To celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we held our #exceltogether Speaker Series and were lucky enough to be joined by Kimberly Davis, Senior Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs at the National Hockey League (NHL). Kimberly has been a trailblazer in creating more equitable and inclusive workplace environments in multiple industries and shared both her personal and workplace experiences that have driven her success.

Kimberly spent 30+ years in financial services before she joined the NHL. Now, she works directly with league commissioner Gary Bettman and leads all diversity and inclusion efforts around the league from both a corporate and fan engagement perspective. Kimberly is focused on bringing audiences from culturally and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds into the hockey fold, whether providing more opportunities to play the game or developing a connection with them as a fan.  She has been the catalyst behind breaking barriers to reach these diverse groups who may not have always had the opportunity to engage with the sport, while also retaining and developing pre-existing fans to effectively grow the long-term business of the NHL.

Kimberly’s work has been celebrated and recognized throughout the country, as she has taken home multiple awards as one of the most influential, powerful and successful change agents in the sports industry.

During the discussion, Kimberly emphasized the core values that she has followed during each stop of her career: integrity, humility, courage, fearlessness, and authenticity. Using these values has allowed Kimberly to break ground on large projects and inspire change wherever she has been. Kimberly stressed the importance of educating decision makers on why movements are important and how true change will not come to fruition without culture, mindset, leadership and courage from the top. When you effectively inform those in decision making roles, it helps build awareness that leads to real authentic growth.

Kimberly offered some overall career advice while speaking to the team, especially why is important to seek both mentorship and sponsorship for career development. Kimberly broke down the differences of the two, as a mentor will help guide you while a sponsor helps you build credibility within your company. With her work far from done with the NHL, Kimberly is always thinking about her legacy and how important it is for her to leave a place better than when she arrived and found it. She has already done so much to break traditional norms in the sport industry, and she hopes the landscape can continue to be more open to “outside” voices by bringing in people from non-sport backgrounds such as tech, consumer, financial, services to bring fresh perspectives that can innovate and promote unforeseen growth.

The #exceltogether Speaker Series is a quarterly event featuring influential people who are making an impact in shifting the culture around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across sports and entertainment.