Initiatives

Activate Diversity Series - II

Activate Diversity:
From the Rooney Rule to the C-Suite in Sports  

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
4:30 PM Central
Included with the 2020 GPSolo Winter Summit Registration

This program will discuss the impact of the “Rooney Rule” on the NFL and explore systematic discrimination and the lack of diversity across professional sports including the NBA, MLB, and collegiate sports and on promoting diversity in coaching, management, legal and the executive levels of sports.

Confirmed Panelists:

Brian Baptiste
Director of Athletics and Recreation
LaSalle University

Traci Bransford, Esq.
Partner, Stinson, LLP

Demeka Fields, Esq.
Counsel – Global Sports Marketing and Data Privacy
New Balance

Wayne Gomes
Former MLB Pitcher
Philadelphia Phillies

David Kelly, Esq.
VP and General Counsel
Golden State Warriors

David M. Samuel, III
Co-President of Drexel Law School
Sports/Entertainment Law Society

Wes Unseld, Jr.
Assistant Coach
Denver Nuggets 

"I will lead and activate diversity by..."

As part of the 2020-2021 GPSolo Diversity Board's Activate Diversity series, we invite you to submit a brief, 30 second video completing the statement "I will lead and activate diversity by..." Please begin the video by stating your name, location, law firm, and area of practice (if applicable).

Videos must be received by January 29, 2021 and will be shown during the final event, Activate Diversity: Lead by Example on February 25, 2021.

Instructions on how to submit your video will be sent after completing this release form.

Brian Baptiste

Director of Athletics and Recreation
LaSalle University

Brian Baptiste began serving as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation at La Salle University in August 2019. He leads a program that includes 25 varsity sports and over 500 student-athletes. Mr. Baptiste also serves as the co-chair for the newly formed Atlantic 10 Commission on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. He is also a member of the Black AD Alliance. 

Mr. Baptiste joined La Salle after nearly seven years at Northwestern, where he served as Deputy Director of Athletics for Capital Projects and Operations since 2015. In that role, he was responsible for all capital projects for Athletics and Recreation and had oversight of athletic facilities, event management, equipment services, and recreation.

Mr. Baptiste has served on the Big Ten Joint Group, Administrators Council, and Sport Management Committee, and was one of 25 senior-level administrators selected to participate in the 2017 NCAA Pathway Program. The program is a prestigious year-long experiential learning opportunity designed to assist senior-level administrators with taking the next step in their careers. Previously, Mr. Baptiste spent nearly three years at the University of Delaware where he held the title of Associate Athletic Director for Compliance. 

A native of Cheverly, Md., Baptiste began his intercollegiate athletics career as an Assistant Director of Compliance at Georgetown University. Baptiste is a graduate of Towson University. He earned his Juris Doctor from St. Thomas University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland.

He and his wife, Jessica, have three daughters, Saniya, Jordan, and Zoe.

Traci Bransford, Esq.

Partner, Stinson, LLP

Traci counsels entertainment law clients, provides diverse perspectives and efficiently connects the firm’s clients to the legal services they need.

Overview

Traci serves as general counsel, entertainment, media and sports attorney to her clients. As outside general counsel to her clients, Traci has deep knowledge of the services offered by attorneys in the firm and quickly connects clients to the right teams of lawyers to achieve objectives and add value. She focuses her practice on counseling media and communications clients on legal issues related to the entertainment industry.

Traci combines her deep understanding of client needs with a strong commitment to the tenets of diversity and inclusion, offering comprehensive solutions to key legal challenges to benefit the firm and its clients. She is the co-chair of the Entertainment and Media law subgroup.

Experience

Traci has decades of experience negotiating with entertainment venues related to artist performances and tour representation. Traci recently negotiated several multimillion dollar entertainment agreements with worldwide entertainment companies.

She provides legal counsel to leading communications and media clients by utilizing her multi-jurisdictional experience to serve the business interests of recognized names in the music, television, film and sports industries—including recording artists, independent record companies, music publishers, actors, authors, songwriters, producers, managers and production companies.

Traci serves as general counsel to professional and retired athletes in their individual business and philanthropic pursuits. She works closely with Stinson’s charitable planning professionals to coordinate the implementation of charitable planning.

Traci previously served as general counsel for an internationally recognized recording studio where she advised on legal strategies for the business and entertainment entities.

