“National Sports Forum and The Winning Edge Partner to Create Opportunities For the Next Generation of Diverse Leaders”

“National Sports Forum and The Winning Edge Partner to Create Opportunities For the Next Generation of Diverse Leaders”

Posted on August 27, 2020 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE

“National Sports Forum and The Winning Edge Partner to Create Opportunities For the Next Generation of Diverse Leaders

By: Peyton Whitted



Dear Faithful Readers,

These past few weeks, I had the pleasure of working alongside a Game Changer to create this feature. Smart, talented, and determined are a few words that I would use to describe her. This Gigs for Game Changers program is something that our industry desperately needs, and I couldn’t be more excited that the NSF has decided to partner with The Winning Edge to help create opportunities for diverse candidates that are looking to begin their journey in the sports industry.

On this edition of the Selling It feature, we take you through our partnership with The Winning Edge and their Gigs for Game Changers program that has engaged, empowered, and elevated the next generation of student-athletes and diverse leaders in the sports and entertainment industry. Enjoy!


Carlie Dawson

Marketing and Communications Manager


P.S. – Our Fall Summit Agenda Brochure was released today! Click HERE to take a look!


“National Sports Forum and The Winning Edge Partner to Create Opportunities For the Next Generation of Diverse Leaders


Mckinsey and Company found in a 2015 study that organizations in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperform their competitors by 35%. Now more than ever, there is a desire to hire diverse candidates in the industry, but there is still a gap between intention and action that is preventing opportunities to engage with these specific leaders and fully commit to diversity and inclusion. There are also challenges for student-athletes as they begin their post-graduate journey in the industry. Both populations find difficulty finding internship experiences whether it is access to these opportunities or limited schedules. In response to these challenges, the National Sports Forum and The Winning Edge Leadership Academy have partnered together to create opportunities that will prepare and develop minority student-athletes through real pathways from college to career.

Program Description: 

Athletes are desired employees in organizations. They work hard, they take feedback, they know how to work and communicate with people. Since 2015, The Winning Edge has engaged, empowered, and elevated the next generation of student-athletes and diverse leaders in the sports and entertainment industry. Gigs For Changers was established on June 25th, 2020 in response to the recent effects of COVID-19 and the postponement of most college sports or internships being canceled. Game Changers are a diverse group of current and former student-athletes from colleges across the country that are motivated and ready to work. Gigs for Game Changers allows this community the opportunity to complete professional tasks in the sport and entertainment industry that would typically be given to interns or newly hired employees. By creating these remote, short-term projects, Game Changers are able to gain relevant skills and build their network, while training in their sport.

Traditional programs like internships are limited by the number of opportunities they can offer and the diverse talent they can attract. Gigs or micro-internships improve hiring outcomes while individuals or organizations (small or big) get work done. They provide opportunities that engage prospective candidates year-round, even while they are still earning their degree or competing in their sport overseas. Gigs are short term, paid, professional assignments that can be completed by an entry-level new hire with minimal guidance or onboarding. Unlike a traditional internship, these assignments typically range from 5 to 40 hours of work, and many can be completed remotely by a Game Changer. This allows organizations to identify diverse potential candidates for opportunities within their organization without having to post full-time jobs or internships. Gigs are easy to implement, they create a diverse pathway into existing recruiting programs or entry-level roles. 

Click here to view sample projects with Gigs for Game Changers.


