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MEET COHORT

2021 INAUGURAL COHORT


Adrian Guzman
Design & Art
Senior Visual Designer at The Athletic
Adrian Guzman
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Adrian Guzman

Design & Art

Senior Visual Designer at The Athletic

Hello my name is Adrian Guzman, I'm a designer & art director based in Oakland, CA. Born and raised in the Bay Area, a core part of my identity and upbringing comes from being a Latino child of immigrant parents from Mexico and Venezuela. Growing up in a community with a lot of diversity and culture, I was exposed to many different walks of life and experiences, which have greatly shaped who I am today. My love for the game started at a young age. I played soccer for over 20 years, from peewee leagues all the way through college. Alongside this, my interest in art and culture played out through outlets in drawing, fashion and music. I didn't originally envision being able to make a career out of being creative, but a serious injury in my 20's forced me to pause and reflect on my path. I decided to pursue an education in design, built a career for myself and have been fortunate enough to stay close to my passions through a creative career in sports media at The Athletic. With fans across the globe, The Athletic is the fastest-growing digital subscription media outlet in the world. As a lead designer, I've helped grow our presence in North America, the UK and beyond, by driving design initiatives across brand, marketing, editorial, social, audio and partnerships. My goal is to constantly explore and evolve how we express ourselves visually as a company. To that end, I'm proud of the impact I have in pushing our vision forward by bringing fresh design perspectives and ideas to life. If you'd like to connect and view my work you can visit me at www.adrianguz.com
Anthony Hollingsworth
Social Media
Sr Strategist at Laundry Service / Wasserman
Anthony Hollingsworth
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Anthony Hollingsworth

Social Media

Sr Strategist at Laundry Service / Wasserman

Hey, I'm Tony Hollingsworth, a creative strategist helping to shape narratives for sports and cultural brands around the world. As a kid growing up right outside of Chicago in Riverdale, IL, I was inspired by the people in my community who were striving for greatness which encouraged me to push my own story from the margins it was placed in. While in college, I had the opportunity to run Division-1 Track and Field at the University of Illinois at Chicago while earning my degree in English and Rhetoric. After competing, I wanted to tell the stories of athletes with similar backgrounds to my own. During that time, I began to write, penning articles for publications such as Ebony, Complex, and Playboy. However, it's not until working as a staff writer and editor at Scout Media that I realized: the most engaging modern storytelling comes from brands. That drove over six years of content creation experience. I combined my love of sports with my pop-cultural prowess, which allowed me to collaborate with CMOs of yogurt companies during my time as a Digital Brand Manager at Dannon and later with emerging rappers to execute creative campaigns while at UnitedMasters. During the day, I help lead social and creative strategy as an Associate Director for the full-service agency Laundry Service. My work was behind the first live show on SNKRS for Jordan Brand; it helped inform the creative positioning for the NBA G League's Ignite team, and it has fueled countless new business wins for the agency. In my free time, I'm creating projects at LUCIE, my independent creative workshop. Want to connect? Reach out to me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-hollingsworth/)!
Camille Buxeda
Social Media
Sr Content Producer at SLAM
Camille Buxeda
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Camille Buxeda

Social Media

Sr Content Producer at SLAM

My name is Camille Buxeda and I am the Director of WSLAM at SLAM Media Inc. I was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico where my parents lived and I am a fourth-generation Boricua. I later moved and grew up in Orlando, Florida, where I was a competitive gymnast for 15 years. My dad was a professional basketball player in Puerto Rico, which is where my love for the game comes from. After leaving gymnastics and heading to college, I explored working in basketball a bit while at Florida State University, but never considered it as a career option until my senior year. After graduation, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to NYU for a Master's in Sports Business. During my time there, I worked with the Knicks and Liberty in their community relations department but found my love for content creation soon after that role. Upon finishing my master's, I began a position at the WNBA on their social content team. From there I joined SLAM and began their first-ever women's basketball vertical @WSLAM in June of 2019. Beyond my life around the court (literally), I am a lover of dance, music, and all women's sports.
Chanelle Smith-Walker
Design & Art
Director of Football Content at University of Tennessee
Chanelle Smith-Walker
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Chanelle Smith-Walker

Design & Art

Director of Football Content at University of Tennessee

Hi, my name is Chanelle Smith-Walker! I'm a Black photographer, graphic designer and branding professional working in college and professional sports. Originally from Fayetteville, Georgia a small town south of Atlanta, I always had a passion for arts since I was little. During high school, we had a class, Graphic Communications, which sparked my interest in graphic design. I joined this club, Skills USA, where I competed in designed competitions across the state of Georgia. Although I was into art, I was also into sports. I played volleyball and was a cheerleading throughout my youth. Volleyball provided me the opportunity to play in college on a full scholarship to Elon University. Even though I was college athlete, I knew what I wanted be after college, a graphic designer and photographer. Over the years, I worked at numerous universities. I was GA at University of Southern Mississippi before being hired full-time as the Director of Digital and Creative Media. After a brief stint at Baylor University, I went to NC State Football to be the first black female creative director in college football. While working at NC State, I was offered the opportunity to be a freelance designer for the National Championship in 2021. I was part of their first all female design team and was also their first black design they've had for the National Championship. Following my time there, I became the Director of Football Content at the University of Tennessee that made me the first black female creative director in the SEC. I have recently taken the next step in my career to the NFL. I'm currently the team photographer for the Carolina Panthers. To learn more, feel free to connect with me on Twitter @nellez_
Chase Ali-Watkins
Video Production
Associate at Athletes First & Co-Founder of Blackbook University
Chase Ali-Watkins
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Chase Ali-Watkins

