This 2017 edition of the Forty Under 40 Spotlight Podcast, featuring interviews with winners of SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Forty Under 40 Award, is brought to you by Turnkey Search.


2017 Season


EPISODE 1: Jeremy Walls

Jeremy talks about commuting from Phoenix to New York City for three (!) years to work for the NBA’s TMBO group, and the importance of getting out of your comfort zone to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

EPISODE 2: Nina King

Nina King, Deputy Director of Athletics for Administration/Legal Affairs and Chief of Staff at Duke University, singles out her mom as the most inspirational presence in her life. As a single mother who emigrated from Palestine at the age of 22, she taught Nina everything about being a strong, independent woman.

EPISODE 3: Kary Brock

Kary Brock, Vice President at Endeavor, talks about the move she made to IMG College and how the marketing team she worked with there was pivotal to her success. Having had the chance to be part of bringing a new offering into the sports marketing landscape led to her playing an active role in marketing for IMG.

EPISODE 4: Josh Veilleux

Josh Veilluex, Vice President of Global Partnerships for AEG Global Partnerships, talks to us about the impact of making a professional change early in his career. When he had an opportunity to take a step back from business and take some professional sports development programs, he was awarded the opportunity to make the transition to LA and join AEG.

EPISODE 5: Tory Dandy

Tory Dandy, Agent with CAA Sports, traces his success back to when he was interning and met Eugene Parker who became a partner, mentor, and friend for many years. When CAA reached out, Tory knew that he had a chance to take advantage of an amazing opportunity.

EPISODE 6: Angela Ruggiero

Angela Ruggiero, Olympic Gold Medalist, CEO and Co-Founder of Sports Innovation Lab, talks to us about how she approaches her business career as she did her sports career. She mentions how setting goals, learning from mistakes, determination, and surpassing roadblocks in her sports career has been applicable to her business.

EPISODE 7: Sean Eggert

Sean Eggert, Vice President and Head of Sports Marketing for Red Bull, credits pursuing a passion early in life as the reason for his success today. The values of pushing hard and teamwork have carried through from his college days to the present. 

EPISODE 8: Pat LaCroix

Pat LaCroix, Head of Global Media and Sponsorship for Bose, has a sincere appreciation for how important it is to represent a good brand in an exciting category. Pat stresses the importance of having key role models who have a common set of core values and pragmatic decision-making capacities.

EPISODE 9: Nili Doft

Nili Doft, Vice President of Digital Products and Analytics for the NHL, talks about the lessons she’s picked up in her career. Her number one tip is never to shy away from opportunities. Her own career pivoted a few years back when she landed a new role in strategy and found herself facing a new and exciting challenge.

EPISODE 10: Matt Grandis

Matt Grandis, EVP of Properties for CSM Properties, takes us on his career journey going all the way back to the moment when he was a camp counselor and one of the camper’s dads talked to him about a career in sports.

EPISODE 11: Josh Whitman

Josh Whitman, Director of Athletics at the University of Illinois, can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of having a personal and professional network. He has had the fortune of having a great group surrounding him throughout his journey and it is what he credits most for his success.

EPISODE 12: Ryan Spoon

Ryan Spoon, Senior VP of Social Content at ESPN, credits being around outstanding people, in both his business and personal life, as the catalyst for his success at ESPN. Most of that success can be credited to his days at eBay where he and his colleagues experienced immense growth in the internet market at a crucial time for them and the world around them.

EPISODE 13: Michael Melnitzky

Michael Melnitzky, Vice President of Allen and Company, pinpoints his decision to major in business in college as one of the key strategic plays of his career. What seemed perhaps like an unconventional choice for the sports industry was actually his personal plan to build his skill set in order to bring more to the table when getting his start in sports.

EPISODE 14: Miheer Walavalkar

Miheer Walavalkar, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of LiveLike, has had a career of twists and turns that have led him to running this exciting and innovative start-up. After studying engineering in India and the USA, he began working as a software engineer for a short period of time until he unexpectedly - in the course of a weekend - switched gears to investment banking. He then went back to India, keen to jump into the entrepreneurial pool.

EPISODE 15: Lindsay Amstutz

Lindsay Amstutz, SVP and General Manager of Fox Sports West, Prime Ticket, and Fox Sports San Diego, joins us to talk about rising to the challenge and seizing opportunities. When Lindsay was offered the chance to move farther up the ladder at Fox, she hesitated because the role was a geographical challenge.

EPISODE 16: Danny White

Danny White, Vice President and Director of Athletics for the University of Central Florida, has leaned on the experience and guidance of his father his entire life. His dad, who worked in sports from the ground level up, highly stressed the I over E - the Intellect over Emotion.

