire, CEO, Global Sport Institute, Arizona State University

Kyle Bunch, vice president/managing director, Global Sports Venture Studios

Len Perna, CEO, Turnkey Search

Michele Roberts, executive director, National Basketball Players Association

Shareef Abdur-Rahim, president, NBA G-League

Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient

Theresa Tran, founder, The Offense

Tom Glick, president, Tepper Sports & Entertainment

Xavier Gutierrez, CEO, Arizona Coyotes

Governing board members

Alex Chang, chief marketing officer, San Francisco 49ers

Alison Roscoe, vice president, partnerships, Austin FC

Ann Seeney, vice president, human resources, St. Louis Cardinals

Antony Bonavita, executive vice president, venue operations, Cleveland Cavaliers

Brandon James, vice president of basketball administration/deputy general counsel, Spurs Sports and Entertainment

Brittanie Boyd, vice president, corporate partnerships, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment

Cassandra Carr, investor, Spurs Sports and Entertainment

Dan Gladstone, senior vice president, THINK450/National Basketball Players Association

Dionna Widder, chief revenue officer, Houston Dynamo/Houston Dash

Keisha Wyatt, director of marketing, Dallas Mavericks

Laura Dixon, head of external relations, Spurs Sports and Entertainment

Molly Wurdack-Folt, vice president, partnerships, Detroit Tigers/Detroit Red Wings

Oracio Galindo, head of employee experience, Los Angeles Rams

Raquel “Rocky” Egusquiza, executive director, Miami Marlins Foundation

Contact Lindsay Hansen at 480-205-6195 or lindsay@ldhconsulting.net for more information.