Video Production

Associate at Athletes First & Co-Founder of Blackbook University

I am a 23 year old content creator and marketing strategist from Los Angeles, CA. While a senior at UC Berkeley, I co-founded the start-up Blackbook U, an app based platform designed to connect and support Black students in higher education. As Chief Marketing Officer, I spearheaded strategic online marketing and social media campaigns that raised $40,000 dollars of funding within a month. In addition to my work with Blackbook U, I was recruited by the UC Berkeley Athletic Department to create marketing materials and recruiting content to help promote the teams and athletes at Cal. In addition to graphic design, I produced, filmed and edited video packages for delivery to multiple media platforms. Along with my marketing and video production work, I have recently begun creating concept pitch decks for TV and film industry creatives. In the past year, my high quality visual presentations have contributed to winning pitches at Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, FX and AMC, to name a few. I am highly proficient in the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and also has experience with Final Cut, Hootsuite and Notion.
Christian Quezada
Video Production
Sr Video Producer at SLAM
Christian Quezada
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Christian Quezada

Video Production

Sr Video Producer at SLAM

Hi, my name is Christian Quezada! I am a Latino video producer for SLAM Magazine. I currently live in Montclair, New Jersey. I was born in Queens, New York and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I came back to the east coast for college to pursue my dream of working in sports! I also spent a couple of years in the Dominican Republic when I was very young. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do until the first day of my junior year when I took an elective class called, Video Production and Editing. It was something I was immediately drawn too. I haven't looked back ever since. Ironically, my grandfather and many of my uncles worked in this field so the answer was right under my nose the whole time. I began my career at Malka Media, a creative studio that works with many different types of clients, including sports. There I was fortunate enough to work with skilled directors, producers, grips, cinematographers, photographers and video editors, I learned everything there at Malka and after three years I moved onto SLAM Magazine to work with professional and youth basketball players. I instantly fell in love with working with the kids. Since working for SLAM I've documented so many amazing athletes, It has been a dream come true for me. The past two years I've put a ton of my focus into women's basketball. I'm doing my best to help grow the game anyway I can. I'm at the point where I'm most satisfied with my work when I'm either helping people grow their brands or tell their untold stories. You can find my work ChristianQuezada.com!
Christian "CJ" Dear
Social Media
Senior Producer at Fox Sports
Christian
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Christian "CJ" Dear

Social Media

Senior Producer at Fox Sports

Hi, my name is Christian "CJ" Dear. I'm a Senior Producer at Fox Sports 1, working in the social and short form department. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, where I fell in love with sports. Growing up, I was a huge Rams and Cardinals fan. My dream was to play wide receiver in the NFL, win a few Super Bowls and make it to the Hall of Fame, like my hometown hero Isaac Bruce. Even though my dream of playing in the NFL didn't come true, I was still able to make it. After my division III collegiate career concluded at Concordia University Chicago, I interned and worked seasonal as a production assistant at NFL Films. Those experiences helped propel my career in sports media. From there, I worked at NFL Network and Fox Sports 1 where I was able to attend NFL Combines, NFL Drafts and Super Bowls. Everything was full circle; I covered all the events I grew up watching and collaborated with athletes/entertainers on countless projects. The project I'm currently working on and am most proud of, to date, is leading the production for Shannon Sharpe's podcast, Club Shay Shay. In our first season, we were named one of SPOTIFY's Top 20 Sports Podcasts of 2020, nominated for Shorty Awards' Best Podcast and received a YouTube Creator Award after surpassing 77.3 million video views across digital (6.5 million total video views per episode and clips) and 1.4 million audio downloads. To learn more, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn @Christian-Dear, and subscribe to Club Shay Shay on YouTube!
Devin Dismang
Video Production
Freelance EP & Creative Director for Pro Athletes and Brands
Devin Dismang
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Devin Dismang

Video Production

Freelance EP & Creative Director for Pro Athletes and Brands

Hi, my name is Devin Dismang! I'm a Black Executive Producer and Creative Director for Professional Athletes and Brands working with some of the biggest names in the game. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois, where many don't make it out, I made sure to work hard from an early age to reach my goals. Whether it was on the football field and earning a college scholarship to play the game or learning the ins & outs of the sports industry to amplify athlete voices in digital media and production - I always make sure to put my all into whatever has my name attached to it. After my college football career was over and God didn't grant me the height to be an NFL linebacker, I did the next best thing and went to work in the industry of Game Presentation and Production for professional teams such as the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Chicago Sky, Chicago Fire and Oklahoma City Thunder. But one day, I realized my passion for storytelling was building a different path - which led to me becoming the Manager of Production & Lead Producer for the Golden State Warriors, where I was the storyteller for the team during their ‘Golden Years from 2014 to 2019. That experience helped me focus my energy to build what I do today - which is work directly with athletes and brands to tell their stories their way, on their platforms with no filter. Whether it's been through documentarian-style content, social media trends or partnered content - the consistent thread through it all is to make sure the athlete's voice stays true and authentic throughout. Through my work, I have been nominated for fourteen (14) Emmy Awards, have won four (4) Emmys and have won four (4) Telly Awards. Projects include a documentary on 2-time NBA Champion Quinn Cook, the ‘Life in the Bubble' YouTube series for 3-time NBA Champion JaVale McGee, the ‘Inside the Bubble YouTube series for NBA Troy Daniels and a two-part documentary series on the 2017 Golden State Warriors championship journey - to name a small few. To learn more about me or even see some of my projects and/or behind-the-scenes of what I do, feel free to connect with me on the following social platforms: Twitter: @dismayne Instagram: @dismayne YouTube: Devin Dismang Twitch: dismaynegaming
Hollis Brown
Podcasting
Host, Outnumbered Podcast & Sales at Milwaukee Bucks
Hollis Brown
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Hollis Brown

