Sport & organization dynamics institute

SODI announces its second seminar series:

Sport Leadership as We Emerge from Crises; Series II

Top minds & leaders

Consistent with SODI best practices, our seminars are based on Leaders in Sport co-creating with Experts in Organizational Dynamics

Series II Sessions

Series II will comprise six 75-minute sessions; one per week, 10:00 – 11:15 AM EST, during May and June, 2021.


Session 1: How effective is a “Playbook for Dealing with Crises” in reality?

Dr. Mike Barger, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan;

Susan Williamson, Sr. VP. Business Operations, Philadelphia 76ers and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment

Joe Bohringer, Retired MLB Executive, Former Assistant GM – Seattle Mariners

SODI has presented approaches for addressing the challenges posed by crises including Mike’s “Understanding the Stages of Crises: A Necessary Precursor to Successful Emergence.”  Mike and Susan will discuss how his approach lines up with that employed by the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils.

Tues. May 25


Session 2: Various situations, including crises, present personal and societal challenges which result in typical sport objectives (e.g., winning games, selling tickets) appearing to be unimportant; how does one motivate in such circumstances?

Lyndon Garrett, Carroll School of Management, Boston College;

Lucinda McRoberts, Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel, USA Swimming

Lyndon will discuss his research addressing how team “higher purpose” can lead to motivation in spite of personal/societal challenges with Lucinda who works in a context wherein personal/team motivation is a requirement.

Tues. June 1st


Session 3: Successful sport leaders adapt to changes in their environment--some brought on by crises, others exacerbated by them. What can we learn from sport leaders who have successfully adapted to dramatic changes?

Sim Sitkin, Faculty Director of the Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University;

RC Buford, CEO, Spurs Sports & Entertainment

In this session, Sim Sitkin, will interact with RC Buford on how he worked with the Spurs and the outside community on important crisis-related issues.  Some specifics to be addressed: handling race issues as an organization, handling crises as a team and not only as individuals (i.e., having many voices, not just that of the CEO), sport and corporate activism in a politically fraught time.

Tues. June 8


Session 4: The Role of the Athlete-Advocate in Crises and in the Transformation of Major College Sports Programs

Robert Quinn, Center for Positive Organizations at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan;

Chris Borland, Advocate for mental health who has partnered with The Concussion Legacy Foundation; former NFL Linebacker for San Francisco 49ers who was an All-Rookie Team player for the 2014 season, after which he retired.

While it might be assumed that the Buccaneers success can be attributed to their acquiring a Hall of Fame quarterback as well as to other very important personnel acquisitions—that, of course, is overly simplistic.  Despite its personnel moves—TB, as is the case with all teams over the past year, had to address challenges brought on by crises.  Robert and John will address this from the perspective of what we can all learn from the Buccaneers experience.

Wed. June 16


Session 5: How to support athletes coping with extreme disappointment, e.g., cancelation of the Olympics; a team unable to participate in NCAA playoffs due to Covid-19 on campus

Kim Cameron, Center for Positive Organizations at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan;

Emily Klueh, US Olympic and Paralympic Mental Health Officer;

Dr. Richard Dopp, University of Michigan Medicine; Psychiatry Department;

Sean Bormet, Olympic Wrestling Coach;

Myles Amine, Olympic Wrestler

Providers of support to athletes (Kleuh, Borland, McGehee) will describe interventions in such cases; an expert on such initiatives (Dopp) will provide commentary; while the recipient of such interventions (Amine) and his coach (Bormet) will describe their experiences with such initiatives.

Tues. June 22


Bonus Session: The Next Frontier of Sports Performance: Mindfulness and Mental Skills Training

Kim Cameron, Center for Positive Organizations at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan;

Chad McGehee, Director of Meditation Training at University of Wisconsin, Athletics Department

Chris Borland, former NFL Linebacker; Current Advocate for Mental Health and Well Being in Sports

Tues. July 6


Session 6: The essential challenge of the sport leader is to “lift the notes off the page”; i.e., it is implementation. We have been exposed to many best practices in the 11 previous SODI seminar sessions. How can such practices be successfully adopted and implemented?

Kathy Babiak, Sport Management, University of Michigan;

Joel Brockner, Columbia Business School;

Richard Wolfe, SODI;

Oliver Luck, Commissioner XFL (2018-2020); Executive VP, NCAA (2014–2018); AD, West Virginia University (2010 –2014)

Bobby Scales, Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives for Player Development, Pittsburgh Pirates

We have been exposed to many best practices in the 11 previous SODI seminar sessions.  How can such practices be successfully adopted and implemented? Kathy, Joel, and Richard will interact with Oliver and Bobby — with a focus on the latters’ challenges and successes in implementing new ideas in their organizations

Tues. June 29


(from previous conferences)

“The conference was very valuable; I really enjoyed it. I had not been exposed to the approaches to leadership presented. All topics were relevant/pertinent.”

Shane Battier; Vice President of Basketball Development and Analytics, Miami Heat

“I really, enjoyed the conference; the content was superb. I was pleased with the applied academic and pragmatic nature of what was shared and discussed. The makeup and size of the group was excellent; the table group set up meant I was able to interact with several of the participants—many from different sport backgrounds.”

Kirsten Barnes; Director, Performance Services Team, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific; Canadian Olympic Rower at 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, winner of two Gold Medals

“I thought it was outstanding; the presentations were really insightful—had a lot of relevance; each day I walked away with thoughts about how the topics fit my situation. I really liked how we were moved around; I made good contacts that I have followed up with.”

Sean Bormet; Head Wrestling Coach, University of Michigan

“The information was great, very useful; it “hit home”/was relatable to me as an athlete, as well as now, as a businessman. In addition to the information that was presented, I was able to make excellent contacts.”

Victor Hobson, NFL linebacker for 6 seasons, current – Managing Principal, ASE Global Group

“I thought it was great; I had read about the topics discussed—but the conference made it more understandable/applicable. My only suggestion—add one more day of content.”

Michael Fairman; Hockey Operations, Florida Panthers

Registration Fee


The registration fee for the six sessions is $1001,2

The fee for SODI’s second Virtual Seminar Series has been kept artificially low. Moreover, in a manner consistent with leadership during and emerging from crises, all revenue above expenses will be donated to worthy causes; our “Collaborator Cause”: Good Sports, as well as one “Presenter Cause” each series; that very worthy cause for this series is John Spytek’s choice: National CMV Foundation.

1. a limited number of student registrations discounted by 50% are available.

2. registrants receive a video of each session.

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