Before joining Stinson, Traci practiced law in New York and California, where she was recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for her diverse litigation skills. She was appointed a Hearing Officer to the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission, where she presided over employment and labor disputes.

She is an active member of several charitable and professional organizations and is a sought-out speaker on entertainment law, sports law, celebrity philanthropy and diversity. Traci is a mentor and the co-chair of the Stinson Employee Resources Group for Attorneys of Color.

Demeka Fields, Esq.

Counsel – Global Sports Marketing and Data Privacy
New Balance

Demeka currently serves as Counsel – Global Sports Marketing and Data Privacy for New Balance. In her current role, Demeka supports the Global Sports Marketing Department and negotiates and drafts sponsorship and partnership deals with individual athletes and teams across various sports including international football, basketball, baseball, and track and field. In addition, Demeka assists with managing company relationships with key stakeholders including the New York Road Runners organization, operators of the New York City Marathon. Demeka also helps to maintain the company’s compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and other data privacy regulations. Before joining New Balance, Demeka served as Associate Counsel for the Minnesota Vikings, where she spearheaded and implemented the launch of the Sensory Room at U.S. Bank Stadium and led contract negotiations for the inaugural Summer Skolstice summer concert series and the Premier Lacrosse League Tournament to be held at TCO Stadium. She was integral in negotiations for several Vikings’ Super Bowl LII and NFL International Series agreements. In addition, she provided business and legal support in the Chief of Staff capacity to the Chief Operating Officer and took part in strategic planning, speech writing, and acted as a liaison between the C-suite and other Vikings divisions and departments. As an alumna of Howard University, Demeka facilitated and managed the Minnesota Vikings participation in the HBCU Battle of the Brains, as well as other HBCU and diversity initiatives.

A military child who has lived in cities across the country and the world, Demeka received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University and her law degree from Tulane University’s School of Law.

Wayne Gomes

Former MLB Pitcher
Philadelphia Phillies

Wayne Gomes is a Hampton Roads native and was a Phoebus High school graduate in 1990. He climbed the ranks from Phoebus Little League, to American Legion baseball on to Old Dominion University where he earned an athletic scholarship.

Not highly recruited in high school, he pursued his dream of Major League stardom by going into college and making an immediate impact. Wayne made his mark as a freshman in 1991 as he led the Sun Belt Conference in saves with nine and ranked among the nation’s top 15 in that category. He was named first team freshman All-American by COLLEGIATE BASEBALL NEWS in 1991. That same season, Old Dominion ranked as high as 23rd nationally and reached the Sun Belt Conference Tournament finals. During his sophomore season, he fanned 54 batters in just 35 innings of work. He recorded three saves and registered a 2.04 earned run average. As a junior in 1993, Gomes earned first team honors from the Colonial Athletic Association and first team All-State honors. That year, he compiled a 2.03 earned run average with four saves and 55 strikeouts in 26.2 innings. He recorded three saves and registered a 2.04 earned run average.

In 1993, Wayne was the highest player selected in the Major League draft pick from the Hampton Roads area. The Philadelphia Phillies selected Wayne as the fourth overall pick in the first round. Wayne completed his career at Old Dominion with a 5-3 record. He pitched 100 career innings with 156 career strikeouts and a 2.43 earned run average. Gomes saved 16 games which was a record at Old Dominion when he completed his career.

Wayne’s rise to the Major Leagues definitely took an unconventional route. He was not highly recruited out of high school. Initially, he was prepared to attend the Newport News Apprentice School to learn a trade and play baseball. This plan was side tracked while being discovered by Old Dominion’s coaching staff in a summer All-Star game. Initially, he turned down the offer because he was afraid of the academic requirements and the competition, but he took a chance. Under the tutelage of Pat McMahon (University of Florida Head Coach), he took hold of the opportunity and became an All American in his first season and appeared on the Dean’s list for his academic accomplishments. The Philadelphia Phillies recalled Wayne from the minor leagues on June 13, 1997. On this day, he was called in to pitch and did so with one inning of relief of Curt Shilling and recorded the win. He went on to pitch in the major leagues with the Phillies until 2001. For the duration of his 1999 season, he was voted as the Rolaids Relief Man of the team. In the 2001 season he was traded to the San Francisco Giants. During this year he played along side Barry Bonds in his record breaking homerun season. In 2002, he signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. During this season he pitched as a set-up man help guild his team to a second place in the American League east, only one game behind the rival New York Yankees. In 2003, Wayne made a trip back to the minors with Scranton in the International League where he pitched in the IL All-Star game and led the league in saves. Following the 2003, he signed with the Oakland A’s. Throughout the 2004 season with the Oakland A’s affiliate, Gomes lead the team in ERA and appearance and help guide the team to its 2nd consecutive Pacific Coast League Championship. After completing his major league career, Wayne continued his playing career overseas. In 2005 he pitched for the Yucatan Leones and the Saltilo Gigiantes of the Mexican league.

