Inclusion and opportunity in the sports business: The diversity dividend | Join our free digital round table

Inclusion and opportunity in the sports business: The diversity dividend

Join our free digital round table

Wednesday July 29, 2020. 14:00 hrs (UK)

Recent events have turned the spotlight back onto issues of racial equality and opportunity across all areas of life and in business.

Tony Simpson

In sport much of the talent which fuels the sector is of BAME origin, but these groups are under-represented in the executive ranks and in the boardrooms of sports clubs, Federations and agencies.

Our discussion will focus on inclusivity and diversity issues in the sports business through the eyes of senior executives who have lived the experience.

The discussion will be moderated by Tony Simpson, partner and head of sport and media practice, Savannah Group. He is a trustee of the Black Cultural Archives, and an advisory Board member for Special Olympics GB.

He has, for the first time, gathered a group of senior BAME executives in the sports sector to discuss the issues they have faced personally, those which impact others and how the current lack of inclusion and diversity impacts the sector.

They will go on to discuss solutions and explain why inclusivity and diversity is good for business and examine strategies for ensuring diversity and the resultant business dividends are not simply discussed but delivered.

The panel

Jason Gardener MBE, president, UK Athletics

Jason Gardener MBE

Jason Gardener MBE is one of the UK’s greatest sprinters. He won gold in the 4x100m relay at the Athens Olympics (2004), is one of very few to have run 100m in under 10 seconds and represented Great Britain at the highest level in international athletics for 14 years. During an illustrious career he held Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European titles. Jason was awarded an MBE for services to sport in 2005 and received the Freedom of the City of Bath in 2006.

Since retiring from track and field in 2007, Jason has become a senior business professional within the sports industry. He is the president of UK Athletics and director of Team Super Schools & DC-Sport. Previous roles include, advising Red Bull on Olympic brand strategy, consultant for the University of Bath, has ambassador roles with the Youth Sport Trust and United Learning.

Jason has served as a director on the London Marathon Charitable Trust and has spent seven years as a non-executive director of UK Athletics. He supports a number of charities and enjoys being active and traveling.

Yath Gangakumaran, director of strategy and business development, Formula 1

Yath Gangakumaran

Yath leads the strategy and business development department at Formula 1, providing long-term strategic direction for the sport as it aims to better engage fans around the world and drive commercial performance.

His team also created the sport’s first ever sustainability strategy – an ambitious plan to be net zero carbon by 2030 and have all races qualify as sustainable events by 2025. They are leading the charge to make Formula 1 more diverse and inclusive by developing initiatives that strike at systemic barriers to entry.

Prior to Formula 1, Yath was a senior strategist at Sky Sports and Strategy Consultant at PwC, advising media and sports organisations on corporate strategy. He holds an MA (Oxon) Economics and Management from the University of Oxford.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, chief executive, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley is an Olympic gold medallist and accomplished business executive. She is an established, high-profile, international leader in the sports and non-profit sectors. Benita recently served as the chief executive of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, she has also worked with the United States Olympic Committee as chief of organizational excellence/chief operating officer, and as chief of sport performance for USA Track & Field – leading Team USA in winning the most medals in 20 years at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Named in 2019 Notable Women in Sports by Crain’s New York Business, and a 2015 Game Changer by the Sports Business Journal, Benita also serves on the International Olympic Committee Sport and Active Society Commission.

A world-class athlete, Benita won a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, making her the second American woman and the first African American woman to accomplish this feat. She was a member of the 1980 and 1984 US Olympic Teams, an alternate on the 1988 US Olympic Team, a gold medallist in the 1983 Pan American Games, an eight-time national champion and a 14-time NCAA All-American.

William Louis Marie, chief executive, World Squash

William Louis-Marie

William Louis-Marie has been the chief executive of the World Squash Federation for the last 6 months. Formerly, he was the executive director of the International Boxing Federation (AIBA), an International Federation he joined after officiating in Baku, Azerbaijan, as the communications director of the inaugural 2015 European Games. He started his career as the communication manager of the Coca-Cola Company in France for which he worked in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games and also for the 1998 Fifa World Cup organised in France.

William Louis-Marie is passionate about sports and has managed organisations in the sporting field and contributed to key initiatives on an international level for more than 20 years.

Michael Bolingbroke, former chief executive officer, FC Internazionale Milan; and chief operating officer, Manchester United

Michael Bolingbroke

Michael Bolingbroke was most recently chairman of Goals Soccer Centre, an operator of small sided football clubs across the UK, and Blackpool FC. Previously, he was an executive chairman for Superstruct Entertainment, where he remains as a Consultant. Prior to this, Michael held a position as a chief executive of Inter Milan Football Club (2014-16), where his scope of responsibilities spanned the entire business, both on and off the pitch. Before joining Inter Milan, Michael was chief operating officer at Manchester United FC, a position he held seven years.

Prior to working in football, Michael spent six years as senior vice-president, shows, at Cirque du Soleil, where he managed strategy, profitability and operations for the global business. Earlier in his career, he was a senior-vice president, operations, at The Jim Henson Organisation. Michael’s first role was as an audit manager at PwC and he is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. His BA degree is from Reading University. Michael has lived and worked in Canada, the US, Holland, Italy and the UK.


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