Podcasting

Host, Outnumbered Podcast & Sales at Milwaukee Bucks

Born and raised in the beautiful Savannah, Georgia, I gained an early passion for everything creative and purposeful within this digital age! Through numerous extensive collegiate and professional opportunities, i've been granted the ability to help leading brands achieve their marketing and operational goals by utilizing my skills and growing expertise in experiential planning, analytical analysis to build revenue, and establishing valuable relationships to create memorable guest experiences! Some companies I have been able to work with and learn from include Wasserman, The Aspire Group, Huddle Digital Ticketing, ESPN and most importantly in my current role as a Sales Associate with the Milwaukee Bucks. Every experience in my journey has inspired the creation of the podcast 'Outnumbered with Kelli and Hollis', where Kelli Buhrdorf and I are co hosts on this amazing project. Outnumbered was started to help young professionals master the start of their careers in sports and entertainment through personal stories, lessons learned, interviews, and more as Kelli and I pursue successful careers ourselves.
Isaiah Clarke
Design & Art
Sr Web Designer at LeagueApps
Isaiah Clarke
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Isaiah Clarke

Design & Art

Sr Web Designer at LeagueApps

What's Up! My name is Isaiah (Zay) Clarke! I am a web designer/developer, currently working for LeagueApps, a sports tech company based in New York City. I was proudly born and raised in Brooklyn. As a former two-sport college athlete and educator, I strive every day to set an example to the future creators of color in my community and beyond. At LeagueApps, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most enterprising organizations across youth & professional sports. Within the past 18 months alone, I have proudly designed 125+ brand websites, including youth development-focused projects for the NHL, NBA, and national youth sports organizations. I am inspired to work in this industry, because I know I am helping our partners take their brand, and mission for serving young people, to the next level. More and more digital has become the primary platform for presenting ourselves to the world. It's exciting to leverage my expertise to input the vision of a partner's organization and output a brand identity in its own vision and voice. My passion is for crafting design and art to allow each partner to succeed in reaching new audiences, driving revenue, and creating amazing sports experiences! To learn more, feel free to connect with me on Twitter - @zaymakesit !
J'Ron Erby
Social Media
Social Media Marketing Specialist at ESPN
J'Ron Erby
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J'Ron Erby

Social Media

Social Media Marketing Specialist at ESPN

My name is J'Ron Erby. I am a 27-year-old Black male working in a social media marketing capacity at ESPN, and I have previously worked in the athlete representation space at Wasserman, and have assisted in the public relations departments of multiple NFL teams. I'm originally from the Bay Area, California and currently live in Oakland. The Bay Area is a fast paced, diverse, and gritty area that has played a role in shaping me into the business professional I am today. My acumen, wit, and ability to relate to anyone in the room is thanks to my upbringing and the Bay Area. Currently, I am the Sr. Social Media Specialist at ESPN, serving as a liaison between the social media team and our various marketing properties to ensure the company's biggest events and campaigns are promoted dynamically on social media platforms. I'm proud to say I've been an integral part of the ideation, coordination and execution of a wide array of ESPN/Disney priorities including The Last Dance, Black History Always, the launch of Disney+, Champion Black Businesses, both the 2020 and 2021 NBA Finals, and more. I also serve as the Social Committee Lead for our Marketing Committee, and our Sports-And committee, which is hyper-focused on audience expansion and the intersection of sports and culture. I enjoy the creative nature of my role and the ability to make an impact on the ESPN audience with the content I create. As a former collegiate athlete, I am a huge athlete advocate who has an affinity for athlete brand building both during and following their collegiate and/or professional athletic careers. When I'm not focused on sports, you can find me checking out the latest status of the stock market or listening to Nipsey Hussle and Rexx Life Raj.
Jesse Wu
Design & Art
Director of Graphic Design at USC Athletics
Jesse Wu
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Jesse Wu

Design & Art

Director of Graphic Design at USC Athletics

I'm Jesse Wu and I'm a Los Angeles based content creator currently serving as the Director of Graphic Design for the USC Trojans. I'm originally from the east coast in Maryland (Go Terps!). I grew up around sports and always knew I wanted to work in athletics in some capacity. When sports medicine proved not to be for me, I was introduced to graphic design and the rest is history! I am very fortunate to have worked with big brands inside and outside of the sports industry, including Callaway Golf, NBC Universal, and Health-Ade Kombucha to name a few. You can find me on Twitter @JesseWuCreative, Instagram @jessewufoo, and LinkedIn - let's connect!
Jonna Humphries-Valente
Marketing & Revenue
Founder of Juniper & Berkeley
Jonna Humphries-Valente
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Jonna Humphries-Valente

