(Special Guest Moderator)
Shelley Smith joined ESPN in January 1997 after working part-time as a reporter for the network since 1993. Previously, she was a writer/reporter for Sports Illustrated (1989-97). An award-winning journalist and author of three books, Smith has written and recorded hundreds of articles and reports on topics ranging from the Olympics to the O.J. Simpson trial. She has covered Super Bowls, the NBA Finals, the BCS national championship game, the NHL Stanley Cup, golf and tennis championships, ski racing, weightlifting, boxing and motor sports.
At ESPN, Smith won a Sports Emmy in 1997 for her segment on Magic Johnson as part of an ESPN production on AIDS and Athletes, and won three more as part of SportsCenter in 2003 and 2005 and College GameDay in 2007. In 2010 she received the College Sports Media Special Feature of the year award for a piece on Jake Olson, a young USC fan who lost his sight that year.
Previously, she worked for The Associated Press, Pacific Stars & Stripes in Tokyo, Japan (1987) and The San Francisco Examiner (1984-87), where she won a William Randolph Hearst Award in 1986 for her series on Title IX in the Bay Area. She joined Sports Illustrated in 1989 after covering the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, for the magazine. She conducted the first one-on-one interview with Ben Johnson (on a Seoul-to-New York flight) after he tested positive for steroids and was stripped of his gold medal.
Smith is the co-author of the controversial book “Just Give Me the Damn Ball!”, written with then New York Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson following the 1996 NFL season. Her second book, “Games Girls Play: Lessons to Guiding and Understanding Young Female Athletes,” written with sports psychologist Caroline Silby, was released in August 2000 by St. Martin’s Press. She also co-authored “You Play to Win the Game: Leadership Lessons for Success On and Off the Field,” with then New York Jets coach Herm Edwards. She is currently working on an unauthorized biography of Raiders owner Al Davis.
She is the co-founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation newsletter, serves on various committees for The Boys and Girls Club of San Pedro and is a volunteer writer for many charity organizations, including the Serra Project, which provides homes for AIDS victims.
She attended the University of Nebraska from 1976-1981, majoring in journalism and political science. Smith’s daughter, Dylann Tharp, captained the University of Oregon soccer team and in 2007 was named to the Pac-10 second team.
(Sports Business Panel)
Gabrielle Dow joined the Ravens prior to the 2006 season. She oversees the team’s marketing, promotions, advertising, branding, events, game entertainment, trademark and licensing, sponsor activation and fan affinity areas.
The San Francisco native drives aggressive marketing and promotions for the Ravens. Under her direction in 2007, Dow launched the first-ever professional team female fan club called Purple, which has over 27,000 members and remains the only club of its kind. Also in 2007, Dow launched the Ravens’ Purple Friday campaign. On several Fridays during the season, her team travels throughout Baltimore with a day-long caravan of cheerleaders, staff and band members to “paint the town purple.” Purple Friday is now a Baltimore tradition that kids and fans of all ages participate in every Friday during football Season.
During the 2012 offseason, her marketing team coordinated the Ravens’ inaugural Beach Bash in Ocean City, Maryland. A fun-filled fan weekend in conjunction with two of the Ravens’ largest fan clubs. The weekend included players, coaches, alumni players, cheerleaders, mascots and about 6,000 Ravens fans.
Dow has experience working with three major sports leagues: the NFL, the NHL and the NBA. Prior to joining the Ravens, she spent two years with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, managing the marketing of hockey, concerts and family entertainment, and four years with AEG, marketing the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the Staples Center, Kodak Theatre, and The Forum. After earning both an M.B.A. and law degree from Oregon, Dow began her sports career as a public relations intern for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Gabrielle and her husband, Jeff, have a daughter, Danielle (8), and a son, Jackson (5).
(Sports Product Panel)
Sally is the Founder & CEO of Oiselle, a rapidly growing women’s athletic apparel brand based in Seattle. After graduating from the University of Oregon, and prior to founding the company, Sally was a Brand Strategy Director at The Leonhardt Group, an internationally recognized design firm. In 2001, she founded her own brand consultancy, helping clients such as Nike, Reebok and Starbucks hone their brand vision and voice.
During that time, Sally became a sub-elite runner, competing on the roads, track, and on a nationally competitive cross-country team. As her commitment to running grew, so did her distaste for poor quality athletic apparel. Ultimately, the genesis of Oiselle was the desire for better product fueled by Sally’s two greatest passions: running and design.
Founded in 2007, Oiselle has grown to become a key player in a fast growing market with revenue increasing ~100% year over year since 2010. Fueling the growth is Oiselle’s highly connected and social community, or #runfamily, that includes a fervent customer base, +200 ambassadors nationwide, and +25 elite women runners who compete at the highest levels of Track & Field.
Sally continues to lead the Oiselle design team as it looks to push the boundaries between sport and fashion. At its core, the Oiselle brand is known as “feminine fierce,” combining the beauty of design with the grit of competition. In 2014, Oiselle will enter new markets as it debuts a swim line in the Spring and a new outerwear line in Fall. More information atoiselle.com.