BSP, RISE Announce Participants for Sports Business Executive Accelerator

National Mentoring Program Designed to Drive Readiness of Future Senior Leadership

The National Society of Black Sports Professionals (BSP), a leading sports business professional development resource and RISE, the national non-profit coalition of major U.S. sports leagues and media networks that uses sports to eliminate racism and champion social justice, have announced the mentor and mentee participants in the inaugural cohort of the Sports Business Executive Accelerator. 

This Sports Business Executive Accelerator is designed to foster personal and business-oriented professional growth by connecting experienced leaders with high-potential, mid-career mentees. The focus of the program is to guide the mentees in refining and honing the skills that deliver measurable business growth while identifying what steps are needed as their responsibilities and influence within their organization expands.

During NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, BSP and RISE will take the cohort of mentees through a half-day seminar, hosted at the NCAA National Office. The inaugural executive mentors and mentees are as follows:

Accelerator Executive Mentors

Ashton Henderson | Deputy AD of Championship Resources and Culture – Michigan State University

Bryan Blair | Vice President and Director of Athletics – University of Toledo

Courtney Moore | Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Los Angeles Dodgers

Darryl Morton | General Manager – Learfield

Deana Garner | Sr. Associate AD, Title IX and Inclusive Excellence – Arizona State University

Desiree Reed-Francois | Director of Athletics – University of Missouri

Dionna Widder | Chief Revenue Officer – Nashville Predators

Erika Swilley | Vice President, Community & Social Responsibility – Detroit Pistons

Garin Narain | Executive Vice President & Chief Communications Officer – Atlanta Hawks

Jaia Thomas | Founder + CEO – Diverse Representation

John Ferguson | Chief Human Resource Officer – NASCAR

Kevin Griffin | Associate Vice President/Associate AD for Business Strategy – The Ohio State University

Kristin Bernert | Athlete Advisory Council Advisor & Co-Chair – Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment

Martin Nance | Executive Vice President & CMO – Minnesota Vikings

Nancy Atufunwa | Senior Vice President, Client Services (Olympic & Paralympic Marketing) – Octagon

Nancy Gold | Vice President, Brand Strategy – New Orleans Saints and Pelicans

Raven Jemison | President – Kansas City Current

Sandy Cross | Chief People Officer – PGA of America

Shaun Mayo | Chief Human Resources Officer – Arizona Cardinals

Shonna Brown | Associate Commissioner, Football – Pac-12 Conference

Accelerator Mentees

Alexandria Price | Director, Special Event Operations – Houston Astros

Aneisha Johnson | Director of Member Experience & Retention – Jacksonville Jaguars

Ashley Galbraith | Senior Director, Membership Services – Los Angeles Dodgers

Briana Pompilus | Director of Human Resources – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chaz Coleman | Director of Athletic Operations – University of Cincinnati

Chelsea Hooks | Associate Director, Academic and Membership Affairs – NCAA

Chelsea Ingram | Business Solutions Manager – Columbus Crew

Chevonne Mansfield | Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director – Howard University

CJ SimmonsSenior Manager, Fan Experience – Atlanta Falcons/AMBSE

DaWon Baker | Associate AD for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – University of Colorado

Jamil Gittens | Director, Business Affairs – ESPN

Kendall Peters | Director, Business Analytics – Minnesota Vikings

Marcus Brown | Assistant Director of Academic and Membership Affairs – NCAA

Marissa John | Director of Legal Affairs – Seattle Seahawks

Michael Hepburn | Manager, Arena Talent Experience – Miami Heat

Michael McLendon | Director, Global Partnerships – Atlanta Hawks

Risa Hall | Senior Director, Administration & Major Events – Allstate Sugar Bowl

Shelby Clayton | Senior Business Development Manager – Prime Video Sports

Tiffany Hollins | Senior Corporate Account Manager – Seattle Sounders FC

Tunde Oguntimein | Vice President, Commissioners Office – Major League Soccer

“We are thankful to each Executive mentor, who has lent their time, energy and expertise to this inaugural cohort of the Sports Business Executive Accelerator,” said Shaun Mayo, Accelerator Advisory Committee Chair and Arizona Cardinals Chief Human Resources Officer. “We are looking forward to the program’s launch during NBA All-Star Weekend and the monthly seminars and one-on-one mentoring sessions that will develop and accelerate our mentees.”

“This Accelerator wouldn’t be possible without the many organizations that supported the nominations of their team members,” said RISE Chief Executive Officer Diahann Billings Burford. “We are also indebted to the NCAA for hosting the launch of the Accelerator and their overall collaboration in creating inclusive leaders.”

The Sports Business Executive Accelerator’s model is:

  • Two six-month cohorts will be hosted in 2024 | (February-July) and (July-December)
  • Each cohort will have twenty (20) executive mentees and mentors
  • Mentors host monthly 45-minute 1:1 virtual coaching sessions to:

    • provide guidance/advice to your mentee(s) in your area of expertise
    • share their knowledge/experiences to assist mentees in overcoming challenges in achieving their goals
    • review the career roadmap of the mentee and provide guidance

  • Mentees additionally will participate in monthly virtual group leadership development seminars that are guided discussions led by renowned executives and industry leaders. 

About BSP

BSP has been a career accelerant, connecting, empowering and advancing sports business professionals and students for more than 15 years through local and national programming and events, industry networking opportunities and DEI recruitment, retention, development and advancement support to organizations. The national footprint of BSP chapters includes: Atlanta, Bay Area, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami/South Florida, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/Twin Cities, New Orleans, North Texas, Orlando/Central Florida, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles/SoCal, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C./DMV to date. Follow BSP on LinkedIn, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, or learn more at blacksportsprofessionals.com

About RISE

RISE is a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. Through partnerships and programs, RISE inspires leaders in sports to create positive change on matters of race and equality. RISE’s vision is to create a nation unified through sports committed to racial equity and social justice. Follow RISE on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @RISEtoWIN or learn more at https://risetowin.org.

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