BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced the creation of a SWAC Commissioner’s Advisory Committee.
“We’re very excited to announce the creation of the SWAC Commissioner’s Advisory Committee,” said SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland. “This committee has been created with the specific objective to help us reach our strategic plan towards advancing the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s corporate sponsorship portfolio.”
“All of the individuals that make up the committee bring high-level corporate experience that have led them to become some of the top professionals in their respective fields. We are extremely excited to have a group of this caliber assist the conference office in identifying and partnering with corporations that share the same values, visions, and goals as the Southwestern Athletic Conference.”
The individual members that will make up the advisory committee are Nicole Pullen-Ross, Michael Doyle, James Whitner, Kris Wright, Sekou Smith, and Adrian Bell.
Pullen-Ross is a region head for Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management (PWM) business for the Mid-Atlantic region and leads the firm’s Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC offices. She also leads the PWM Sports & Entertainment Solutions offering, which provides individuals from the sports and entertainment industry with wealth management advice and access to the global resources and network of the firm.
In addition, Pullen-Ross is national recruiting champion and diversity champion for US PWM and is co-head of the Firmwide Black Network. Nicole began advising clients in New York before transitioning to her current role in 2011.
She joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 as a summer associate in PWM in New York and was named managing director in 2011. Prior to joining the firm, Pullen-Ross worked at JP Morgan in New York. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institute and is a corporate member of the Economic Club of Washington, DC.
She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and is vice-chair of the Board for the Philadelphia School Partnership. Nicole earned a BS in Accounting from Hampton University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Doyle currently serves as Sr. Director of Editorial Content Strategy and Management for NBA Digital where he is responsible for cross-platform content including on-air specials, features, interviews and special guest appearances for NBA TV, NBA.com and TNT Sports.
Previously, Doyle served as a manager for production and talent for Turner Sports. His primary responsibility included the execution of programming for broadband channels such as TNT Overtime on NBA.com and TBS Hot Corner on MLB.com.
Doyle also helped secure notable guest analysts on TNT’s Emmy® Award-winning Inside the NBA studio show such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, as well as entertainment guests such as Jamie Foxx and Arnold Schwarzenegger. During his tenure, Doyle also collaborated with Spike Lee to help launch the on-air portion of the biggest NBA marketing campaign in network history, “Let the Truth be Told.”
Doyle’s efforts for the campaign included securing marquee talents such as Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. Doyle has been recognized four times by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for his contribution to the Emmy® Award-winning Inside the NBA studio show.
Doyle received his MBA from Georgia Institute of Technology with a concentration in global business. He also received a graduate certificate from Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires in Latin American business studies and his BS in Marketing from Clayton State University.
Whitner was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, James is the middle child between two brothers. He graduated from West Mifflin High School in 1997 and continued his college education at Edinboro University where he graduated in 2003 with honors (Cum Laude) in Business Administration.
Shortly after graduation, Whitner ventured into the real estate industry and focuses on providing housing in the Pittsburgh, PA region. As of 2018, he owns and operates over 50 individual housing units for low-income families.
In 2005, Whitner continued his entrepreneurial endeavors to create a fashion and sneaker boutique company based in Charlotte, NC. Since then, the retail business has grown to 17 locations, along with multiple retail concept spaces that will include a boutique hotel, restaurant, and café concepts. Currently, the company employs over 125 people with annual revenue of over $40 million USD.
Whitner also owns and operates The Whitaker Group. The Whitaker Group acts as the consulting, creative and design arm for the retail business and other entrepreneurial endeavors. It is responsible for the design, building, social media, and marketing for all retail and retail experience concepts including A Ma Maniere, Social Status, APB, Prosper, Socialworks, A Ma Maniere ‘Living,” A Ma Maniere “Eats” and BESOCIAL.
Whitner has also used his vast experience in the retail industry to help Marcus Jordan, son of Michael Jordan, launch the first Jordan family retail concept – Trophy Room. Preparing Marcus for the retail world and creating something that exemplifies and honors the Jordan family legacy were key goals of the project.
Aside from acting as Marcus’s mentor and sounding board, Whitner’s responsibilities included retail design, product, and operational planning and overall project management. He is also passionate about giving back to the community and helping underprivileged children by investing time and resources in BESOCIAL and SocialWorks.
Wright is the VP of Global Footwear, Fuel at NIKE Inc. Wright is a 23-year Footwear Industry veteran, who brings multi-brand experience to the Advisory Committee having experience working at Reebok, JORDAN, Converse and founding his own footwear brand Jhung Yuro In 2005. Wright has experience in product marketing, brand marketing, sports marketing, and general management. He has an entrepreneurial spirit and believes in empowering others.
He is dedicated to sharing his insights on success with younger generations through college lectures that teach developing a personal brand as an avenue to success. A native of New York City, Mr. Wright graduated with his B.A. in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University and recently completed the High Potential Leadership Program at Harvard Business School.
Smith is an award-winning writer, reporter, and multimedia specialist who has spent two decades covering basketball around the globe, from the grassroots level to college to the NBA as well as Olympic and World Cup competitions.
A Senior Analyst for NBA Digital (NBA TV and NBA.com) since 2009, Smith is also the creator and host of The Hang Time Podcast. Before joining Turner Sports and NBA Digital Smith spent more than a decade as a national NBA writer and beat writer for the Indianapolis Star and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Grand Rapids, Mich. native began his career at The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, where he covered Southeastern Conference sports, prep sports and recruiting.
Bell, who joined Nike in 2011 and currently serves as VP, Corporate Governance and Securities Counsel, is Assistant Secretary of NIKE, Inc. and a Co-Chair of Nike’s Black Employee and Friends Network.
During his time at Nike, he has served as the legal lead for the Treasury, Transfer Pricing/Tax, External Reporting, Executive Compensation and Global Community Impact/NIKE Foundation workstreams. Prior to joining NIKE, Adrian was a corporate associate at New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, and Katz specializing in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity offerings as well as bank regulatory work.
After leaving Wachtell, Adrian practiced in-house at Harman International Industries, Incorporated where he served as a commercial attorney negotiating various agreements with OEMs in the automobile industry and also drafted the company’s quarterly and annual reports. Adrian is a native of Long Island, New York, and a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Howard University School of Law.
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