Programming Overview

DAY ONE: The Assembly: Pro Sports Leadership Retreat and Workshop - Welcome Reception

Presented by Austin Sports Commission and The Fairmont Austin
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

To kick off our inaugural Leadership Retreat and Workshop, please join us at the Fairmont Rules & Regs Bar to network, enjoy a few cocktails, and receive your exclusive Pro Sports Assembly gift! There will be recommended dutch treat dinner options for group outings. Be sure to get in early and enjoy all that the city of Austin and The Fairmont Luxury Hotel and Spa has to offer.

With vibrant entertainment, art and culture, inspiring cuisine and stunning outdoor experiences, Austin lets you create a soundtrack all your own. Commonly referred to as the Live Music Capital of the World®, Austin is also quickly becoming an emerging market for Sports and Entertainment. With two of the newest venues in the country, our friends at FC Austin and OVG have agreed to host us!

The Fairmont is uniquely located in downtown Austin amid the greenery of Palm Park and Waller Creek. The 37-story luxury hotel features 1,048 richly appointed guest rooms, SPA, rooftop pool and bar, several restaurants, and suites with picturesque vistas of Lady Bird Lake, a dramatic cityscape, and the State Capitol. The perfect place for PRO Sports Assembly members to connect, relax, and retreat!

DAY TWO: The Power of People and Policy in Pro Sports

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, presented by Sendero Wealth Management
Thursday, June 23, 2022

As we embark on our first Leadership Retreat and Workshop we'll focus in on the People (AKA workforce) and Policies in pro sports. June 23rd is when the "work" in our workshop begins - and it also marks the 50th Anniversary of the landmark gender equality legislation Title IX. What better place to be than in a room full of your PRO friends leading the way! Cynt Marshall, Jessica Berman, and Ken Shropshire are confirmed to lead conversations about how policy has transformed professional sports, where it's fallen short and what the future may look like. Arizona State University is leading the workshop using their SPARK method, which will be a great tool for your leadership toolbox - one that you can use to lead innovation sessions with your own team.

Opening Keynote: The Impact of Policy on Pro Sports, Reflecting on Title IX
On this day, 50 years ago, the landmark gender equality legislation, Title IX, was implemented. We celebrate its everlasting impact on the sports world, reflect on how it shaped the way the industry created more diverse opportunities for many, and what we hope and expect for the future. With key learnings from Title IX, Pro Sports Assembly hopes to be the leader in changing the representation of leadership across professional sports, how we implement diversity and inclusion, and navigate challenges to cultivate this mindset across teams, leagues, and unions.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Cynt Marshall: CEO, Dallas Mavericks
  • Cassandra Carr: Former investor Spurs Sports & Entertainment

State of the Industry Presentation: Where We Are vs. Where We Need to Be
To make an impact and continue to drive our industry forward, we must first understand how to measure success. The State of The Industry will present The Assembly attendees with data from three different perspectives. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) will focus on data from industry league reports, Wasserman’s the Collective will focus on data from employees who are early entrants into the industry, and Arizona State University’s Global Sport Institute (GSI) will focus on data from professional sports consumers. The data will showcase how far we have come and how far we must go regarding diverse leadership and representation in the professional sports industry.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Ashley Turner: TIDES
  • Laura Waters Brown: Senior Manager, the Collective at Wasserman
  • Scott Brooks: Director of Research, Global Sport Institute

Spark Workshop presented by the Global Sport Institute: How to Find, Keep, and Grow Talent
Every organization in professional sports faces a similar challenge when it comes to talent, especially diverse talent. And since the pandemic and ‘the great resignation’, this challenge has become even more prevalent. Where do we find diverse candidates? Once we find them, how do we keep people engaged and committed to our organizations? What do we need to do to build the pipeline and cultivate a diverse talent pool to feed C-suite opportunities? With the Global Sport Institute, we will use their renowned Spark method to workshop this issue amongst peers and provide tools and tactics to take back to our respective organizations and make sustainable change.