Marketing & Revenue

Founder of Juniper & Berkeley

I lead Juniper & Berkeley, the first sports agency with a majority female client base from a variety of sports ranging from basketball to fencing to soccer. We work exclusively with athletes who envision their impact beyond sports. From podcasts to product lines, we put the pieces together to make it happen. Some of our clients include NWSL star Toni Pressley, WNBA star Angel McCoughtry, Olympian Ali Riley, Olympian Ysaora Thibus, and NBA star Jaylen Brown. My previous experience includes roles at the Obama White House, Moog Music, Atlantic Media, ABC News, and NBC News. I am also a proud blue devil and received my MBA at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
Juwann Nelson
Video Production
Director, Video Content Creator at Legacy Canvas Films
Juwann Nelson
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Juwann Nelson

Video Production

Director, Video Content Creator at Legacy Canvas Films

My name is Juwann Nelson, and I'm a freelance director & videographer in Indianapolis, IN. I help companies, brands & athletes connect more intimately with their audiences through digital content. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN and pretty much grew up all over the city. We moved around a lot, so I was always the new kid. This helped me learn to adapt to environments & learn to communicate with people I may not know. I'm a former Division III football player at Benedictine University (2 years), but then eventually found my true passion in video production & storytelling after many injuries on the field. Those injuries turned out to be blessings in disguise. Over the past 3 years, I've worked with many different brands, companies & athletes. Most notably The Final Four, Nike, Finish Line, McLaren Racing, the Indiana Pacers, Victor Oladipo, Paul George, Indianapolis Colts & Kenny Moore II. My time as an athlete has really inspired me to tell in sports. It keeps me in the game. To learn more, feel free to connect with me on Twitter @wann317 or Instagram @wannmillion.
Khristina Williams
On-Camera Talent
Founder of Girls Talk Sports TV
Khristina Williams
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Khristina Williams

On-Camera Talent

Founder of Girls Talk Sports TV

I'm Khristina Williams, but most people call me "Khris". I'm a Black journalist, content creator, influencer, and the founder of Girls Talk Sports TV. I was born and raised in Harlem, NY, a neighborhood in upper Manhattan most known for being the epicenter of African American heritage and culture. Harlem is where I found my passion for storytelling and sports. Participating in programs like the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), Malakoff Girls Basketball League, and GOTO (Giving Opportunities To Others), as a kid helped me to develop and nurture my skills as a creator and athlete. I attended the infamous "Fame School", also known as LaGuardia High school, where I studied visual arts and played varsity basketball, before earning my bachelor's degree in Journalism from Hunter College. Prior to founding my own sports media company, I worked odd jobs and freelanced as a reporter, appearing on networks like FashionOne, WhereIsTheBuzz TV, MTV, and more. After attempting to break into the sports industry through mainstream media outlets as a Black woman, and constantly facing rejection, I founded my own digital sports media platform in 2018. I created Girls Talk Sports TV to give women a voice and visibility in sports, through delivering valuable and equitable media coverage and content. I currently host the "Kickin' It with Khristina" podcast and "Women's Sports Wednesday" weekly live-audio show on Spotify Greenroom. I've recently been named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30: Sports' list, and was named the 2020 PG Sports Women's Basketball Media Person of the Year.
Kimberly Chexnayder
On-Camera Talent
On-Air Host & Personality at NFL
Kimberly Chexnayder
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Kimberly Chexnayder

On-Camera Talent

On-Air Host & Personality at NFL

Hi! My name is Kimberly Chexnayder (Kimmi Chex), and I am an on-air host and personality for the NFL and NFL Network. Directly after graduating from University of Iowa in 2018, I joined the NFL as 1 of 7 participants in the Junior Rotational Program which is the League’s premiere business analyst program. While a JRP, I touched business in both the New York and Los Angeles offices by working in International Media & Business Development, Fan Centric Database Marketing, Event Revenue & Strategy and Fantasy Football Content. Now after hanging up my business analyst hat and instead flipping to a full-time personality for the League, I will across multiple NFL platforms as a regular contributor and host for various shows and projects as well as live on-site event entertainment coverage. Beyond football, I have a passion for the intersection of fashion, music, sports & politics.
Laura Estefenn
Social Media
Diversity Marketing at Atlanta Braves
Laura Estefenn
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Laura Estefenn

Social Media

Diversity Marketing at Atlanta Braves

My name is Laura Estefenn and 7 years ago I came to Atlanta to fulfill my dream of playing collegiate golf. I often get asked how I ended up in Kennesaw from Colombia - since all Latinos end up in Florida. KSU checked all my boxes when I was picking a school: I got offered a full ride, I didn't have to share a room with anyone, there was a direct flight to Colombia and I could play golf all year round. 4.5 years after, I ended up falling in love with Atlanta! I always knew I wanted to work in sports because I wanted to give back to what has given me everything in life. I started working in golf but soon realized that my talents were better utilized in baseball. As an immigrant, I was able to relate to the players and it gave me a competitive advantage. For the past 3 years, I've worked at the Atlanta Braves leading the efforts of the Los Bravos brand - the Spanish brand of the team. I am incredibly proud of what my team and I have built with the fans, the players and the changes we've made internally. Our efforts have taken Los Bravos channels to be the leader in MLB in engagement and growth across all MLB Spanish-language social media sites past 3 seasons; #5 in followers across MLB on Instagram (3 years in existence). I've learned the importance of expressing my opinion and I am not scared to say what needs to be said. To learn more about me, follow me on IG @lauraesdg95
Lauren Porter
Marketing & Revenue
Creative Strategist at Bleacher Report
Lauren Porter
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Lauren Porter

