SportsPro's virtual event series
The go-to place to connect, engage with and learn from sports’ global leaders.
Uniting thousands of sports professionals from 112 countries, the series has returned in 2021 to tackle the most urgent topics facing the business of sports. Join us online to hear how sports leaders are overcoming their challenges, and to secure the frameworks and new thinking allowing their organizations to thrive.
Each session is free-to-attend, with upcoming events in the 2021 schedule set to address; Esports, Matchday Experience, Sponsorship, OTT & Broadcast and much more.
Esports & Gaming
Understand the growth and opportunities of esports as it reshapes entertainment.
19 May | 1pm – 4pm BST
Guidance to keep your fans safe, engaged and spending in a post-pandemic world.
16 June | 1pm – 4pm BST
Discover the hybrid sponsorships dominating a blurred world of physical and digital.
July 21 | 1pm – 4pm BST
OTT & Broadcast – A New Age of Sports
August 18 | 1pm – 4pm BST
With nearly 30 years of sport entertainment experience under her belt, Micky Lawler was appointed President of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in the fall of 2014 and is responsible for driving the WTA’s international growth strategy, business development, marketing, new fan engagement programs, and member & industry relations. The WTA is the global leader in women’s professional sport with more than 2,500 players representing 92 nations competing for a record $130 million in prize money at the WTA’s 57 events and four Grand Slams in 33 countries.
During her nearly three decades in sport entertainment, Lawler has played an important role in expanding the geographic footprint of women’s tennis, including the development of important initiatives in China. She has driven growth in several aspects of the tennis business including athletes, events, sponsorship sales and consultancy. In addition, she has provided strong strategic leadership during her 11 years as a WTA Board member, a role to which she dedicated an enormous amount of time in recent years.
She is known for her big-thinking, innovative initiatives and ground-breaking business development skills and was on the WTA Board when equal prize money as well as record breaking sponsorship and television partnerships were secured. Lawler began her career in sports in 1986 as a Communications Liaison for the Men’s Tennis Council, the predecessor to the ATP World Tour. She joined Advantage International (now Octagon) in 1988 as one of the first female agents in the industry and quickly made her mark in the representation business with her work for Alberto Mancini, Richard Krajicek, Paul Haarhuis, Amelie Mauresmo and several other top athletes.
Born in The Netherlands, Lawler is a certified simultaneous and consecutive language interpreter. She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from The American College in Paris and has a Masters in Applied Linguistics from the University of Delaware. She was named a “Game Changer: Women in Sports Business” by the Sports Business Journal in 2012, recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of their “Women Who Mean Business” honorees in 2009 and recipient of the Warsaw-Thurston Award by the University of Oregon’s College of Business in 2012. Having lived in nine different countries across South America, Central America, Europe, Africa and the United States, Lawler is fluent in Dutch, Spanish, French, German and English.
She is the mother of three children, Charlotte, Trevor and Juliette.
Senior Marketing Manager & NBA Lead
Erica Smith is currently Senior Marketing Manager on the PepsiCo Sports Team, leading NBA. Since joining PepsiCo in 2017, she has also held roles on the Doritos brand and Tostitos and Dips innovation teams in the Frito-Lay division of the company.
Erica earned her MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and BBA from Howard University. Prior to business school, Erica worked in the media and marketing research industries at global research leader Nielsen.
President of Business Operations
Danita Johnson, President of Business Operations for D.C. United
Danita Johnson recently joined Major League Soccer club, D.C. United, as their President of Business Operations, making her the first Black President of an MLS Club and only the third woman in league history to serve in this role.
Johnson joins D.C. United with 15 years of experience in the sports industry, including several roles in the WNBA, NBA, and NBA G League, specializing in revenue generation, community programs, and digital media and marketing. Most recently, during her time with the Los Angeles Sparks, Johnson led the organization to a league-best in corporate sponsorship dollars earned and launched the annual #WeAreWomen campaign, which drew a historic attendance of 19,000 to Staples Center for a WNBA game. Additionally, under her leadership, the organization saw a 50% increase in ticket sales from 2014-2017 and led the WNBA in attendance in 2017 and 2019, including a 17.8% increase in fans per game in the 2017 season, her first as President and COO.
Prior to her time in Los Angeles, Johnson developed and led the Ticket Sales and Service department for the Washington Mystics while with Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Johnson also boasts NBA experience with the Los Angeles Clippers and played a pivotal role in launching professional basketball franchises, the Bakersfield Jam.
