Meet Our Panelists
Executive Women in Sports Panel
Chevonne Mansfield: Moderator
As the Deputy Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator, Mansfield is a senior member of the Florida Memorial University athletics senior leadership team with responsibility for external areas including communications, marketing, promotions, and development. She has over 10 years of experience in college athletics and higher education and has worked in all three subdivisions of NCAA Division I athletics. She spent time at LEAD1 Association, which represents the athletics directors and programs of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS); the American Athletic Conference; the Southeastern Conference (SEC); the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and Howard University. Mansfield earned her undergraduate degree from St. John’s University, and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). She also serves as an adjunct professor in the Master in Professional Studies Sports Industry Management program at Georgetown University and has spent time as an adjunct professor in the College of Management/School of Hospitality at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.
Learn more about Chevonne and the Executive Women in Sports panelists when you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
Caroline O'Connor recently completed her second season with the Marlins, joining the organization in October of 2017 as Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff before ascending to Chief Operating Officer during the 2019 season. In her role, Ms. O'Connor oversees the Corporate Center of the Marlins front office, heading up initiatives in Communications, Human Resources, Finance, Ballpark Facilities, Security, IT and Special Projects. Prior to joining the Marlins, Ms. O'Connor spent five years as Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and six years as Director at UBS Investment Bank. She received her Master of Business Administration in Finance from New York University Stern School of Business.
Learn more about Caroline and hear her great advice about how she continues to make her executive "Level Up" when you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
Lorrie-Ann “LA” Diaz is a 20-year veteran of the NBA, 19 of them with the Miami HEAT. As Vice President, Business Communications & Social Responsibility, a role she’s held since March 2019, she oversees public relations efforts & community outreach for the business initiatives of the HEAT & AmericanAirlines Arena. A Miami native, Diaz began her career in professional basketball with the Los Angeles Clippers, joining the HEAT in the summer of 2000 as an Executive Assistant to the Chief Marketing Officer. She was later promoted to Manager of Advertising, then Director of Marketing Communications & then to Senior Director where she launched her own department, The HEAT Group Business Communications. In addition to her duties at the HEAT & AmericanAirlines Arena, Diaz is a visible & vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community. She’s a member of WISE, “HEAT Speaks.” She routinely hosts Q&A sessions with PR & communications students & is a frequent panelist on the topic of women working in professional sports. In 2019, she joined the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce as a member of the Board of Directors. Diaz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from California State University, Los Angeles in 1999 and a Masters of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Miami in 2004.
Learn more about how LA has climbed the sports ladder when you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
Thayer Lavielle joined Wasserman in 2011 and currently leads Talent Marketing & Operations across the company's Team Sports, Broadcast, Coaching & Women's divisions. Lavielle leads the sales & marketing team to create marketing platforms & singular ideas which support agents in their ability to monetize their clients. Lavielle also plays a leading role in Wasserman's recently launched women's division, called The Collective. Leading up to her current role, Lavielle held the role of EVP, Corporate Growth and Development. Prior to that role, Lavielle managed the staff and business around Wasserman's brand retainer accounts. Her client work has spanned the globe across both sports & entertainment for key international clients such as PepsiCo, Microsoft,
Diageo & American Express. During her tenure in that position, she managed a staff of 45 & revenue over $15 mil, growing her accounts 10% year over year. Throughout her career, Lavielle has negotiated over $250 million worth of talent, brand, property & venue deals in sports and entertainment. Prior to Wasserman Lavielle spent time at Brandthink, JR Motorsports, ABC News (World News Tonight & Good Morning America), L'Oreal & Lancome. Lavielle is a graduate of Colgate University & lives in Cary, NC with her husband & three children.
