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NLL CMO Ashley Dabb Recognized in Leaders Under 40 Class of 2017


585 Nominations. 51 Countries. 87 Judges. 6 Categories. 1 Class of 2017


Leaders and Aspire Academy have announced the Class of 2017 for the third annual Leaders Under 40 Awards, the global search for the best talent in the business of sport under the age of 40.

585 nominations were received over the 9 month campaign with 42 candidates selected to join the Class of 2017.  The categories included this year were Digital; Entrepreneurship; Leadership; Marketing & Communications; Sales and Legal & Governance. 87 international judges including Steve Tew, CEO, New Zealand All Blacks; Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director, Tottenham Hotspur FC; Alex Tielbeke, CEO, Eredivisie and Nick Bitel, CEO, London Marathon were involved in a rigorous selection process that resulted in the decision of this year’s Class of 2017.

James Worrall, CEO & Founder, Leaders commented: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the response to this year’s Awards with the best quality of nominations from more counties than ever before. The competition was tough but the 87 judges did a fantastic job in finalising this year’s incredibly talented Class of 2017. We’re really looking forward to celebrating with them all during Leaders Week this October.”

There will be a night of celebration for the Class of 2017 at the official black tie Awards Dinner held at the iconic Natural History Museum on 3 October 2017, during Leaders Week. With an audience of over 500 established and inspiring leaders in the room, all 42 candidates selected for the Class of 2017 will be recognised for their achievement and for the impact they have made to their discipline, organisation and sport.

If you would like to purchase one of the limited number of tables remaining, please enquire here.


The Official Leaders Under 40 Class of 2017


  • Jayar Donlan, Executive Vice President, Digital & Social Content, WWE
  • Brandon Gayle, Head of Global Sports Partnerships, Instagram
  • Shaun C. Koiner, Chief Product Officer, Perform Media, a division of Perform Group
  • Scott Kegley, Executive Director, Digital Media & Innovation, Minnesota Vikings
  • Mike Norrish, Digital Director, BT Sport
  • Rob Bloom, Group Head of Digital & Social Media, McLaren
  • Christopher Benyarko, Vice President, Product Strategy, National Basketball Association (NBA)



  • James Rushton, Chief Executive Officer, DAZN
  • Jeff Roth, Partner, Bruin Sports Capital
  • Nicholas Horbaczewski, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Drone Racing League
  • Michelle Walshe, Chief Executive Officer, Augusto
  • Mark Locke, Chief Executive Officer, Genius Sports
  • Tobias Sherman, Former Global Head of Esports, WME|IMG
  • James Kirkham, Head of Copa90, Copa90, Bigballs Media



  • Alexis Schaefer, Commercial & Marketing Director, International Paralympic Committee
  • Claire Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, Netball Scotland
  • Răzvan Burleanu, President, Romanian Football Federation
  • Amy Starkey, Regional Director (east), The Jockey Club
  • Matthew Caldwell, Team President and Chief Executive Officer, Florida Panthers
  • Kara Bachman, Executive Director, Chicago Sports Commission
  • Nzinga Shaw, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Atlanta Hawks & Philips Arena


Marketing & Communications

  • Katherine Johnson, Vice President and Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing, Visa
  • Ben Hartman, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Octagon
  • Anthony Di Cosmo, Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing & Content Development, Nickelodeon
  • Ashley Dabb, Chief Marketing Officer, National Lacrosse League
  • Umut Kutlu, Chief Marketing Officer, Beşiktaş JK İstanbul
  • Lenah Ueltzen-Gabell, Executive Vice President EMEA, Wasserman
  • Zaileen Janmohamed, Senior Vice President, Client Services, GMR Marketing



  • Jake Reid, President, Sporting Kansas City
  • Brent Stehlik, Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer, Cleveland Browns
  • Ian Warbrick, Director of Sponsorship Sales, TEAM Marketing AG
  • Michael Zavodsky, Executive Vice President, Global Partnerships, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
  • Benjamin Deblicker, Head of Partnerships, Ligue de Football Professionnel
  • Jake Reynolds, Senior Vice President, Ticket Sales and Services, Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), New Jersey Devils (NHL), Prudential Center (Arena)
  • Menno Geelen, Chief Commercial Officer, AFC Ajax


Legal & Governance

  • Sam Porter, Director of Legal and Business Affairs, DC United and Swansea City FC
  • Frank Saviano, Associate, Proskauer
  • Benoit Pasquier, General Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs, Asian Football Confederation
  • Andrew Rogers, Head of Governance & Regulation, Premiership Rugby
  • Chris Lendrum, Head of Professional Rugby, New Zealand Rugby
  • Chris Anderson, Head of Legal Services, Everton Football Club
  • Jonathan Ellis, Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys


Leaders Under 40 Awards are brought to you by Leaders and Aspire Academy.