Marketing & Revenue

Creative Strategist at Bleacher Report

Hi, My name is Lauren Porter! I'm currently a creative strategist in sports marketing. Originally from the suburbs of Washington D.C., I grew up in a sports-obsessed family of our beloved (albeit sometimes poorly performing) hometown teams. While my own athletic dreams fell short rather quickly (I'm only 5'3” and have a bum knee), I turned my fandom into a passion for storytelling that only intensified by attending Syracuse University and watching games in the Carrier Dome. #GoOrange. Prior to working in sports marketing, I was an editor and writer covering love and lifestyle at ESSENCE, a premiere lifestyle, fashion, and beauty magazine for Black women. There, I harnessed my joy for thinking critically and strategically about how to carefully craft editorial franchises for both digital platforms and live experiential events. As a creative strategist, I've worked on social-first campaigns with brands such as General Mills, GAP, Nike, Facebook, Wilson, and Google. With an extra devotion for baking and books, you can usually find me tweeting about various topics including my deep devotion for all things Beyoncé, my commitment to spending all of my money at Target along with a rundown on the latest pop culture moments and sports hot takes. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, @thelaurenline.
Leaire Wilson
Marketing & Revenue
Sr Mgr, Integrated Strategy at Bleacher Report
Leaire Wilson
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Leaire Wilson

Marketing & Revenue

Sr Mgr, Integrated Strategy at Bleacher Report

I work for the Integrated + Content strategy team for West Coast and NYC sales at Bleacher Report, the No.1 most engaged sports media brand on the planet. I execute large-scale social programs that drive millions in annual revenue across multiple advertiser categories including Google, Amex, adidas, Nike, ABinBev and more. I oversee and manage a team of integrated strategists that develop campaigns from start to finish: idea generation, client presentation, production through to campaign wrap. In my role, I utilize in-house data and analytics to inform smart, strategic partnerships that engage the Bleacher Report audience and align advertisers with the best content on the market, effectively communicating and representing B/R's voice and strategy. Working across the Warner Media portfolio, I create multi-brand partnerships that are solutions oriented and push the boundaries of traditional advertising. I am member of the Warner Media Sport's Diversity & Inclusion advisory committee and on the B/R Women's leadership board. To learn more, feel free to contact me @leairewilson.
Malcolm Lemmons
Storytelling & Editorial
Founder of Athletes Unheard
Malcolm Lemmons
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Malcolm Lemmons

Storytelling & Editorial

Founder of Athletes Unheard

What's up, my name is Malcolm Lemmons! I'm an African-American founder working in sports and entertainment. Originally born and raised in the DMV area aka the nation's capitol. The city I'm from is a hotbed for sports talent. I grew up with athletes such as Kevin Durant, Quinn Cook & Victor Oladipo. Being exposed to a high level of competition allowed me the opportunity to get a D-I scholarship to Niagara University where I played college basketball. My goal was to become a professional athlete and I was fortunate to achieve that dream after college as I played overseas in Japan for 2 years. While overseas I fell in love with writing and as a result published my first book, Lessons from the Game when I came back home. Since I've retired from the game, I've started a few different companies, published my second book called Impact Beyond the game, and interviewed over 100 athletes. I've also represented athletes on the marketing side. Currently, I'm the founder of Athletes Unheard, which is a media company creating content at the intersection of athletes and mental wellness. Feel free to follow or hit me up on Twitter @malcolmlemmons
Nathaniel Hemingway
Marketing & Revenue
Manager of Brand Partnerships at NBPA
Nathaniel Hemingway
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Nathaniel Hemingway

Marketing & Revenue

Manager of Brand Partnerships at NBPA

Hi, my name is Nathaniel Hemingway and I am a Puerto Rican and Black sports business professional working for the THINK450, the innovation and partnership arm of the NBPA. I'm from the greatest city in the world, NYC, and grew up in Staten Island, home of the legendary Wu-Tang and the only borough with a free 30 minute luxury cruise (Staten Island Ferry). My dream in life was to be the first player to play in the NBA and the NFL at the same time. As I got older, I realized how almost impossible that is and I was vertically challenged (only 5'7), so I decided to pursue a career on the business side of sports. In the past 8 years, I've sold season tickets for the Brooklyn Nets and the NY Jets, secured endorsement deals for athletes like finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Olympian Aly Raisman Octagon, and now at THINK450, I manage a multiple million-dollar partnership portfolio that is growing the NIL business for the collective NBA players. Over the past years our partnership campaigns with our NBA players have won media awards, connected with NBA fans across the world, donated laptops 100+ students of color, gave added support to over 50+ minority owned businesses, and more. And we're just getting started. To learn more, feel free to connect with me on Instagram @nate.hemingway
Nicole Williams
Social Media
Lead Producer, Sports at Snapchat
Nicole Williams
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Nicole Williams

