SportsPro's fortnightly virtual conference series
In an industry first, leading experts will gather in a fortnightly virtual conference series to discuss the most important topics facing the business of sports.
Attendees will get free access to SportsPro’s unrivalled network and hear first-hand how the industry’s disruptors have overcome their challenges. Each session is free to attend and will go deeper than any virtual event has before, addressing subjects such as esports, sustainability, broadcast, digital strategy, sponsorship, women’s sport and much more.
Don’t miss the next virtual event on 4 November, 1 – 5pm BST.
Insider Series in numbers
Communication Manager, UEFA Foundation for Children
Sally received a full academic scholarship to study a Masters in Business specialising in Sport Management at Griffith University in Australia in 2007. Since graduating, Sally has worked in sport management for the last twelve years in a variety of roles and has experience working in professional football at the highest level, including Protocol Manager for the AFC Asian Cup Australia, Head of Fan Engagement and Marketing for Melbourne City Football Club and Wellington Phoenix Football Club, Project Manager for Football Federation Australia and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. In 2018, Sally took up a role as Online Promotion Manager for UEFA Euro 2020 and is currently working as Communication Manager for the UEFA Foundation for Children.
Professional Squash Association
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) is the global governing body responsible for the administration of both men’s and women’s professional squash around the world. With over 1,000 registered players and more than 600 events taking place around the globe every year, the PSA World Tour, the PSA Challenger Tour and the WSF & PSA Satellite Tour – all managed and run by the PSA – showcases the game of squash at its highest level in some of the world’s most unique and stunning locations.
Alex first joined the organization as a Board Director in 2002 when he was still an active squash professional on the tour. Shortly after his retirement as a player Alex became the Chief Operating Officer of PSA in June 2008, dedicating his time to furthering the growth of the sport that had played such an important role in his life. In February 2009, Alex was appointed CEO of PSA.
Alex was instrumental in creating and setting up of SQUASHTV and its subsequent commercial success.
As a player, Alex was on the professional squash circuit for 15 years. He was ranked in the world’s top ten for over 28 months and achieved his highest world ranking of 5 in July 1998. During his illustrious career he won a total of 10 World Tour titles and a Bronze Medal in the men’s singles event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. He also represented Wales well over 120 times, the highlight being when Wales narrowly missed out to Egypt in the final of the World Team Championships in 1999 in Cairo.
Alex also holds a 1st Class Honors degree in Mathematics from the University of Wales in Cardiff.
Spurs Sports and Entertainment
RC Buford was named CEO of Spurs Sports and Entertainment in July of 2019, leading the business operations for each of the sports franchises owned and operated by Spurs Sports & Entertainment – the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), Austin Spurs (NBA G League) and San Antonio FC (USL Championship), as well as the operations of the AT&T Center and Toyota Field. Prior to being named CEO, Buford held the role of president of sports franchises for SS&E from 2008-19 and served as the general manager of the Spurs while overseeing the sports administration for the other three teams in the SS&E family. He has twice been named the NBA’s executive of the Year in 2014 and 2016. Buford started his professional career as an assistant coach at the University of Kansas in 1983, and during each of his five seasons at Kansas the Jayhawks participated in the NCAA Tournament. Buford was on the coaching staff for the team that won the 1988 NCAA Championship as well as the 1985–86 squad that advanced to the Final Four. He made the move to the NBA in the summer of 1988, joining the Spurs as an assistant coach on Larry Brown’s staff (other assistants on that staff included Gregg Popovich, Alvin Gentry and Ed Manning) and spent four seasons as an assistant with the Spurs. During that time San Antonio won back-to-back Midwest Division titles (1990 and 1991). Buford joined the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 1992 as the first assistant for Coach Brown, and then served as an assistant coach at the University of Florida during the 1993–94 season (as the team advanced to the Final Four for the first time in school history). He returned to San Antonio in the summer of 1994 when Popovich hired him as the team’s head scout, and in the summer of 1997 became the Spurs director of scouting. Buford was then promoted to vice president/assistant general manager in the summer of 1999 and was named the Spurs general manager in July of 2002. Buford played collegiate basketball at Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State before receiving his degree from Friends University. He is involved in the NBA Basketball Without Borders Africa camp and in 2015 became an Advisory board member for Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (COLE) at Duke University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of PeacePlayers International. Buford’s wife, Beth, is a former player on the LPGA Tour. Together, they are active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). They have a son, Chase, and a daughter, C.C. In 2004 they welcomed Alexis Wangmene from Cameroon to their family after meeting through the Basketball Without Borders program in Johannesburg. In 2007, Samer Jassar from Israel joined the Buford family after being introduced through PeacePlayers International.
