On Tuesday September 16, I will be fortunate enough to join Turnkey Search SVP Carolyne Savini in presenting results of a survey sent to hundreds of sports-industry peers. This survey isn’t your ordinary research project. Rather, it’s a study about where women stand in hiring and career advancement within sports. The respondents profiled in the survey? Members of the sports industry themselves. Men and Women. Us.

The presentation I speak of will be delivered as part of the annual Game Changers Conference, presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. I won’t be divulging any findings here; results are on embargo until the conference. But I can provide a little bit of foreshadowing.

1. The results are compelling.
2. The results will generate a lot of dialogue.
3. We in the sports industry are all looking at the same object, but we don’t all agree on what we see.

I am an ardent believer in the need for diversity – everywhere, all the time. Plant the same seed in the same plot every year, soil loses its fertility. (Remember crop rotation from middle school?) Invest all your money in one stock, you exacerbate your risk. Run a company where every employee is a male, age 40, 5’10”, size 10 shoes, and brown hair? Don’t act surprised when your ideas and deliverables turn stagnant. Variety is the spice of life! Why wouldn’t it be the fertilizer for the money tree?

The irony in making progress on gender diversity in sports is that the overwhelming number of executives is male. So in order for women to penetrate the leadership ranks more deeply, men will need to embrace their presence. We should. A wider variety of people leads to a wider variety of ideas. Remember the book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”? Mars is way too cold. Venus is way too hot. But average them – you get earth. Hello!!!

I don’t know what the audience makeup will be on September 16th, but I hope there are a lot of men in the room. We need collaboration, not revolution. That will only happen if all of the sports industry works together to change the game.

See you in NYC on September 16.

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