Executive Stories

Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.

Executive Spotlight - October 1, 2004

Sue Rodin

President, Stars & Strategies

There's a bad boss thing going on out there. Sue Rodin Kris Maher, reporter for the "Wall Street Journal" profiled Alison Laichter who recently "endured the proverbial boss from hell." She only lasted 10 months. In fact, Jean Lipman-Blumen, an organizational behavior professor at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California recently wrote a book called, "The Allure of Toxic Leaders." A local social psychologist's newsletter, which arrived this past week, was titled, "Constructive Conflict." Is there something going around? Like a bad virus? Of course, the newsletter said, "Conflict is a normal part of our life, and most of us have been or will be put in situations at work with someone who rubs us the wrong way because of personality clashes." The newsletter adds, "A moderate level of interpersonal conflict at work can have a positive impact by...."

This is where I usually come in. As an executive recruiter, I often hear horror stories about bad bosses and challenging work environments. From my point of view, you'd think everyone is looking for a new job. I'm sure a doctor thinks the whole world is sick, and psychologists think the whole world is crazy. Computer people think everyone is stuck in the "web." And I, usually, suggest to those who complain, a transition, a new job.

Of course even a moderate level of interpersonal conflict can often turn into an annoying and un-motivating work environment, and that's where Sue Rodin comes in. It's hard to feel like you can make a difference when your superiors at work aren't cooperating.

Sue and I met at a marketing meeting in Chicago and then came together again in about the early 90s. She had been in several promotion agencies before joining a sports marketing agency, and it wasn't without its challenges. She was frustrated. I heard her talk, and instead of suggesting another job, I guess I just nudged along her idea of "starting her own business."

A favorite book of mine, "Transitions", talks about how most of us make many transitions, beginnings and endings, many of them nice - buying a new home, sudden success - and many of them challenging - deaths, divorce and it even included in the list difficulties at work. It says, "We come to beginnings only at the end." And Sue Rodin ended her job at that sports marketing agency looking for new beginnings.

Feeling thwarted as a woman sports executive, Sue must have promised herself that no woman would ever feel as alone as she in the sports world again, and thus she founded Women in Sports & Events (WISE). This small group of women networking from the sports and events field has blossomed past the state borders of New York to chapters in Detroit, Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Washington, DC and New England. Women coming together to help each other. How appropriate was her timing that senior sports executives are now insisting on a more diverse work environment? I'm not sure Sue envisioned the length and breadth this organization has taken. But, she's founder and President of this national networking organization; Sue's a selfless leader.

Not only did Sue start WISE, at the same time, Sue successfully launched her own sports marketing agency representing women athletes, not surprisingly including some of the most high profiled women athletes of the Olympics - soccer champions Julie Foudy and Carla Overbeck, basketball star Swin Cash and beach volleyball bronze medallist Elaine Youngs. Sue's been featured in the "New York Times."

James MacGregor Burns noted that leaders often suffer a severe transition in their lives at an early age. Many new businesses and non-profits are started because of some tragedy.

These life-altering moments can happen at any age. We can make a difference any time in our lives. And Sue turned a challenging moment in her life into the betterment of others.

It sure makes you think. At a recent funeral of a wonderful sports executive - a tragedy for all of us - the priest reminded us how we can have eternal life. Not by hoarding objects, securing your name on a university building or expanded estates. But how we ensure eternal life, he said, was through our giving to others; connecting with others; connecting ourselves to the living so that they can carry on our souls for eternity.

In one of my favorite songs, Whitney Houston belts out.....

"Give me one moment in time/When I'm racing with destiny/Then in that one moment of time/I will feel, I will feel....eternity."

Seize that one moment in time, whatever the time....in your next transition...to create those better connections between each other.......and have that effort, like Sue Rodin's, make it feel, and last, for eternity.....well done, Sue!

--Buffy Filippell

TeamWork Online and WISE have come together where we will provide a weekly job listings summary of recent TeamWork Online positions specifically emailed to members of WISE. To find out more about WISE, go to www.womeninsportsandevents.com.

"I am convinced Sue's formula for success is based on basic principles that she does perfectly: she treats people well, she works her tail off, she's innovative, and she treats each of her athletes and clients like they are the only one she represents."

-Julie Foudy, captain of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team and 2004 Olympic gold medalist

What I do...

Sue represents many of the fine women athletes listed above. She also has provided strategic direction in sports marketing to MassMutual Financial Group, OppenheimerFunds, ESPN, Conde Nast Publications, Danskin, The Female Athlete, KidsPeace, General Growth Properties and others.


STARS AND STRATEGIES; New York, NY; 1997-Present

AVON PRODUCTS; New York, NY; 1995-1997
Consultant, Olympics

NATIONAL MEDIA GROUP; New York, NY; 1990-8/1995
Vice President/Director of Sales Promotion

COMART-KOP; New York, NY; 1989-1990
Account Supervisor

BBDO PROMOTION; New York, NY; 1986-1989
Vice President/Account Superviso

DON JAGODA ASSOCIATES; Melville, NY; 1984-1986
Account Executive

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Daryl Morey brought some amazing talents to the sports industry. Upon graduating from Northwestern where he worked part-time while in school for Stats, Inc., before entering graduate school at MIT Daryl was hired as a Senior Knowledge Management Engineer and helped Mitre develop a computer program for NSA which could scan all the international videos and bring up clips of specific items - such as "Hussein" - and show just those clips across all international broadcasts. This technology was later developed for commercial use and marketed under the company, Virage. Mr. Morey wrote the code and algorithm. He could convert speech to text and frames and mark when a story started and ended on the video. Is it a surprise he has become the thought leader in advancing database analytics, algorithms and technology in the sports industry?

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"Morey is the whiz-kid stats analyst who made news last month when he was hired from the Celtics, where he worked on the business side, to take over as (GM) Dawson's eventual replacement. With his background as a Bill James disciple, Morey's hiring was hailed as the NBA's first venture into "Moneyball."

- Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated