Jessica C. Berman is Deputy Commissioner and Executive Vice President of Business Affairs at the National Lacrosse League where she provides strategic direction on all growth initiatives and legal matters facing the NLL. Among her areas of responsibility, Berman oversees human resources, team services, marketing and communications, lacrosse operations, community engagement and the governance of the League. When hired in 2019, she became and continues to be the first female Deputy Commissioner of a men’s professional sports league.
She previously served as Vice President, Community Development, Culture & Growth at the National Hockey League, and was also the Executive Director of the NHL Foundation. In this role she participated in the design and execution of the League’s strategic corporate social responsibility goals, initiatives, policies and programs in the areas of importance to the League, NHL Clubs, NHL’s business partners and the hockey community generally. The focus of her work was to ensure the initiatives are properly aligned with the League’s overall objectives and to change the global conversation about hockey, making it the acknowledged standard for sports experiences that are inclusive, accessible, enjoyable and community-friendly. In her philanthropic role, she worked to increase access and reduce barriers to the game of hockey, with an emphasis on the life skills and positive values learned through the sport.
Prior to this position, she was Vice President & Deputy General Counsel for the NHL. She was a member of the collective bargaining team for the 2012 NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which involved crafting the League’s labor strategy, negotiating with the NHLPA, drafting the Agreement, and analyzing the impact of proposed changes.
Prior to working for the NHL, Jessica was an Associate in the Labor & Employment Department at Proskauer Rose LLP. At Proskauer, she represented employers in collective bargaining, mediations, arbitrations and litigations. While at Proskauer, she also handled pro bono matters, mostly relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and military service.
Jessica graduated from Fordham University School of Law where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Fordham Sports Law Forum and an Associate Editor of the Urban Law Journal. She graduated from the University of Michigan, School of Kinesiology with an undergraduate degree in Sports Management and Communications with distinction. During her years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she worked as the Assistant Manager for the Men’s Ice Hockey team and the Men’s Football team through the Sports Information Department. In 2009, the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology awarded her the Early Career Achievement Award, and in 2015 she delivered the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology Commencement Address.
Jessica has lectured on sports league operations and business, corporate social responsibility, social impact, youth sports, diversity & inclusion, labor law, collective bargaining in sports, immigration law in sports, sports arbitration and breaking into the sports industry. Jessica remains active with the University of Michigan having served on the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology Alumni Board, and currently serving on the Board of Advisors of the Michigan Sports Business Conference and on the UM Sport Management Advisory Board. In 2012, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Sports Lawyers Association. In 2014 she was selected to receive the Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award. In 2015 she was presented with the Burke Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Board of Directors of the Burke Medical Research Institute and Burke Rehabilitation Hospital for her commitment to helping people with brain injuries. She has also served as a judge for SBJ New Voices Under 30 and Front Office Sports Rising 25. Jessica is also a member of the UJA Sports for Youth Committee and is on the Fordham Sports Law Forum Board of Advisors. In 2020, Jessica became one of the founding Advisory Board Members for the Pro Sports Assembly, dedicated to advancing diversity & inclusion in the professional sports industry.
Outside of her professional pursuits Jessica is an avid runner and has completed several marathons, half marathons and Tough Mudders. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and now resides in Westchester with her two dogs and two sons who play hockey, soccer, baseball and lacrosse.