National Women's Soccer League
Lisa Baird, Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), oversees all operations for the NWSL with a focus on growing revenues and audience while elevating the profile of the league globally. Baird joined the NWSL in March 2020 from New York Public Radio (NYPR), where she served as the Chief Marketing Officer for more than a year. Prior to NYPR, Baird spent a decade as the Chief Marketing Officer at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. During her tenure with the USOPC, Baird played the leading role securing broadcast, sponsorship and licensing deals and launched the iconic Team USA brand. She became the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Licensing for the National Football League (NFL) in 2005 and continued to grow the most commercially successful sports league in the United States, directing the NFL’s consumer products, entertainment marketing and advertising programs. She was named the 2011 WISE Woman of the Year for making a significant impact on the business of sports and was recognized in the 2011 Sports Business Journal’s inaugural class of “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business.” More recently, she was named to the 2016 Business Insider TOP 50 Most Innovative Global CMO’s and most recently in 2019 as an OpCon Top 50 Marketer.
Senior Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs
Kimberly Davis is a trailblazer and change agent, positively disrupting the financial industry and wide world of sports over her illustrious 30+ year career. Well-regarded as a resilient and visionary leader, Davis brings change to life through sound strategic planning and strong organizational development. She is an inspirational storyteller, an architect of coalitions and a culture builder, with a style that empowers others and a belief that successful business contributes to healthy, vibrant communities. Driven by both data and a passion for progress, she has consistently provided structure and glide paths for organizations to realize their potential for sustainable business growth.
Currently, as Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs at the National Hockey League – the premier professional ice hockey league in the world – Davis has set the League on a new course to attract, retain and develop fans, with a specific focus on multi-cultural audiences. Reporting to Commissioner Gary Bettman, she is positively influencing and impacting the decisions of 32 NHL Club owners and executives relating to culture, youth participation and social impact, in an effort to improve access and availability of the sport and grow the League’s business for the long-term.
Previously, as Senior Managing Director, Teneo Consulting Worldwide, Davis led the firm’s leadership development and corporate responsibility practice, where she advised Fortune 500 companies, CEOs and cultural icons, including Billie Jean King. She advised the tennis legend on the creation of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative – a partnership with CEOs to advance gender diversity and pay equity.
Prior to Teneo, Davis enjoyed more than two decades at JPMorgan Chase where she most recently served as Managing Director of Global Corporate Social Responsibility, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Ms. Davis has been recognized by Hockey News’ “2020 Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in the sport,” Essence Magazine’s “Woke” – 2019 Change Agents, Adweek’s “30 Most Powerful Women in Sports,” Sports Business Journal’s “GameChangers,” and Savoy Magazine’s “Most Influential Women in Corporate America.” She has received other notable recognitions including Savoy Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” and showcased in Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” In 2012, she was profiled with First Lady Michelle Obama in Essence magazine’s “28 Most Influential Black Women in America.”
Kim currently serves on the boards of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Communities in Schools (National) and Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) She is a former Trustee of Spelman College and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Institute.
Davis earned a B.A. in Economics from Spelman College and has completed the Aspen Institute’s Executive
Chief Brand Officer
Stephanie McMahon is Chief Brand Officer of WWE, a publicly-traded (NYSE: WWE) global media company. In this role, she is responsible for WWE’s Brand, Community Relations, and Pop Culture strategy, which includes celebrity integrations and partnerships within the entertainment industry. Stephanie represents the company as its global brand ambassador, and also plays a character who appears regularly on WWE programming.
Among her many contributions, Stephanie has been the driving force behind WWE’s women’s evolution, which has given female performers an equal share of the spotlight both in and out of the ring. Prior to being named Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie was Executive Vice President, Creative and was responsible for overseeing the Digital and Creative Departments. She was also the first woman to lead WWE’s Talent Relations, Talent Brand Management and Live Events businesses.
Call of Duty League
Johanna Faries serves as Commissioner of Call of Duty League for Activision Blizzard, Inc., overseeing league and business operations across Call of Duty’s global esports presence. In addition, Faries is a senior leader advisor to Activision’s African-American, Black & Friends Employee Network.
A veteran of the sports world, Faries was previously at the National Football League for 12 years in New York City, prior to joining Activision Blizzard Inc. in 2018. Faries is a trailblazer in the sports community and has been recognized on Adweek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports list and Fortune’s most influential young business leaders on the annual 40 Under 40.
A graduate of Harvard University, she was a recipient of a Senior Leadership Award for being a “face of excellence at Harvard”. Faries grew up a multi-sport athlete in Potomac, Maryland, has lived abroad in both Israel and the Dominican Republic, and is also a professional singer-songwriter. She resides with her husband and two sons in Palos Verdes Estates, CA.