SportsPro and the Ivy Sports Symposium are delighted to announce the ten exceptional young sports executives that make up the 10 NEXT Class of 2012.
The 10 NEXT was conceived as an award to recognise outstanding individuals from the sports industry under the age of the 30, whose early achievements have set them apart from their peers. Nominations were received from around the world throughout August and September before an independent judging panel whittled the list down to around 20 exceptional individuals. Based upon the criteria sticks of uniqueness and outstanding ability, the final ten were voted upon and are announced here:
► Yao Williams - Senior Account Executive, Global Marketing Partnerships, National Basketball Association (NBA)
All ten winners will be honoured by the Ivy Sports Symposium at a ceremony on Friday 16th November in New York.
Yao Williams - Senior Account Executive, Global Marketing Partnerships, National Basketball Association (NBA)
After graduating from Cleveland State University with a Masters degree in Sports Management, Williams, 28, joined the Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball (MLB) team. Positions with the Charlotte Bobcats NBA franchise and the New York Yankees followed before he took up his current position at the NBA.
His nominators said: “Yao has exemplified leadership in the office along with a dedicated passion to help others achieve their goals.”
Alexandra Chalat - Executive Director, Beyond Sport, and Head of Social Innovation, Benchmark Sport International
An elite-level gymnast and award-winning editor in Philadelphia before moving to London, Chalat, 29, has spent the past four years building Beyond Sport into one of the most influential organisations in the sport-for-good space. Her work has involved building partnerships with industry giants such as the MLB, MLS, Nascar, the NBA and the NFL.
Her nominators said: “Alexandra has played a vital role in Beyond Sport’s development over the past four years, leading a huge amount of its work on a day-to-day basis.”
Jason Belzer - Entrepreneur and Sports Entertainment Attorney
Having graduated from Rutgers University in Law, Belzer, 26, signed his first client at the tender age of 20 before co-founding his own company and running another. Belzer is also executive director of the Jewish Coaches Association.
His nominators said: “Jason is far and away one of the most influential people I have met in the industry. I have learned an innumerable number of lessons in the short time that I’ve known him.”
Caitlin Moyer - Senior Manager of Advertising and Marketing, Milwaukee Brewers
Moyer, 29, has worked her way up the ranks since joining the Brewers as a corporate sales intern in 2003, most recently recovering the US$1 million in lost revenue through her work on the team’s season ticket renewal campaign.
Her nominators said: “She is a star, and perhaps the brightest, most creative, passionate, and enthusiastic colleague I have ever had the pleasure of working with in sports.”
Angelo Solomita - Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, Radegen Sports Management
25 year-old Solomita completed his BA, law degree, and MBA in just six years before joining the Radegen Sports Management agency.
His nominators said: "Angelo is one of the hardest-working people I’ve come to meet and has been a vital part of the success of Radegen Sports Management at a relatively young age.”
Dan Weinberg - Director, Strategic Partnerships and Licensing, Tough Mudder
Having started his career in corporate sales at Brett Yorkmark’s Nascar, Weinberg, 29, worked for Beach Tennis USA and Elite Marketing Group before building a partnership marketing and sales department from scratch at endurance sports series Tough Mudder in 2011.
His nominators said: “Starting from scratch, Weinberg built out a partnership marketing and sales department at Tough Mudder, which, in one year, has successfully brought on 24 global partners.”
Brian Gainor - Founder, Partnership Activation, and Director, Strategy and Analytics, Freshwire
Gainor, 29, worked in PR with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL Europe before winning industry-wide acclaim for his blog and newsletter, Partnership Activation. Gainor joined GMR Marketing in 2007 before moving to Freshwire in July this year.
His nominators said: “It is seemingly on a weekly basis that I’m receiving a request from Brian to speak at some industry event or another, as he has strategically leveraged his experience to be considered an industry thought-leader.”
Michael Zavodsky - Senior Vice President, Corporate Sponsorships, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
Starting as an intern to Nets chief executive Brett Yorkmark in 2005, Zavodsky, 28, has overseen sales efforts at the Barclays Center through his roles as an account executive, account director and vice president before assuming his current role as senior vice president.
His nominators said: “Michael has helped drive the international sales effort for the Barclays Center and the Nets basketball team, consummating sales with companies from China, Russia, and the UK.”
Jimmy Small - Manager, Industry Marketing, Nascar
Small, 26, joined Nascar straight after graduating from university, joining the Nascar offices in Daytona Beach before moving to the Charlotte headquarters. Small has worked with all three series and assisted with business case studies of sponsorship programmes.
His nominators said: “Jimmy is the most passionate person in Nascar for developing the future of the sport, and he is relied upon heavily by his colleagues, peers, and race organisations. I can think of no one else more deserving of this award.”
Sidhartha Mallya - Director, Royal Challengers Sports and General Manager, Marketing, United Spirits Limited
After graduating from Queen Mary college at the University of London, 25 year-old Mallya took a position with Diageo, working on the Guiness brand, before relocating to India in 2010 to become a director of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team the Royal Challengers.
His nominators said: “At just 25 years of age, Sidhartha Mallya has achieved more than many people aspire to at twice his age.”