  • Kendall Jones: Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Global Sport Institute

The "Rules" - Policies that do and do not work: A Conversation with Kenneth L. Shropshire
Kenneth Shropshire has had a career of over 40 years as a professor, business consultant, author, and lawyer. His experiences have focused on a wide range of sports-related issues from race, leading a global sporting event, the relocation of franchises, transitioning athletes from playing into business to most recently as CEO of the Global Sport Institute focusing on diversity in sports. On the 25th anniversary of his book entitled, In Black and White: Race and Sports in America, he is joined by Oracio Galindo, Head of Employee Experience for the Los Angeles Rams to share the highs and lows of policy, what works, and pitfalls to avoid when trying to make positive change within your organization and our industry.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Kenneth L. Shropshire: CEO, Global Sports Institute
  • Oracio Galindo: Head of Employee Experience, Los Angeles Rams
  • Jason Jenkins: SVP Communications and Community, Miami Dolphins

Fireside Chat: The Challenges of Being First, Ensuring They are Not the Last presented by OVG
Iris Diaz and Xavier Gutierrez are the first Latin-Americans to hold their positions in US professional sports. When they assumed their positions, glass ceilings were shattered. Iris became the youngest and first-ever Latina CMO across any US major league professional sports team and Xavier, the first-ever Hispanic CEO in US major league sports. Join these two changemakers as they share the challenges of being the first and how they are leveraging their leadership roles to ensure they are not the last.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Iris Diaz; CMO, Dallas Mavericks
  • Xavier Gutierrez; CEO, Arizona Coyotes
  • Moderated by Brittanie Boyd, SVP Marketing, Philadelphia 76ers

DAY THREE: How DEI Impacts our Business and Communities

(Re)Defining DEI: Dividends, Earnings, and Investments hosted by Austin FC and Levy
Friday, June 24, 2022

Day 3 will be led by Rob Kaplan, Harvard Business School style where he will challenge the way that we think about DEI in business. We will take learnings from Day 2 to diagnose where we are as leaders, consider what to do together and independently, and explore how to leverage our leadership influence for lasting impact on front offices, our community, and the industry of professional sports. (re)Defining Diversity, Equity and Inclusion through an economic lens may complicate our thinking, but it helps guide better decisions across all facets of business. Additionally, Rob will lead conversations where we will dive into live case studies with Michele Roberts, Jessica Berman, and Ashley Bell.

Live Case Study: Why & How to Lead for Impact: Commissioner Berman in-depth with Michele Roberts
Lawyer to lawyer, boss to boss, there is much to learn about the future of pro sports leadership from these two luminaries. Both Jessica and Michele stepped into their roles following tumultuous times at their organizations. Not only will we get an inside peek into what’s on the mind of our newest Commissioner while gleaning advice from one of the most transformational leaders professional sport has known, we will learn their “why”, how they lead for impact, and the hope they have for professional sports leadership moving forward. With both having extensive experience in collective bargaining negotiations they can shed light on the nuances of navigating a broad range of stakeholder interests unlike most others in pro sports leadership today.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Jessica Berman: Commissioner, National Women's Soccer League
  • Michele Roberts: former Executive Director, NBA Players Association
  • Moderated by Bridget Gannon, VP Social Impact, NBRPA (The Legends)

What you Need to Lead Workshop with Rob Kaplan - The Power of Thinking and Acting like an Owner
Are you a great leader? Do you think and act like an owner? What do you need to understand to influence your CEO? Do you connect the economics of your business with empowerment functions? Do you recognize that leadership and inclusion are inextricably linked? What is the impact of your leadership beyond your organization - - ultimately, the question is, are you achieving your personal potential and what will you commit to doing next? In this three-part workshop, minority principal of the Kansas City Royals, Rob Kaplan will challenge us to think differently, dig into the why behind our industry’s biggest issues, and use the Harvard Business School BUZZ method to find solutions we can commit to.


  • Robert Kaplan; Minority Principal, Kansas City Royals, former President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Associate Dean at Harvard Business School and Vice-chair of Goldman Sachs Group.

A Live Case Study: Leveraging DEI to Impact our Economy and Communities
There’s no doubt you’ve been issued the challenge to “put your money where your mouth is” as the stakes get higher for you and your brand. And, now that you’re in the seat of influence, now that your company has made a commitment to leading inclusively, now that your community is looking to you for leadership - you have a chance to make an impact like never before. As we wrap up the workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from experts in leveraging, assembling and deploying capital and talent with real impact.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Ashley Bell: Co-founder National Black Bank Foundation
  • Lester Jones: Vice President, Atlanta Hawks
  • Moderated by David Gould: Chief Diversity and Impact Officer, HBSE

Wrap up: What are you going to do? How are we going to hold one another accountable?
As an Assembly of leaders, what are we going to do individually and collectively to nurture intentional, inclusive leadership across professional sports? This isn’t a rhetorical question. Everyone will be invited to share and support the work ahead.

The finale, for the lucky! WWE Smackdown at the Moody Center