BEYOND SPORT HOUSE–Our House, Our Agenda

The Beyond Sport House started out off with a nice breakfast spread where attendees could enjoy browsing the fantastic SAP Innovation Lab space which features amazing views from Hudson Yards. The 48th floor space really has some terrific areas for congregating and talking and finding places to hang out with other attendees.

The day was kicked off by Radha Balani, the Director of Strategy of thinkBeyond. Radha set a tremendous tone of energy and passion and she utilized her energy to challenge the attendees to spend time exploring the exhibits and meeting each other but also making time to think through how they could collaborate with other attendees. After her charge, Radha turned the reigns over to Beyond Sport Founder Nick Keller to follow up and introduce the first panel which focused on Global Impact.


  • Suzanne Gylfe—Managing Director—US Brand & Marketing Deloitte
  • Julie Van Ullen—General Manager, Marketing, Rakuten
  • Ann Rosenberg, SVP and Global Head, SAP Next Gen
  • Simon Rosen, Unilever (Vaseline)

Julie Van Ullen provided some interesting comments as she explained that Rakuten means optimism in Japanese.  Social change is a foundation of her company and their tag line is “believe in the future.” 

Ann Rosenberg suggested easy ways for the people to make an impact. Her recommendations were:

  • What can you change as a person
  • How can you contribute to the world
  • Focused on UN SDGs
  • Live it
  • Breathe it

Simon Rosen from Unilever chimed in and spoke about how his organization makes an impact

  • Works with SDGs
  • He believes a big challenge is making his consumers care about UN SDGs
  • Ongoing commitment to make it relevant and significant
  • He articulated the concept of Brand DO and then Brand SAY
  • Your brand has to do things first, before people will care about what they say.


Moderated by: Radha Balani

Apollo Crews—WWE Superstar

  • Always someone who has it worse
  • Always someone who has it more difficult

Ali—WWE Superstar

  • Police discrimination in Chicago was his motivation for attending
  • Tells story of officer asking driver of car, “what’s the matter, don’t you speak f’n English”
  • Importance of being transparent
  • Story of why the white guy was not handcuffed because of shoulder surgery and black guy confessed to having gun in the car and the officer cuffed him while he searched the car.

Ayman Hill—Courageous use of sports Awards

Chris Mosier—Hall of Fame Triathlete and Transgender Advocate

  • Couldn’t just start a new life
  • Had to consider what it impacted on others
  • How to deal with comments and push backs
  • You only have once to come out
  • Mentor to transgender athletes
  • Where is World in LGBTQ space
    • In 11 countries you can be sentenced to death
    • In 73 countries it is illegal

COACH—THE MOVIE- Women’s involvement in sports

This was a great conversation led by Moderator—Angela Woods, Sr. Director, Corporate Citizenship ESPN. Here are some of the issues that Angela addressed

  • Discussion of how men and women apply for jobs differently
  • How do we change the culture and conversation around Women’s Sports
    • How it is displayed in social media

Courtney Levinsohn—Founder, Growth Through Sport

  • Looking for a profile of a bad-ass woman to put in front of people as a role model
  • Lack of women coaches
  • Couldn’t find enough female coaches to create a 50/50 coaching staff
  • Wanted to profile Tracy Hamm and put her in front of kids
  • Wanted to tell her story of how she holds herself in that position gracefully and with confidence
  • Wanted young girls to be comfortable with seeing women in sports

Jean Afterman—Asst. GM and SVP, NY Yankees

  • Was player agent before she came to Yankees
  • Former lawyer which she uses as a sword and a shield
  • Her path made easier by education
  • In front offices it is a matter of recognizing that the brain is gender blilnd
  • We just need to see women in those positions
  • Even more important for the little boys to see the girls in those positions to create the change as that sets the tone—even more important than girls seeing it
  • Not best female athlete, talk about the best athlete
  • Needs to come from a storytelling point of view

Amanda Duffy—President, National Women’s Soccer League

  • What does she hope to propel from that win
    • Best case scenario for women’s soccer
    • Getting Women more engaged
    • High levels
  • Careers in so many levels
  • Setting the standard and breaking barriers for girls to follow
  • How it is discussed in the media
    • Womens World Cup vs World Cup
    • Women athletes vs athletes
    • Need to shift cultural thinking


This terrific exercise focused on having a series of statements presented to the audience and having them evaluate their reactions to the statement and their prejudgments about the person referenced in the statement. After going through the full set of statements, then a second statement was revealed about each of the subjects. After completing the reactions again, the audience was asked to complete the reactions for the third time. You can see quite the disparity in the reactions and it really forced the participants to examine the way they react to and judge situations well before they have all of the facts. I thought this was one of the most powerful exercises that was presented during the whole BEYOND SPORT experience.


Moderator, Renata Simril, LA 84 Foundation

  • Hosted LA84 conference last Tuesday with over 500 attendees
  • Action has to follow narrative
    • If not, then it is useless
  • Pushed the other panelists to really investigate and look into the issues that are important to them.

Adam Met, Musician in band AJR & UNDP Advocate for Sustainable Development

  • In AJR
  • Albums and brands that associate with his social media following
  • How can leverage relationship to make partnership something that is sustainable
  • Pays for carbon credits for flights across the country.
    • If promoter will not pay for it, they pay for it themselves
  • Go look at the SDGs
    • They all have very specific targets and indicators
    • Set goals for themselves
    • Look at indicators

Samantha Livingstone, Olympic Gold Medalist, Mental Health Advocate

  • Two months after winning gold she was battling post-Olympic depression
  • Dr. at University of Michigan saved her life
  • Giving ourselves permission to take time to digest information
  • Brain dumps and writing to review
  • Illusion of urgency
  • Put it down on paper so you have time to process

Caron Butler, NBA player, Criminal Justice Advocate

  • Incarcerated for 18 months himself
  • Don’t train you how to be in society
  • Train you how to be a better criminal
  • Advice on how not to get caught
  • Need rated “R” conversations=REAL
  • Be authentic
  • Stay informed
  • Stay open minded
  • Adjust to new

Kely Nascimento-DuLuca—Storyteller, Producer and Activist

  • Know more than everyone else
  • Be informed
  • Have to be a knowledge leader in order to make an impact on everyone else as well!!
Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel is the Founder of the Sports Philanthropy Network. Roy has worked in the sports business world for over 20 years including serving as an instructor in Northwestern University's graduate Sports Management Program. Having served as a sports lawyer representing athletes, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, Roy has extensive experience helping organizations improve their strategy, marketing, communications and leadership development.
Sports Philanthropy Network

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