EPISODE 17: Brendan Moynihan

Brendan Moynihan, Senior Vice President of Consulting and Sponsorship Activation for Lagardère Plus, credits his success to his family, especially his grandfather, who always said to him “Get those rebounds!” You are going to fail, you are going to miss, and it’s about picking it back up and giving it another try that will ultimately lead to success.

EPISODE 18: Deepen Parikh

Deepen Parikh, Partner at Courtside Ventures, believes that sport touches numerous industries, geographies, and demographics - that sport is no longer fully focused on single sports organizations such as the NFL and that demographic. At Courtside, they see sports as a subset of media and media is something that everyone consumes every day, through sports, audio, fitness, or esports.

EPISODE 19: Josh Pyatt

Josh Pyatt, Partner and Agent at WME Sports and Entertainment, was not enjoying his blossoming career in finance. He made the decision to leave that career, to the surprise of many, but knew he wanted to be in the entertainment industry.

EPISODE 20: Brad Griffith

Brad Griffith, Founder and CEO of Gametime, is here talking about the origins of Gametime and how his experience with early mobile apps for sports ticketing led him to create the application.

EPISODE 21: Chris Marinak

Chris Marinak, Executive Vice President of Strategy, Technology, and Innovation at Major League Baseball, shares some advice for athletes in this episode. His number one piece of advice for anyone thinking about a career in professional sports is to build relationships and get connected within the industry as early as possible.

EPISODE 22: Bryce Blum

Bryce Blum, Founding Partner at ESG Law and Executive Vice President for Catalyst Sports and Media, recognizes that had he not had a certain few people in his life, he would not be where he is today.

EPISODE 23: Erin Schnieders

Erin Schnieders, Vice President of Venues for the NBA, was fortunate to know at a young age that she wanted to be in sports, it just took her some time to figure out exactly where. Her conviction was put to the test when she took a design position at the Toyota Center, working in construction and design. As it turned out, that decision changed the course of her professional life.

EPISODE 24: Jordan Solomon

Jordan Solomon, Executive Vice President at MSG Sports, credits selling Coca-Cola at Fenway Park as the game-changing moment in his career trajectory. However, his true career game changer came when he left his role as a McKinsey management consultant to join TMBO at the NBA.

EPISODE 25: Court Jeske

Court Jeske, CEO and Minority Owner at Nashville Soccer Club, realizes that the most important career decision he made was the move from League and Federation to Club. After many years in the sports industry, he knew instinctively that it was time for the next challenge.

EPISODE 26: Brandon Gayle

Brandon Gayle, Director of North America Sports Partnerships at Facebook, talks to us about the invaluable asset of having a personal board of advisors to lean on when making career transitions. He realized through consulting with them just how much digital and social is an emerging area within sports.

EPISODE 27: Jake Reid

Jake Reid, President of Sporting Kansas City, recognizes that the biggest opportunity in his early career was a move to Derby County, England, where he found himself in a sport he knew nothing about, in a new country, and about to build an entire ticketing department from scratch.

EPISODE 28: Dan Shevchik

Dan Shevchik, Partner and Senior Vice President at Sports Media Advisors, talks about his pivotal career decision to join the SMA firm after attending Stanford Business School.

EPISODE 29: Brent Rossi

Brent Rossi, EVP of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Pegula Sports and Entertainment, explains that the one thing he thinks about every day is that wherever his path leads, it is essential to be confident, to be positive, and at the end of the day, to lead.

EPISODE 30: Dave Pietrycha

Dave Pietrycha, CFO of the NBC Sports Group, talks about giving up a stable career opportunity, taking risks, and how his path bounced from aerospace to media.

EPISODE 31: Matthew Caldwell

Matthew Caldwell, President and CEO of Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, takes a moment to reflect on those big career decisions and how they’ve affected him in each phase of his professional life.

EPISODE 32: Megha Parekh

Megha Parekh, Senior Vice President & Chief Legal Officer of the Jacksonville Jaguars, talks about how some of the perhaps unconventional decisions she’s made have led to the success she’s found in her career.

EPISODE 33: Ben Milsom

Ben Milsom, Chief Ticketing Officer at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers describes how his early role as VP of Ticket Sales for the Sacramento Kings took him out of his professional comfort zone and taught him to make the best of a challenge while pushing him to the next level of his career.

EPISODE 34: Todd Fleming

Todd Fleming, Vice President and GM of Legends Global Sales, speaks about the fortune he’s had in being surrounded by talented individuals throughout his career.

EPISODE 35: Nzinga Shaw

Nzinga Shaw, recognizes the people that take time out of their busy careers to mentor and strengthen the potential of others. She was fortunate to have this guidance in Neil Glat, President of the NY Jets, who she worked with for several years at the NFL.