McCormack Department of Sport Management Launches Practitioner-Inspired Women In Business Course

Course to be offered to both upper-level undergraduate and graduate students
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AMHERST, Mass. – The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management in the Isenberg School of Business at UMass Amherst will launch an innovative course this spring titled “Women in Business,” aimed at providing students with a case study–based exploration of the experiences and opportunities for women in the sport and entertainment industry.

The course, which was inspired by several UMass sport management alumnae, is one-of-a-kind within the sport management discipline and will be offered to both upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.

“The goal of the course is to provide the women in McCormack with the support and knowledge they need to not only succeed in their careers but be the innovative and transformative leaders in the sports industry,” said Nicole Melton, associate department chair, who will co-teach the course with Nefertiti Walker, Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and associate professor. “Students will get insights and hands-on training from faculty and industry practitioners on how to deal with a wide range of situations and challenges they will encounter in the real world,” she added. 

The idea for the course, as well as its development, came from several UMass alums, including Zaileen Janmohamed (MBA/MS ’05), currently head of partnership and development for LA28; Karina Herold (MBA/MS ’08), vice president of major events at Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission; Gloria Nevarez (BS ’93), West Coast Conference commissioner; and Karen Peters (MS ’94), senior associate athletic director at the University of Portland. Janmohamed, Herald, and Melton recently joined Front Office Sports to discuss the course’s framework and importance.

“UMass continues to be a pioneer in the education of the next generation of leaders in the sports industry, and there is no better time than now to provide a master class on the practical and professional development women need to navigate this business,” said Janmohamed. “While the industry has come a long way in gender equality in sports, we still have so much work to do. I’m honored to participate in this course, to engage with and support the next generation of female sports executives.”

In addition to women alumni, the course will feature case study–based discussions from other notable industry executives in key sport industry segments, including Kate Johnson, director of global marketing partnerships at Google, Jessica Gelman, CEO of Kraft Analytics Group and Angela Ruggiero, CEO of Sports Innovation Lab. The case study approach will ensure students internalize key insights unique to these visionary women working in sport, across topics like design thinking, managing people, emotional intelligence, and coalition building. The course will also include a mentor program for the participants in the class to directly connect with women who are leaders at various levels in the sport and entertainment business.

“We feel the time is right to launch this new initiative, especially given the support and encouragement of some of our most notable women alumni,” said McCormack department chair Steve McKelvey. “We are proud to have faculty members who are among the most renowned researchers in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’ve had a vibrant Diversity and Inclusion course for a while now, and this new course is a logical extension of not only our existing research and teaching, but also our commitment to working with industry practitioners to provide our students with the training they need for future success.”