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Rising 25 Class of 2019

This year’s Rising 25 Class of 2019 comes from a nominee pool of more than 350 young professionals from across the sports industry.

Front Office Sports



It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev.

This year, we received more than 350 nominations from across the industry, making this the single most competitive of the three years that the award has been given out.

Before we get to this year’s winners, we’d like to point out that J’Ron Erby, one of the members of the Class of 2019, lost his job yesterday when the AAF decided to suspend operations.

If you are looking to hire a talented social/marketing person, he would be one to consider.

Now, for the announcement of the rest of the Class of 2019.

Travis Case 
Manager of Business Development & Strategy, LA Kings

Glenn Hyams 
Senior Coordinator, Club Business Development, NFL

Melissa Darusz 
Account Manager, Event Sales, Miami Dolphins/Hard Rock Stadium

Dori Atkins 
Manager, Partnership Management – National Sales, Learfield IMG College

J’Ron Erby 
Content Marketing Coordinator, Alliance of American Football

Andrew DiMario 
Manager of Sales, Austin FC

Daniel Everett 
Senior Manager, Rights Acquisition Operations, FloSports

Zoe White
Manager, Marketing Integration & Operations, Atlanta Hawks

Josh Keiles 
Vice President of Business Development, National Sports Forum

Samantha Timmons 
Diversity Marketing Coordinator, Atlanta Braves

Ryan Olli 
Licensing Coordinator, NFLPA

Paige Hegedus
Manager, Special Events & Affiliate Programming, MiLB

Olivia Witherite
Social & Digital Director, MASN

Nick Carey
Account Coordinator, Bespoke Sports & Entertainment

Adam Johnson
Digital Content Manager, ISM Raceway

Miles Cahill
Coordinator, Partnership Marketing, LA Clippers

Madeline Down
Manager of Production, Seattle Seahawks

Kimberly Ostiller
Global Partnerships Coordinator, Legends

Kaitlin Brennan
Assistant Director, Marketing, Stanford Athletics

Justin Warden
CEO, Ader

Jack Kelly
Sports Property Sales Assistant, CAA

George Michael Steinbrenner IV
Owner, Harding Steinbrenner Racing

Benjamin Gallagher
Head of Social, The Checkdown (NFL)

Austin Cox
Elites Sales Representative, Hudl

Andre Robinson
Producer, LA Clippers

None of this would be possible without the 10 industry judges who devoted their time to help select the 25 individuals you see here today.

A huge word of thanks to the following individuals:

Nick Kelly
Head of US Sports Marketing, AB InBev

Patty Hubbard
Managing Director & Co-Founder, BFWD

Drew Boe
Director, Managers on a Mission

Dee Kundra
Head of PR and Comms, FC Bayern – Americas

Jim Cavale

Katrina Palanca
Director of Sponsorship Operations, Twitch

Kyle Bunch
Managing Director, Partnerships & Strategy, R/GA

Sarah Flynn
GMThirty Five Ventures

TJ Adeshola
Head of US Sports Partnerships, Twitter

Emily Jaenson
General Manager, Reno Aces

Finally, we couldn’t do all of this without the generous support of AB InBev. Thanks to their support, we are able to deliver a lifetime opportunity to all of the winners.

Be sure to stay on the lookout for plenty of content to come over the course of the next few days as the Class of 2019 is treated to the first-ever Rising 25 Summit, a one-day immersive learning experience that will give Class of 2019 the chance to hear from Nick Kelly, David Picioski, Heather Breen, Anna Rogers, Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid, Chelsea Phillips and Shawn Morrissey, and participate in hands-on projects with the AB InBev team.

On Friday, the first-ever Rising 25 Gala will be held at Marquee NYC and will see 200+ industry professionals and family members come together to celebrate the next generation of rising stars. The night will be highlighted by a keynote given by Uzma Rawn, Vice President of Sponsorship Sales for Major League Baseball.

For those interested in the Class of 2017 and Class of 2018, they can be found here and here respectively.


Editorial Veterans Join FOS

It’s with great excitement that we welcome both Ian Thomas and Michael McCarthy to the Front Office Sports team.

Front Office Sports




Today marks another step in the evolution of Front Office Sports.

From the beginning, our goal has always been to provide you with the best, most relevant content at the intersection of sports and business.

As the business continues to evolve and you demand more of us and our brand, we believe these next two hires accomplish much of what you are asking us to provide: more coverage, deeper insights and increased quality. 

It’s with great excitement that we welcome both Ian Thomas and Michael McCarthy to the Front Office Sports team, with Thomas taking over as Editor and McCarthy joining the team as Senior Writer. 

It’s an exciting time for us as we welcome two pros who have a combined 33 years of editorial experience, something that is certainly going to elevate our product across the board.

Thomas joins FOS after roughly five years at Sports Business Journal, where he led both MLS and NHL coverage for the publication. As our new editor, he will be in charge of all aspects of helping us build a world-class editorial team and one that isn’t afraid to push the limits when it comes to coverage.

McCarthy joins FOS after four years as a reporter/producer for Sporting News. In his new role as a senior writer for FOS, McCarthy will be tasked with providing in-depth coverage and analysis across all areas of the business while still being deeply involved in covering the sports media landscape. McCarthy will also continue to serve as an adjunct journalism professor at Rutgers, a role he has held since 2015.

This isn’t all that you will be hearing from us over the course of next few months. 

In June, we will be unveiling an entirely new site and brand identity that will further cement the visual quality of our platform. 

Outside of these improvements, we are also in search of talented individuals to join our team. This will start with the hire of a newsletter writer whose sole focus will be dedicated to refining our daily newsletter and delivering a product that continues to be a must-read every morning. If you believe you are a fit for that role, applications are now open. You can apply here!

Of course, none of this would be possible without your commitment to us, being patient in our growth process and your words of both encouragement and criticism.

Going forward, Ian can be reached at and on Twitter at @byIanThomas. Mike can be reached at and on Twitter at @MMcCarthyREV

As always, we look forward to working with you and can’t thank you enough for your support as we have grown. The fun is just beginning!

Adam White, CEO

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A Letter From The Editor

Mike Piellucci, our first managing editor, welcomes you to the start of a new era for Front Office Sports.

Mike Piellucci




Dear Reader,

My name is Mike Piellucci, and I’m pleased to announce that I’m the first managing editor of Front Office Sports. My career includes stops at VICE Sports and FOX Sports, while my freelance writing has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, The Ringer and Los Angeles Magazine. I’ve reported stories within bedrock leagues like the NBA, MLB and NCAA, and I’ve gone off the beaten path to find them in everything from boxing to figure skating to professional wrestling.

While no two stories are the same, the roots of all great ones are. They’re meant to teach us about people, places, things and events. They’re meant to make us consider their subjects’ place in the world around us. Sometimes, they’re even meant to make us feel.

That is the editorial vision I have for Front Office Sports. Already, FOS has achieved so much in a short period of time, with relatively few resources on hand. All of that, however, only represents a fragment of our potential – and the road toward achieving it begins today. Our ambition is to take you inside every corner of the sports business world in a way that is both immersive and evocative. We want our journalism to foster new conversations within the industry and build upon existing ones. And we want to have a fun time doing it.

So, if you have a great story to tell about teams, leagues, brands or athletes, I want to hear it. Or, if you just want to read them, then stick with us, because plenty of good stuff is coming. You can email me at or find me on Twitter @mikelikessports. Talk to me. It is a truly exciting time for sports business, and we look forward to exploring it together with you.


Mike Piellucci, Managing Editor

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