Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - August 18, 2003
We've all heard the phrase, "Behind every great man, there's a great woman." As a woman, I'd like to think so! And fortunately, in many cases, there is a great man behind great women. I have a favorite one of those - Gary Stevenson!
Behind the WNBA is a truly great man, David Stern, the Commissioner of the NBA. And many in the WNBA league office will remember another great man, Gary Stevenson, who led the sales efforts that successfully launched the league. He encouraged such sponsors as Nike, Anheuser-Busch, Sears, General Motors and television partners of NBC Sports and Lifetime Television to get behind these great women athletes.
But this wasn't Gary's first foray into a cheerleading role.
Behind many minorities enjoying jobs in professional sports was this same great guy!
Malcolm Turner, a Harvard MBA/JD educated executive who serves in a senior position with OnSport, was one of the original interns in the PGA Tour Minority Internship program, launched in the summer of 1992 -- a program Gary championed.
Behind many wealthier golfers, and now inspired teachers, was this same great guy.
No, he wasn't a millionaire, nor wealthy son of a billionaire who joined the PGA TOUR in 1987. In golf's growing years under Commissioner Beman, Gary and his colleagues sold millions of dollars in sponsorships for the TOUR including title sponsorship to the NIKE TOUR. Under his own company, OnSport, Gary and his 14 employees started the Wachovia Championship, one of the TOUR's most successful golf tournaments in its first year. Wouldn't you know, Gary would tie in another group of under appreciated professionals? The event is the largest fundraiser for Teach for America, an organization that places teachers in underprivileged areas. He was a kid from Elyria, Ohio, a way-western suburb you-could-say of Cleveland, Ohio. A diehard competitor in football, basketball and hockey. A kind of guy who played hockey outdoors, on the frozen Black River, not in one of those air-conditioned, brightly lit indoor arenas. Gary's a real man's man who has always supported others.
Behind the fight for a cystic fibrosis cure is this same great guy!
Gary and his wife, Marie, for years have been involved in raising money to fight cystic fibrosis since their niece has the disease. With the money they have raised, we're hopeful there will be a cure someday.
And behind youngsters who enjoy sports competition is this same great guy!
Always willing to volunteer to coach athletics, Gary has been spotted coaching a young, young, group of kids in soccer. No, he doesn't categorize them by skill set and assign them positions, drill them down to robots. I'm told he brings them all together in a tight hugging huddle, tells them how great they are and how much fun the competition is, gives them some power gum to chew, then asks each one of them to go out onto the field, line up opposite a kid from the other team and when the ball is kicked off he says, "the first two who get to the ball get a candy bar!" Then they cheer!
They cheer, we all cheer, to have someone like Gary.....behind us, supporting us, cheerleading us!
- Buffy Filippell
"Gary is one of the few people in the business who truly gets it. He has a history of break through ideas and inspirations. He was a pioneer at the PGA TOUR in his development of title partnerships and his work at the NBA was fundamental to creating a new league and new way of engaging corporate partners. His only conspicuous flaw is his short game."
--Tod Leiweke, CEO, Seattle Seahawks, former PGA TOUR employee
What I do...
Gary presides over a staff of 14 who are responsible not only for the Wachovia Golf Tournament but also consult to corporate clients such as American Express, Wachovia, and leagues such as the USTA and PGA TOUR.
HOW I GOT HERE...
ONSPORT; Raleigh, NC; 1997 - present
NBA PROPERTIES; New York, NY; 1995-1997
President, Marketing & Broadcasting
THE GOLF CHANNEL; Orlando, FL; 1994-1995
Chief Operating Officer
PGA TOUR; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; 1987-1994
Executive Vice President Marketing
Vice President Marketing and Promotions
Director of Marketing
ADVANTAGE INTERNATIONAL; Washington, DC; 1982-1987
Vice President Marketing
DELL, CRAIGHILL, FENTRESS & BENTON; Washington, DC; 1982
GUEST QUARTERS; Washington, DC; 1979-1981