ESPN today announced that Laura Gentile has been promoted to Senior Vice President, espnW and Women’s Initiatives. Gentile’s leadership has been central in building the espnW business over the past five years and, as a result, she will take on a broader role focused on expanding ESPN’s presence in the lives of the many women who love sports. Gentile is the founder of espnW, which launched in Dec. 2010 as a blog. espnW is now a multimedia business encompassing digital, social, television, films and events such as The espnW: Women + Sports Summit.
“Laura has done a fantastic job in creating espnW and focusing our company’s efforts on serving female sports fans and covering women’s sports,” said John Kosner, Executive Vice President, Digital and Print Media, ESPN. “With the work of Laura and her team, we believe we can significantly expand the impact ESPN has among female sports fans in all our media and enhance the opportunities we can offer our marketing partners to reach women.”
Prior to envisioning, researching and launching espnW, Gentile served as vice president, assistant to the president at ESPN. In that role, Gentile worked directly with George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN and ABC Sports, on all aspects of the company’s business. Before working in the office of the president, Gentile was senior director of brand management within ESPN’s consumer marketing department. Gentile joined ESPN in January 2003 and her first assignment was the development of ESPN25, ESPN’s year-long 25th anniversary campaign that celebrated sports fans and created ESPN’s first online community of fans.
Gentile was appointed to the U.S. Department of State’s Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, developed by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was a fellow of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Class XVII, and was named to Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 Class of 2012 and an SBJ Game-Changer. In 2013, Gentile received the Advertising Women of NY Changing the Game Paradigm Shift Award and WICT’s Signature Accolade for espnW’s Global Sports Mentoring Program. In 2014, she was one of 17 participants in the inaugural Women in Sports and Events (WISE) and Tuck Executive Education at Dartmouth’s Executive Leadership Institute, a program created specifically for the advancement and retention of female executives in the sports industry. Gentile currently serves on the Women’s Sports Foundation Advisory Panel.
A graduate of Duke University with a double major in English and Political Science, she earned an MBA in Marketing and Organizational Behavior from Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management in 1996. While an undergraduate, Gentile garnered All-America and All-ACC honors in field hockey and was a two-time team captain. She led Duke to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament and was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary field hockey team.