SAN DIEGO, Oct. 10, 2011 – Bill Walton, Executive Chairman of SD Sport Innovators (SDSI) managed by CONNECT, today named Lisa Freedman as the organization’s Executive Director.
Freedman brings a long track record in the sports event and facility management field, as well as business development experience, to her new role with SDSI, which is fueling the growth of the action sports and lifestyle industry in Southern California.
“We are proud, honored and most fortunate to welcome Lisa Freedman to the SDSI team,” Walton said. “Lisa brings nearly 20 years of management experience, and the guidance and foresight SDSI needs to continue to grow into the organization we all envision; one that is the frontrunner for sports innovation, entrepreneurship, business creation and collaboration.”
Freedman has had a hand in numerous well-known events, including Super Bowls, Olympic Games, Rose Bowls and Major League Baseball All-Star Games. She also served as Director of Events for the San Diego International Sports Council from 2004-05.
“Lisa’s relationships and experience with leading world sporting events will be incremental in increasing SDSI’s exposure and membership support,” Walton said.
Freedman said the lessons learned in the sports event industry have prepared her for her new role.
“It’s about seeing how everything fits together and making it work, meeting everyone’s needs,” she said. “Those experiences are what I’m bringing to the table to help fulfill SDSI’s mission.”
That and a passion for building relationships, plus an interest in a new career path with a primary focus on business development.
“I love networking and triangulating relationships, and if I meet good people and think they’d be a good a connection, I make intros,” she said. “I love to do that, and it’s all about growing the economy here in Southern California.”
One of the best ways to do that, she said, is to create a sense of community where companies are helping each other out.
“With 600+ sports companies in Southern California from start-ups to mature companies, I think everyone can benefit from the relationships, services and opportunities SDSI provides,” she said.
“The mature companies have an opportunity to see the latest products, talent and technology that local businesses are developing,” she said.
“And then of course there are the educational and mentoring components for the start-ups. There are huge advantages to being a part of this organization because many of these companies have younger CEOs who have invented something but may not necessarily have the business background to grow their companies in the right direction.”
She’s also excited about fostering development in San Diego, a city that has remained home, even when her work in recent years took her to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
“I am so thrilled to be a part of an organization that allows me to stay in Southern California and also provides an opportunity to give back to a community that has been so good to me since I moved here in 2004,” she said.
In her new position, Lisa will dual report to Bill, Executive Chairman of SDSI, as well as Duane Roth, CEO of CONNECT, SDSI’s parent organization. Garrett Hale, Program Manager and Bill’s assistant, has a dual report to Bill and Lisa. Senior Program Coordinator Renne Catalano will also report to Lisa.
SD Sport Innovators (SDSI) is a non-profit, business accelerating, trade organization that connects and drives the growth of Southern California's vibrant sports economy by offering innovative programs and services for start ups, mature companies and service providers. We offer mentoring, education and capital funding opportunities for start-ups; best practice collaboration, access to new technology, and public policy advocacy for mature companies; as well as deal flow to our service providers and the Southern California Investment Community. (www.SDSportInnovators.org)
Any entrepreneurs or companies in the sports space are encouraged to contact SDSI for business guidance, as Lisa is eager to meet the industry and increase SDSI's reach.