Learn more about the innovative work that Thayer has done when you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
Dr. Wendy Ellis
Dr. Wendy Ellis is the Director of Community Engagement & Partnership Development at Florida Memorial University. Prior to joining the FMU family, she served as the Vice President of Operations at Honey Shine, Inc., a Miami based nonprofit organization focused on empowering and mentoring girls. She is also the former Sponsorship and Business Manager for Miami Gardens, Office of Public Affairs and Parks and Recreation Department. Before relocating to Florida from Chicago, she served as the Assistant Director of Marketing in Athletics & Recreation at Northwestern University, and the Executive Director for one of the largest urban YMCA’s in Chicago. She was instrumental in helping launch the first professional (WNBA) team “Chicago Sky” and spearheaded the campaign for the Go Girl Go campaign with the Women’s Sports Foundation. Dr. Ellis began her career in sports as a track star--setting records and becoming a four-time Conference Champion in the 400 meters, a nine time All-American, a Hall of Fame Inductee and former Alumni board member at Loras College. Dr. Ellis has been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 Game Changer and Woman of Influencer by Aril Capital, and as one of the Prominent & Influential Black women in Business by Legacy Magazine. Dr. Ellis holds a master’s degree in Sport Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse and a doctorate in Education, with a concentration in Ethical Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University.
Learn more about Dr. Ellis commitment to women in sports when you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
As Senior Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion for the National Basketball Association (NBA), Liliahn Marguerite Majeed oversees team diversity and inclusion efforts across the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League. Majeed also helps lead the NBA’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and NBA Coaches Equality Initiative, responsible for events such as the Women’s Leadership Forum, NBA All-Star Women in Basketball Operations Forum and NBA Coaches Summit. Pior to joining the NBA’s Diversity & Inclusion department, Majeed was a Vice President in the Team Marketing & Business Operations (TMBO) group. In that role, she led strategy for arena experience, season ticket membership and premium consulting while also serving as the league liaison for the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards. Majeed joined the NBA in 2005 from Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. She graduated from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and hospitality management and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with a master’s degree in business administration.
Learn more about the innovative work that Liliahn does to diversify basketball you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
Mixer Special Guest Speaker
Charece Williams Gee
Charece Williams Gee currently serves as a Head of NBA & Hoops Partnerships at PepsiCo North America Beverages where she spearheads all national and regional basketball partnership marketing for Pepsico beverage brands. This includes 9 athletes, 12 NBA/WNBA teams, and grassroots basketball partnerships, and of course the NBA/WNBA/G League partnerships. Charece began her professional career as Account Development Manager at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex where she spearheaded business development initiatives. Thereafter, Charece worked for Wasserman Media Group as a marketing consultant. Most recently, Charece was Vice President, External Relations & Strategic Planning for the National Basketball Retired Players Association. (NBRPA). Charece, a Cum Laude graduate with a B.S. in Business Management from NC State University, was captain and MVP of the women’s volleyball team. She was recently named Top 40 under 40 by The Network in October 2019 and presented the She-Mogul Award by WISE Atlanta during the 2019 Sports Power Brunch during Super Bowl LIII. Charece was recently honored as a Rising Star during the 2019 Shadow League Awards. Charece earned an M.B.A and Master of Sports Business Management from the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida.
Learn more about how Charece continues to shine when you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
Making Boss Moves Panel
Moderator: Danisha Rolle
Danisha Rolle is a publisher, producer, philanthropist and visionary. Danisha currently publishes Sports & Entertainment Today - SET - Magazine, produces content for SET Media and Executive Produced Black Coffee a film which can be seen on Netflix and BET/Centric worldwide. Danisha is married to Samari Rolle former 12 year NFL All-Pro Veteran for the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. Danisha and Samari have four children.
Aja Crowder is a savvy businesswoman with a sincere affinity for pairing luxury home buyers with their ideal dwelling and design. After a successful career in Advertising and Marketing, generating positive branding presence in the Miami market for clients such as Coca-Cola, Universal Studios, Live Nation, and more, the Howard University graduate and former student-athlete took a bold step to follow her passion in luxury real estate. As a fulltime luxury Real Estate Agent she has serviced some of the most recognized athletes and dignified clients. Aja prides herself on building long-lasting relationships and operates with a high level of integrity and privacy. Understanding the needs of her clients and their specific requests, Aja founded The Aja Crowder Group in 2017. When she’s not working, Aja enjoys being a wife to Channing Crowder (former Miami Dolphin, current WQAM Sports Talk Host) and mother to her two children Ava and Channing. Aja participates in several charitable organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County, Mint Vanity Project and Farm Share, Inc.