Social Media

Lead Producer, Sports at Snapchat

Hi, my name is Nicole Williams and I'm a sports producer in Los Angeles. Growing up with two older brothers, my love for sports started at an early age. For most of my life, my weekends have been inundated with sports. I was either running at a track meet, cheering on my brothers at football games with my mom, or sitting in the stands watching my dad coach basketball. It wasn't until I was a senior at the University of Georgia that I actually considered working in sports. Two professors ignited a fire in me to turn my passion into a career and I'm forever thankful for that push. #GoDawgs. In the past decade, I've been blessed to work for some of the top sports companies. My journey started in the snow in Connecticut with ESPN, where I served as a social media producer for shows such as “His & Hers” and “First Take.” After spending most of my early career at ESPN, I moved to the crowded streets of New York to work for Bleacher Report to create new, digital-first shows featuring their talent. In one year, I produced two original shows: “Take it There with Taylor Rooks” and “Untold Stories” hosted by Master Tesfatsion. Today, I live near palm trees in sunny California, working for SnapChat as the lead sports producer. I oversee 200+ sports shows on Snapchat Discover and I'm always keeping my eyes on the future of mobile sports content. After all of these years in this industry, I've found my motto that keeps me grounded - find a job where it never feels like a day of work. I'm glad my story has kept me true to that. Find me @ndpnicky on social media!
Olivia Witherite
Social Media
Manager, Social Engagement at The Athletic
Olivia Witherite
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Olivia Witherite

Social Media

Manager, Social Engagement at The Athletic

Hi, I'm Olivia Witherite, and I'm in the sports social media strategy space. I currently work on the social team at The Athletic. I was born in Korea but came to America, specifically Maryland, as a baby. I got my start working in the Major League Baseball world for the Orioles' and Nationals' broadcast network at age 18 in Baltimore. Since then, I moved to San Francisco but now reside in Brooklyn, New York. I have loved working in sports because of the stories that bring fans closer to the game and to the players. Currently, in my role at The Athletic, I split my time between strategy and execution. I oversee our social team, with my favorite part of my job being people management and professional development. Along with my job, I'm currently a part-time MBA candidate at Johns Hopkins University. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @OLIVIAwitherite
Preetam Sen
Marketing & Revenue
VP, Corporate Partnerships at Excel Sports Management
Preetam Sen
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Preetam Sen

Marketing & Revenue

VP, Corporate Partnerships at Excel Sports Management

My name is Preetam Sen and I am the Vice President of Properties at Excel Sports Management. I've been working in the sports and entertainment industry for 11 years and have had the privilege of working for renowned organizations including Manchester City FC (City Football Group) and the Brooklyn Nets prior to joining Excel. My passion for developing unique and meaningful connections between sports properties and brands stems from my appreciation of how the power of sport can impact lives, influence social change, and ultimately drive a brand's business forward. One of the most recent career highlights that I am most proud of is our team's effort to secure the stadium naming rights for Austin FC. Working with Austin FC and Q2 to literally and figurately lay the foundation for Q2 Stadium was an incredible experience that was authentically rooted in delivering for all members of the community in ATX. I am a first-generation Indian American and am proud of my heritage as my parents immigrated to the United States from Kolkata, India. I grew up in Randolph, MA which has consistently been ranked as the most diverse city/town in Massachusetts. Forever grateful to have been able to grow up in that environment which has helped me to be able to connect with people from all different walks of life throughout the business world in an authentic way. Excited to continue to build with the opportunities that are presented to me.
Pritni Sandhu
Marketing & Revenue
VP at FleishmanHillard
Pritni Sandhu
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Pritni Sandhu

Marketing & Revenue

VP at FleishmanHillard

Hello, I'm Pritni (pronounced like Brittany with a “P”) Sandhu. I'm a PR and brand marketing professional in the sports & lifestyle industry coming to you from Austin, TX. I was pretty much born and bred to be a sports enthusiast, whether playing on the field or sitting in the stands cheering on my SJ Sharks for 25+ years. So I knew whatever path I took in my career had to be somehow connected to what I'm most passionate about. I got my start in Phoenix, working with the Arizona Diamondbacks and PHX Suns (Suns in ‚Äò22??) and made my way back to my hometown in the Bay Area to do a little PR stint with the Sacramento Kings before realizing that the perfect agency, with a growing sports practice primed with the best in the industry, was calling my name in San Francisco - insert FleishmanHillard. For the last 6.5 years with Fleishman, I've had the pleasure of being the eyes and ears on the ground at some of the sports industry's biggest moments, like NBA All-Star and the Olympics, and even found myself assuming the Chief of Staff role for our FH Sports practice. In my day-to-day, I thrive off of the energy from working with creators and creating opportunities for brands to activate their partnerships - with athletes, teams, leagues, etc. - in ways that are meaningful to them, their audiences and their partners. I identify myself as a creator of color, not in the sense of being in the limelight, curating content. But more in the sense of creating stories, opportunities and connections between different communities. Interconnecting is kind of my thing. So don't hesitate to drop me a connection on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pritni-sandhu!
Reoni Mapp
Marketing & Revenue
Senior Manager, Integrated Strategy at Bleacher Report
Reoni Mapp
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Reoni Mapp

