2024 Excelerator Program Information & Application

SFIA and its members are committed to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. While there has been progress in advancing traditionally underrepresented talent among the leadership ranks of our industry, there is more to be done. SFIA is committed to promoting professional development in our industry. To that end, we’re focusing on high-performing, early-career professionals and the next generation of leaders.

SFIA’s EXCELERATOR Program started in 2023 and represents SFIA’s (and the industry’s) commitment to accelerating the careers of exceptional early-career professionals from diverse communities in the sports industry and empowering them to become the next generation of leaders.

It is a six-month cohort program officially launching this May. It will feature a robust, impactful curriculum drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the industry’s best leaders. Those who participate in the experience can expect to build and expand their network within and outside the sports and fitness industry, grow their professional toolkit, and gain visibility into the opportunities available
across the industry.

The 2024 cohort class (“ASSOCIATES”) size will be limited (between 10 – 12 individuals) and an intentionally selected group from Excelerator Sponsors and SFIA membership. SFIA’s People & Culture committee will continuously review and monitor the program and report to SFIA (staff, board, and members) on developments throughout the year.

Year II Excelerator Sponsors include Adidas, Brooks Sports, BSN, Clarks, Franklin Sports, National Football League, National Hockey League, New Balance, Rawlings & Riddell Sports.

Application Process

1. If you are an employee (with eight years or less of work experience) of an EXCELERATOR sponsor (listed above):

2. If you are an employee (with eight years or less of work experience) at an SFIA member organization that is NOT an EXCELERATOR Sponsor

The 2024 application process will be open between March 18 – April 5, 2024.

Associate Eligibility


Excelerator Selection Process

Application Deadline
Review of Applications
Selection Criteria

SFIA ASSOCIATES will be selected based on the following:


ASSOCIATE programming will include:

Benefits for SFIA Associates

There are several benefits for SFIA ASSOCIATES participating in the Excelerator program, including but not limited to the following:

Associate Reimbursement & Costs Covered

SFIA aims to cover all costs for the Associates related to programming and on-site hospitality

If needed and so requested, SFIA can reimburse Associate travel expenses (e.g., airfare, hotel, etc.) associated with attending the in-person EXCELERATOR professional development sessions in May and November.


Want a paper copy of the form? Click Here. If you complete the paper copy of this form, please send your completed form to Glenn Horine, [email protected].

2024 SFIA Excelerator Associate Member Recommendation

Want a paper copy of the form? Click Here. If you complete the paper copy of this form, please send your completed form to Glenn Horine, [email protected].

Want a paper copy of the form? Click Here. If you complete the paper copy of this form, please send your completed form to Glenn Horine, [email protected].



An SFIA Associate is an early-career employee of a Sports & Fitness Industry Association member organization seeking access to and opportunities for professional development within the sports industry.

Who’s eligible to be an SFIA ASSOCIATE?

An early-career employee (less than eight years of aggregate career employment) recommended by a senior-level executive (vice president level or above) from an SFIA member organization who completes the EXCELERATOR application by the stated deadline.

How are SFIA ASSOCIATES selected?

EXCELERATOR sponsors can place a qualified employee into the EXCELERATOR program with a completed application form that includes appropriate recommendations and background information. Qualified applicants from an EXCELERATOR-sponsored organization should review the application process internally with a representative from their Human Resources/People & Culture department knowledgeable about the EXCELERATOR program and application process.

A qualified candidate from an SFIA member (non-sponsor) interested in a potential “scholarship” opening will need to submit the required application form, appropriate recommendations, and background information. SFIA’s People & Culture Committee will meet to review eligible candidates and make a timely decision on possible Associate scholarship opportunities. The committee will convene immediately after the submissions are due to make selections.

What is the desired outcome of the SFIA EXCELERATOR program?

The EXCELERATOR program will unite the sports and fitness industry and present a much-needed “all are welcome” message from SFIA members. It will make a meaningful difference in the professional development of early-career employees through access to SFIA member events, thought leadership from SFIA member executives, and coordinated SFIA networking and mentorship activities.

What is the duration of the SFIA EXCELERATOR program?

The 2024 EXCELERATOR program is a six-month program schedule that will begin in late April with initial discovery meetings for each Associate in the group. The program will launch on May 28 with a welcome dinner and run through mid-November. It will include i) professional development sessions with senior industry leaders, ii) cohort virtual networking events, iii) career counseling, and iv) a mentorship program pairing Associates with SFIA executives in non-competitive industry sectors.

How large is the SFIA ASSOCIATE class?

SFIA will intentionally keep the Associate cohort small, with an anticipated group of 10-12 individuals. The annual cohort size may increase in the coming years based on support from SFIA membership.

Who is administering the program?

The management of the SFIA EXCELERATOR program will be overseen by the People & Culture committee.

How can SFIA members support the SFIA EXCELERATOR program?

Membership can support the SFIA EXCELERATOR program in a variety of areas, including i) Candidate nomination, ii) Sponsorship, iii) Mentoring, iv) Networking, and v) Professional Development Curriculum.