Learn more about Aja here and hear her great advice about balancing life as a wife, mother & entrepreneur when you purchase your ticket to The GladiatHers® Women in Sports Empowerment Summit. Click here.
Tracy Sandler is the Founder and CEO of Fangirl Sports Network (FGSN), a rapidly growing digital media company for female sports fans that delivers weekly news updates, commentary about professional sports teams, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at accomplished women making waves in the sports industry. Tracy began as 49ers Fangirl in 2015, bringing fans the latest news and behind-the-scenes action for her beloved San Francisco team. This led to her becoming a beat writer and member of the 49ers' press corps, where she reports live from the field and the locker room, attends press conferences, and covers community outreach events. In addition, Tracy hosts a special “Five Fun Facts” series with 49ers players that is exclusive to FGSN. In just four short years, Tracy has grown the FGSN network to include representation for all 32 NFL and 30 NBA teams. Tracy has been featured on numerous lifestyle blogs including The Everygirl, Inspired By This, SWAAY, and The LA Girl, and has appeared on various broadcasts such as “Cheddar Life,” “Business Rockstars” and “Empowerista.” She also appears regularly on KTVU as a 49ers expert. Tracy was a sportswriter during her collegiate years at The University of Michigan, and reignited that passion when she launched her blog, The Trials and Tribulations of My Love/Hate Relationship with the San Francisco 49ers, during the 2014 NFL season.
LaVonne Idlette is a former professional track and field athlete. In 2012, the American born hurdler competed in the London Olympics for the Dominican Republic. Her personals best times are 12.77 sec in the 100m hurdles and 8.16 sec in the 60m hurdles. Both times are National Records for the Dominican Republic. After retiring from track and field, she began pursuing her entrepreneurial interests. She currently Advises professional athletes and entertainers on business and real estate acquisition under her company B3 Inc. She also owns a mortgage company, Reddish Bull Finance, and a multifamily real estate investment fund, Aurum Capital.
Come learn how LaVonne has used her Olympic experience to start and maintain multiple successful businesses at the GladiatHers® Summit. Purchase your tickets here.
Rashida Gayle is the Director of Talent Marketing at GSE Worldwide. Having spearheaded marketing operations for professional athletes at the onset of their careers, she has over 8 years of experience in marketing, public relations, community relations, and event production. She has secured over $5M in endorsement deals and off the field opportunities for her clients. At 27 years old, Rashida became the first (and currently, only) black woman to represent both MLS and NFL athletes independently for talent marketing and management. Rashida holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. Her interests include smashing glass ceilings.
Come hear how Rashida has made such epic career moves and a bossy name for herself at the GladiatHers® Summit. Purchase your tickets here.
A native of New Jersey, Leslie Bauknight Nixon attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earning a dual degree in journalism and mass communications with a concentration in public relations and economics in 2002. Following graduation Nixon graduated cum laude with her Juris Doctorate and Masters in Sport Administration in 2005. After passing the Florida Bar, Nixon practiced law at the St. Thomas University Human Rights Institute providing free legal services to lower income residents in Miami-Dade County. In 2006, Nixon served as Director of Administration for Super Bowl XLI. Nixon also served as the Director of Volunteer Services for Super Bowl XLIV and Pro Bowl 2010. Nixon then brought her expertise in volunteering to the Miami Dolphins and started the Miami Dolphins Special Teams powered by AARP Foundation volunteer program, the first of its kind in the NFL. On a yearly basis, the volunteer program coordinates more than 3,500 volunteers who complete more than 50,000 hours of community service to the South Florida community. In 2015, Nixon completed her Doctorate of Education in Sport Management at the United States Sports Academy. She has served as an adjunct professor teaching sport management classes at Barry University. Currently, Nixon serves as the Senior Director Community Affairs overseeing charitable giving programs and community relations platforms like Miami Dolphin FOOTBALL UNITESTM for the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium.
Come learn how Leslie has used her legal background to carve out a career in sports at the GladiatHers® Summit. Purchase your tickets here.