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4 Leaders in the Business of Sport to Follow

Meet accomplished leaders in sport who bring passion and purpose to the playing field

The business of sport is a constantly evolving industry that demands exceptional leadership to guide organizations, sports and teams to success. From coaches to executives to board members, these leaders are at the forefront of innovation and strategy, driving the industry forward. We are highlighting four top leaders in the sports industry who have made significant contributions to their respective fields. These individuals have not only achieved remarkable success but have also become influential figures in their communities, inspiring the next generation of leaders to pursue their passions and make their mark in the world of sports. Whether on the court, on the field, or behind the scenes, these leaders have shown what it takes to excel in the sports industry and make a lasting impact.

Jennifer Bishop is a founder, leader, and volunteer. She is a member of the Executive Board of Tennis Canada and Chair of the Nominating Committee. Jennifer was appointed to one of the most prestigious committees of the International Tennis Federation, the Davis Cup Committee, where she is the only woman, and the second woman in history, to be appointed to this committee. Previously, Jennifer was the first Canadian appointed to the ITF Billie Jean King Cup Committee. She has served on numerous sports-related boards, including the Tennis Hall of Fame Committee and as President of the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club.

Jennifer dedicates herself to providing safe sport opportunities through various means, including her work as the Chair of the Board of the Doug Philpott Inner City Children's Tennis Foundation. In recognition of her contributions, Jennifer was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Tennis Hall of Fame as an athlete and builder.

From a business perspective, Jennifer is a partner at Aird & Berlis LLP - a prominent Canadian law firm with a well-established local, national, and international reputation. She is also the founder and co-chair of the firm's Sports, Media & Entertainment Group. Jennifer has been recognized as one of Lexpert's Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 and is listed among the Best Lawyers in Canada for Corporate Law. She is a frequent speaker on matters relating to corporate law and governance, leadership, and gender equity, and is the incoming global chair of the International Bar Association's Women's Leadership Group.

We love Jennifer because she is inspired by the next generation, powered by past generations, and focused on making a difference in the world. Jennifer's outstanding experience and accomplishments inspire us to trust our instincts while staying mission-focused in our leadership journeys. Get to know Jennifer, her motivations and her passions.

Meet Gord Grace, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario University Athletics for over eight years. Gord has had an illustrious career in sports, particularly in university sports. Prior to joining Ontario University Athletics, Gord was the Chief Marketing Officer at U SPORTS, the national governing body of university sports in Canada. Gord's roots in university sports go even further back, as he spent time at Mount Allison University as the Director of Development and CIS Head Football Coach. He then joined the University of Windsor and served as the Director of Athletics and Recreation for 11 years.

Throughout his career, Gord has found motivation in the people he serves in sports. As a developer of sport opportunities for student-athletes, he has found purpose and passion in his work.

Gord consistently empowers sports organizations and properties using his business expertise, experience, and proven ability to develop and lead winning programs, propel high-achieving teams, establish synergies, and optimize operations.

We love how motivated Gord is by his work! His story is a prime example of how passion goes a long way. Learn more about Gord and check out some of the advice he has to offer.

Meet Leah MacNab, the Managing Director of NBA Canada. In her role, Leah is responsible for developing and growing the league's business in Canada, including television and digital media, marketing and retail partnerships, licensing, special events, and basketball development.

Throughout her career, Leah has demonstrated an entrepreneurial and leadership mindset. She received the Canadian Sports Business "5 to Watch" Award in 2018, recognizing her as one of the top sport executives in Canada under 40 years old. She also serves as a Board member for Canada Basketball and the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada. Leah is passionate about creative thinking, marketing, women’s empowerment, and food. She holds a postgraduate marketing certificate from Ryerson University and is a graduate of the University of Toronto.

Leah is an innovator and a passionate leader. She offers valuable advice for those seeking to succeed in their own career and life journeys. Discover what Leah has shared about the experiences that have shaped her into the impactful leader she is at NBA Canada.

Meet Peter Cosentino, the President of DEC Sports & Entertainment and Co-Founder of Inspire Athlete Management. With over 30 years of experience, Peter is a seasoned expert in creating impactful partnerships that connect brands with audiences through properties in Canada and the United States.

Peter's focus is on two main areas: First, he represents lifestyle property rights holders such as Canada Running Series, Crankworx, World Cup Mountain Biking, and Speed Skating Canada, providing brands with opportunities to invest in these properties. Second, he manages Inspire Athlete Management, which offers brands high-performance cyclists who compete globally in various disciplines of the sport and are socially active.

As a leader in Canada’s sports and entertainment marketing field, Peter has an impressive track record of building and fostering winning marketing and sponsorship programs for sports and entertainment organizations. He has worked with prominent organizations, including 11 seasons at the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, the Toronto Argonauts Football Club, and NFL Canada.

Peter offers a personal and relatable perspective when sharing his insights gained over the years. From his motivations to his personal ethos and the things he wishes he had known sooner, check out his authentic and practical advice.

The sports industry is a dynamic and competitive field that requires exceptional leadership to drive innovation and achieve success. The four leaders we highlighted in this article have demonstrated remarkable accomplishments in their respective roles. Their dedication, hard work, and passion for their craft serve as an inspiration for the next generation of leaders. As the industry continues to evolve, we can look to these leaders as examples of what it takes to excel and make a lasting impact in this exciting and ever-changing field.

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