A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina and a graduate of Western Carolina University, Johnson sits on the board of the Share Winter Foundation, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a WISE Within Mentor.
Head of Player Engagement
Kick it out
Vice President of Integrated Marketing
Keisha Wright is Vice President, Integrated Marketing for THINK450, the partnership and innovation engine of the National Basketball Players Association. An expert brand strategist, Keisha has generated millions of dollars in revenue for Fortune 500 companies through the creation of strategic alliances with well-known consumer brands. Keisha has worked for the Brooklyn Nets, Macy’s, the NBA, InStyle Magazine, and MTV Networks, helping them to create and launch multi-platform marketing campaigns, inclusive of cause marketing initiatives, branded content, immersive events, and grassroots experiences which bring brands to life. Keisha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Stanford University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Pepperdine University. Prior to her career as a marketing executive, Keisha spent 10 years in the field of Education, as both a teacher and lead curriculum developer for the University of California 4-H After School Activity Program where she created enrichment programs for children living in and near public housing communities throughout Los Angeles County. During her tenure with the University of California, she received the Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Award for Excellence. Keisha currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and 14-year-old son.
Co-Partner & Director for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Edleen John (FCIPD) is the International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director at The Football Association. Edleen is also a multi-award-winning diversity, inclusion, belonging and culture expert and consultant.
Edleen is a British-born Sierra Leonean, who grew up in South-East London after moving back from Sierra Leone to the UK as a toddler. She attended non-selective comprehensive schools in Lewisham, before completing her MA (Cantab) in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge and it was through experience of her own personal life journey that her passion for diversity and inclusion was born.
She started her career as an Investment Banker at Lehman Brothers working in Debt Capital Markets and has held a variety of revenue-generating and support-function permanent roles across the Financial Services sector including Insurance Broking at Lloyd’s of London, Graduate Recruitment at Nomura, Vice President at Morgan Stanley and as a Director and the Co-Head of Inclusion, Diversity and Social Equality at KPMG.
Edleen is engaging, open and thought-provoking and shares her experience and knowledge of the challenges, benefits and solutions to diversity and inclusion within organisations having had experience as an employee and as a Consultant across sectors ranging from Financial Services to Retail, and from PR to Government Bodies. She shares pragmatic and tangible solutions for institutions and organisations to change the representation and culture at every stage of their employee life-cycle through training, advice and coaching. Edleen has shared her insights via multiple platforms, including podcasts, media interviews, at school/university campuses, diversity conferences and as a speaker at events for some of the world’s largest companies – with all sessions aiming to inspire, challenge and educate.
Besides her day job, Edleen is a School Governor at a community special school for young people with severe and profound disabilities, a Director of Tech Talent Charter, an International Trustee for Restless Development Charity and sits on the DIAL Global Advisory Board and the McKenzie-Delis Packer Review.
Aside from successful career milestones such as being the youngest person to be promoted to Vice President within HR EMEA at Morgan Stanley or being the youngest and only Black Director in the People function in the time she was at KPMG, Edleen has a number of accolades to her name including being a ‘We Are The City’ Rising Star in HR and Recruitment ; a Yahoo! Finance EMpower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leader; a Top Ten BAME Inspirational Leader and a shortlisted National Diversity Award winner for a Positive Age Role model.
Black Collective of Media in Sports
Leon is one of the most respected and well-connected operators in the sports industry.
He began his career at Kick Racism Out of Football in 2002, before establishing himself as a leading broadcaster and film-maker for both BBC Sport and ITV Sport. As a consultant, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the sports industry and also helped respected sports authorities communicate effectively with their audiences.
Leon is a founder of the Black Collective of Media in Sport, Football Black List and the Sports People’s Think Tank – he is also the vice-chair of the Sports Journalists Association.
He is an innovator and passionate leader who has dedicated his professional career to helping to improve the sport and media industries.
Former England Women's National Team Player & Football Analyst
Lianne has amassed a wealth of experience playing for England, Arsenal, Chelsea, Philadelphia Union, Boston Breakers and Juventus.
The London-born striker broke into the Arsenal first team aged 15 and went on to win five Women’s’ Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the UEFA Cup.
Lianne won 50 caps for England scoring 15 goals and was part of the Lionesses squad who finished third in the 2015 World Cup in Canada.
She now connects with football fans around the world as a hugely respected analyst for Sky Sports, BBC, talkSPORT and the Premier League channel
Insider Series so far
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“Fantastic way to bring the industry together, drive development and stimulate thought during a testing time”
"A truly global sports happening... hope to see more virtual event series from you in future!"