Marketing & Revenue

Senior Manager, Integrated Strategy at Bleacher Report

Hello, my name is Reoni Mapp. I am an African-American sports and culture marketing professional working at Bleacher Report. I am originally from the Bay Area, Oakland specifically. I take a great deal of pride of my hometown, Oaktown for life! I moved to New York when I was thirteen and went up to college in Boston, but remain loyal to my Oakland roots and will never consider myself an East Coaster even though I still reside on this side. I started playing basketball at the age of four, but decided not to pursue a career after high school. However, I always knew I wanted to remain in sports and begin my career managing the Boston College women's basketball team. As a manager, I was not only able to travel with the team, but also practiced with them so it was really the best of both worlds. In addition to basketball, I also started playing tennis around the age of five. I still play both sports every now and then, but I will say as I'm getting older, I would prefer tennis since it seems to be easier on my joints. Aside from sports, I absolutely love music! R&B, Hip-Hop, and Pop are my favorites, but I am open to all types and love music recommendations from family and friends. Professionally, I have been at Bleacher Report for the past three and a half years working on social media marketing campaigns for large companies and previously worked in sponsorship for the American Black Film Festival. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter - @reahknee
Roman King
Design & Art
Creative Director at WNBA
Roman King
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Roman King

Design & Art

Creative Director at WNBA

As a person of color, creator, and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I'm aware of my contributions and perspective in shaping culture, viewpoints and elevating marginalized voices. I find inspiration and creative energy through continuous observation of the world around me, and one of my guiding principles is that as creatives, I believe we can change the game and world through our work. Hailing from West Virginia, I attended WVU and studied Visual Arts. Before WNBA, my prior experience included roles as Art Director for Philadelphia magazine, Design lead at Conde Nast, and Director of Design and Marketing for Rolling Stone. As Creative Director for the WNBA, my focus has been on showcasing the league by highlighting our multidimensional players and leading our overall creative strategy and efforts through increased brand recognition. Achievements within my tenure include launching the 2019 WNBA rebrand, leading the 2020 league marketings efforts, and being a part of the team responsible for the improved overall engagement, following, and progressive cultural momentum of the WNBA.
Sana Merchant-Rupani
Marketing & Revenue
Director, Club Social Marketing at NFL
Sana Merchant-Rupani
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Sana Merchant-Rupani

Marketing & Revenue

Director, Club Social Marketing at NFL

Hi, I'm Sana Merchant-Rupani! I am an Indian-American sports marketing and social media professional. I am entering my 7th season with the National Football League, where I presently serve as the Director of Club & College Social Marketing. My family immigrated from Mumbai, India to the United States in January 1999 – a few months shy of my 10th birthday. As I learned to acclimate to my new environment in Texas, I quickly realized sports serve as a religion for so many Americans. Immersing myself in U.S. sports and following the local Dallas teams allowed me to find my identity in my new home, and gave me a mutual connection point with our new neighbors and new friends. I've been fortunate enough to be able to couple this passion for sports with my experience in brand marketing and storytelling. Currently, my group supports all 32 NFL clubs across all things social media—whether it's strategy and analytics, monetization best practices, operational support, league-club collaboration, etc. We also work with both internal and external stakeholders (such as our platform partners) to ensure our clubs are able to utilize their social media accounts to drive their respective priorities across fan engagement, revenue generation, and marketing. On the college side, our mission is to tap into the young college football fans and translate school fandom into the next generation of NFL fans. Ultimately, we use our entire ecosystem to drive the game of football further. To learn more, feel free to connect with me on Twitter: @sana_merch
Shahbaz Khan
Social Media
Director of Digital Content at Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx
Shahbaz Khan
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Shahbaz Khan

Social Media

Director of Digital Content at Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx

Hi, my name is Shahbaz Khan! I'm a Pakistani Muslim professional working at the intersection of marketing and basketball. Originally from Minnesota, I began my collegiate career as an Electrical Engineer, quickly switching to communications, and in turn, social media, when the Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx had an internship vacancy. As a basketball player growing up, I was committed to attaining that position, and after two years of attempts and six other internships in social media, I finally succeeded. I've since been in the NBA for the past 7+ years. Over my career, I've worked at the Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx, while growing a social media consulting firm that has gained clientele in sports, non-profits, the real estate industry, and the restaurant industry. As I've grown in my career, it's been a goal of mine to see more minorities in marketing leadership positions, and something I've strived to help change. I'm most active on Twitter and look forward to connecting! @ShahbazMKhan
Tamara Brown
On-Camera Talent
Team Reporter & Producer at New England Patriots
Tamara Brown
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Tamara Brown

On-Camera Talent

Team Reporter & Producer at New England Patriots

Tamara Brown is a multifaceted sports journalist and video producer with a love for storytelling. She is passionate about telling the stories that lie at the intersection of sports, race and identity. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Ms. Brown is currently the New England Patriots Team Reporter and Content Producer. She had stops at the University of Miami (Learfield IMG College), Mountain West Network, New York Football Giants and Notre Dame (Fighting Irish Media). While working for the Fighting Irish, she was named the ACC Digital Network’s reporter of the year. She is passionate about giving back to the next generation of women in sports and serves on the ‘A Seat at the Table’ leadership team as a content producer for @_jointhetable.
Travis Ellison
Photography
Freelance at Travis Ellison Productions
Travis Ellison
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Travis Ellison