The partnership between the Winning Edge and NSF goes back to 2016 when Co-Founders Corinne Milien and Maria Taylor were selected as part of the NSF’s Business of Diversity in Sports & Entertainment Cohort and also received The NSF OM Foundation Award for going above and beyond in their community. The BDSE program aims to increase the opportunities for up-and-coming ethnic minorities and/or women in sports professionals to access the senior-level best practices of revenue-generating responsibilities within the industry and networking opportunities through an exclusive professional development workshop and scholarship. With The Winning Edge being led by two Black women with a mission to engage, empower, and elevate minority candidates in this industry, they have partnered with NSF to create opportunities that connect their Game Changers with NSF partners committed to diversity. NSF will help spread the word on the Winning Edge Gigs for Game Changers initiative, allowing sports organizations the ability to identify, engage, and assess the next generation of diverse leaders. “We’re more than an organization. We’re a movement. We’re elevating talent. We’re letting organizations know these Game Changers are prepared to get to work, they just need the opportunity.”, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The WE Leadership Academy Corinne Milien emphasized. For every opportunity that is created during NSF’s virtual support, an opportunity will be afforded to a Winning Edge Game Changer; a model perfected by Toms. This partnership will lead the push to focus on integrating diversity and inclusion in organizations throughout the sports industry and emphasizing these strategies contribute positively to the bottom line.

Looking Ahead: 

The NSF recently added their fifth pillar “Diversity and Inclusion” to their core educational pillars, which is something they’ve been focusing on since 2013 with their Business of Diversity in Sports & Entertainment  program. Their July 2020 Diversity & Inclusion webinar was their most attended webinar in The NSF’s 25-year history. It’s clear that people are looking to educate themselves and learn what they can do to create a workplace culture that values, advocates, and champions diversity and inclusion in the sports and entertainment industry. Gigs for Game Changers are low-risk investments that do not require companies to post full-time jobs or long-term internships. “My goal is to create 5,000 hours of gigs before December 31st, 2020”, Executive Director of The WE Leadership Corinne Milien prioritized. The NSF and The Winning Edge Leadership are taking action to give companies and organizations the tools and talent necessary to make diversity and inclusion a priority with their organization. 

With the National Sports Forum’s Virtual Fall Summit coming up on September 16,17, 2020, their event will shine a light on their partnership with the Gigs for Game Changers initiative. While teams and organizations are having to lay off full-time staff and are unable to afford hiring new personnel during these unprecedented times, this is a great opportunity for Game Changers to step in and work these “micro-jobs”. “There’s no playbook right now on how to work in a pandemic, no playbook on how to sell tickets right now for a sports team. We’ve really never seen anything like this. Teams are struggling to figure out kind best practices and ideas right now”, said NSF’s Vice President of Business and Development, Mitch Heimbach. The Virtual Fall Summit will allow its attendees to connect, speak, and share ideas with one another. It will also include education, networking opportunities, workshops, numerous breakout sessions, super panels, and a keynote session with Anheuser Busch’s VP of Partnerships, Beer Culture & Community, Nick Kelly. Executive Director Corinne Milien will be one of the notable breakout session speakers leading an educational session on how to integrate Diversity and Inclusion into an organization. The NSF and the Winning Edge Leadership will work together to build awareness of diversity and inclusion and to make this partnership successful. It begins with educating the sports industry on the power of Game Changers and providing organizations with talented and qualified minority candidates who are ready to do great work through Gigs for Game Changers. 

*Side note: This article was completed as a project through Winning Edge’s Gigs for Game Changers. Peyton is a former women’s basketball player at Pennsylvania State University, who majored in broadcast journalism and is currently training before heading to Greece to play her fourth year professionally.


For more information regarding The Winning Edge Leadership’s Gigs for Game Changers initiative, please contact Corinne Milien, Executive Director at corinne@winningedgeleadership.com.


The National Sports Forum is the largest annual cross-gathering of the top team sports marketing, sales, promotions, and event entertainment executives from throughout the broad spectrum of teams and leagues in North America. Visit www.sports-forum.com for more information.


The Winning Edge Leadership Academy was created in 2015 by co-founders Corinne Milien and Maria Taylor, in response to the lack of diversity in sports and entertainment. We engage, empower and elevate the next generation of minority leaders with the support and representation that was lacking elsewhere along their journey by creating resources, providing valuable career preparation and creating a community of mentors.  We bridge the gap of experience and opportunity for underrepresented groups to increase diversity at the decision-making level in the sports business.  Our signature event is the Game Changing Retreat, a four-day professional development experience for current and former student-athletes in Atlanta, GA. Visit www.wegamechange.org for more information.