Education

As previously stated, Wayne was drafted in 1993. This summer he started his professional career in Single A Batavia and later was promoted to Clearwater, Fla. After completing his first summer of professional baseball, Wayne came back to Old Dominion to complete his degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies.

David Kelly, Esq.

VP and General Counsel
Golden State Warriors

David Kelly joined the Warriors during the 2011-12 NBA season as vice president and general counsel and is beginning his 10th season with the team. He was named general counsel and vice president, basketball management & strategy during 2016 and was then named chief legal officer, business and basketball in 2018.

In his current role, Kelly is responsible for all legal matters affecting the company (including transactions, disputes and compliance), manages player development, salary cap management and luxury tax planning for the team, oversees the organization’s human resources and public/governmental affairs departments, assists with college player scouting, and oversees many of the company’s key projects and initiatives on both the business and basketball sides of the company, including legal matters related to the real property acquisition, entitlement, construction and operation of Chase Center and ancillary mixed-use development in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood.

Prior to joining the Warriors, Kelly was a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP where he advised clients in connection with public and private acquisitions, securities law compliance, and corporate governance matters. Kelly also provided legal counsel to a variety of sports teams and related clients with respect to television, radio and internet rights agreements, arena/stadium matters, intellectual property issues, and sponsorship and naming rights agreements.

Kelly has a passion for music and his work as a musician has been featured on the CBS Evening News and CNN, and in Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Wall Street Journal. He has released 8 albums and has toured in the United States, Canada, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal and Brazil.

A native of Chicago, Kelly earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in 1996 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2004. He and his wife, Zeenat, have three children.

David M. Samuel, III

Co-President of Drexel Law School
Sports/Entertainment Law Society

David M. Samuel III was born in Newark, New Jersey to Cynthia E. Sherwood-Samuel and the late David M. Samuel, Jr. He is the youngest of two children.

David attended Monmouth University, in West Long Branch, New Jersey where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts Degree majoring in Political Science with a Concentration in Legal Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. 

After the passing of his father in 2008, when he was only 12 years old, David learned the importance of helping others through their challenging times as well as the importance of servicing others. Adopting these philosophies as life principles, David chose the path of law to encourage justice, help individuals pursue their dreams, and achieve happiness. 

In 2019, Mr. Samuel took the next step in his educational journey, and began studying law at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a current second year student, David has demonstrated his capacity for leadership when he reactivated the Sports and Entertainment Law Society at Drexel Law School in which he currently serves as Co-President. David successfully represented Drexel Law in the LawMeets® 2020 Mergers and Acquisitions Boot Camp Competition.

David is expected to graduate from Drexel University with a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2022 with the goal of specializing in Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Law, and Sports Law. 

Wes Unseld, Jr.

Assistant Coach
Denver Nuggets 

Wes Unseld Jr. begins his sixth season as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets. 

Previously, Unseld spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic (2012-2014) and spent the 2011-12 campaign as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. 

Prior to joining Golden State. Unseld spent 13 seasons with the Washington Wizards, including six seasons as an assistant coach from 2005-11. He played a key role in player development for the Wizards, helping Washington to four consecutive playoff appearances from 2004-08. Unseld's scouting reports were also vital to the team's game planning and preparation. 

Unseld began his NBA career in 1997, just four days after graduating from John Hopkins University, as a professional and college scout for Washington. He was promoted later that same year to advance scout. In addition to his nine-year tenure as advance pro scout for the Wizards, he also spent three seasons (1998-2000) as an advance scout for the WNBA's Washington Mystics. In 1998, Unseld spent part of the season serving as an assistant coach for the Mystics. 

A native of Maryland and the son of Hall of Farner Wes Unseld, Unseld Jr. played on the men's basketball team at John Hopkins for three seasons. He and his wife Evelyn have two children, Layla and Wes.