Photography

Freelance at Travis Ellison Productions

My name is Travis Ellison and I am more than "just a photographer." I am a passionate, hardworking soul with a positive outlook on life and opportunity. I am a proud representative of Alexandria, VA and the entire D.M.V. (Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia). Growing up, I enjoyed playing with cameras and technology as well as playing sports. My earliest memories involving cameras dates back to the Kodak MAX film cameras from “back in the day.” I remember the urge and excitement I had for pressing down the shutter button to make an image. It wasn't until much later in my journey that I realize why cameras were always a fun gadget I naturally enjoyed using. As an adult, my sports and photography worlds collided, as they became my passion, my profession and also a piece of my purpose. I earned my Bachelors of Science Degree in Mass Communications / Broadcast Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. After graduating, I spent the next 5 years working in the National Football League (NFL) with both the Seattle Seahawks (1) and Minnesota Vikings (4) working a number of different positions involving photography, videography, public relations and marketing. Throughout my career I've seen it as my duty to positively represent professionals of color. Whether it's speaking up to protect the image of athletes and staff, or bringing new ideas to the table that relate to a more diverse background, I have enjoyed the experience and challenge of collaborating with others to make an impact. I understand that my success means nothing if I'm not able to share the knowledge, as well as reach back to help others earn opportunities similar or bigger than my own. To learn more about my journey, please connect with me on Instagram/Twitter @TravieTrav_DMV
Tykera Carter
On-Camera Talent
Digital & Social Content Publishing, WNBA at NBA
Tykera Carter
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Tykera Carter

On-Camera Talent

Digital & Social Content Publishing, WNBA at NBA

Hi all! My name is Tykera Carter. I am a Black woman working in the world of sports as a Social Media and Digital Content Publisher for the WNBA. I'm from Alexandria Virginia and have lived there basically my whole life! I grew up playing basketball and was fortunate enough to earn a full ride to play Division 1 hoops at Sacred Heart University. I knew when basketball came to an end for me that one of my biggest goals was to stay around sports and I would do whatever it took in order to make that dream come true and here we are today! I love what I do because I'm passionate about sports and specifically my first love BASKETBALL. As a Creator of Color I'm blessed to grow up in a time where other people of color who are creators have a mindset of helping to uplift the next person and I've had many people of color and black woman specifically uplift me and help me along my journey. Being the only Woman of color in my specific role for the WNBA makes me take that much more pride in my work, because I want to show other people that look like me belong in at big companies. My other work entails being on-air talent as a color commentator for college hoops, Co-host of the Law Of Athlete Podcast and any freelance opportunities that involve sports. You can keep up with my journey by following me on Instagram @tykera.carter and on Twitter @tykeracarter.
Varoon Bose
Social Media
Sr Manager, Special Projects for Social at Bleacher Report
Varoon Bose
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Varoon Bose

Social Media

Sr Manager, Special Projects for Social at Bleacher Report

Hi all! My name is Varoon Bose and I'm the Director of Always-On Content at Bleacher Report. I was born in Oregon, but grew up in the Bay Area in California and currently reside in NYC. Initially out of school, I pursued a Masters in Education along with my teaching degree and taught middle school math for two years. But after leaving teaching and spending some time in education technology, I decided to leave the education field completely and have been at B/R for close to the last eight years. In terms of something I'm most proud of, it's definitely the team/department I've helped shape over the past few years in my new role. I'm proud of the people we've brought in and how the group is more of a family than even a team. Not surprisingly I love every aspect of basketball (especially the Blazers) and sports as a whole. However, if you're reading this and Damian Lillard has left the Blazers, I'll likely be a complete shell of myself. Here's hoping he stays! I'm @varoonbose on all major social platforms, so please don't hesitate to reach out and connect!
About Creators of Color

Creators of Color presented with Canva is a new program that spotlights and empowers sports creatives ages 21-33 who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

In our inaugural year, we received over 300 nominations and applications. The cohort of 33 honorees was hand-selected by members of The Engagement Academy of Sports x Entertainment across eight creative specialties: Video Production; Social Media; Podcasting; Marketing & Revenue; Storytelling & Editorial; On-Camera Talent; Design & Art; and Photography.

Those selected for the cohort have created brand-defining work for organizations at the intersection of sports, content, and entertainment and helped diversify their fan audiences. This game-changing annual recognition for minority marketers and content creators will ensure the sports x entertainment community looks, thinks, and creates more like the young, global, and diverse fans who consume its content and experiences.

CREATORS OF COLOR NEWS

Hashtag Sports Announces Creators United Summit presented with Canva
Atlanta-based Summit will equip Creators of Color honorees with skills and allies to inspire a more diverse generation of sports content leadership

COHORT SPOTLIGHTS


CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO


Hashtag Sports® is the premier event & education destination for content creators, brand marketers, and next generation of talent across the converging sports, entertainment, and gaming industries.

Our mission is to reimagine the next decade of the fan experience by creating a rising tide that educates, empowers, and connects an industry that reflects today's multicultural fans.

Join us in leading the dialogue and development of a sports entertainment ecosystem powered by content, culture, and purpose.