Sports & Fitness Industry Association Launches Emerging Leaders Program for Diverse, Young Professionals

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 2, 2023) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has officially launched the SFIA Excelerator Program, an emerging leaders program for young professionals from diverse communities employed in the sports and fitness industry.

The pilot program is a six-month initiative that will run from May through November 2023 involving seven high-performing young professionals (“Associates”) from SFIA member organizations, including Clarks, BSN Sports, Brooks Running, Nevco, New Balance, Rawlings, and Riddell.

The Associates will participate in an immersive program that includes various SFIA industry events, professional development workshops, a “Lunch ’N Learn” series, career coaching sessions, and a collaborative webinar presentation to the industry. The Venn Collective, a Preferred Partner of SFIA that works with organizations to build healthy cultures, strong leaders, and high-performing teams, will help facilitate the Excelerator program content.

“SFIA is committed to working with our member companies to accelerate the careers of exceptional young professionals from diverse backgrounds,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “We must invest in the next generation of emerging talent and empower them to be the future leaders in this industry. I’m proud of our DEI Committee’s leadership in forging this opportunity.”

The SFIA Excelerator Program Associates for the first cohort include:

Left Photo by: Dustin Satloff, Pottheiser Photography

“The NFL is proud to be an SFIA member and support the development of the next generation of industry leaders from diverse communities. We all are responsible for engaging, mentoring, and developing future leaders in the sports business,” said Roman Oben, Vice President of Football Development Strategy, National Football League and an SFIA Executive Board Member and the Chairperson of the DEI Committee.

Jacqueline Leamer, Co-Founder, Head of Strategy, The Venn Collective said, “We couldn’t be more proud to energize and support SFIA’s Excelerator program and to develop and raise up leaders. The industry will only benefit from the cohort’s growth.”

Click here to learn more about the Excelerator Program and the 2023 Associates.


ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit

ABOUT VENN COLLECTIVE: The Venn Collective connects business and people to energize peak performance so that business is better for people and people are better in business. They create customized solutions for individuals, teams, and organizations that tap into the potential of all talent levels. Their work spans coaching leaders to clarity and energy, training managers and teams for performance, and designing solutions for organizations that enable sustainable change and growth. For more information, please visit

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