Kati Fernandez

Fernandez keeps ESPN on the cutting edge, leading the development of the sports giant’s first-ever NFT with the “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady collection.” She also helped shepherd the content strategy for the Disney/ESPN enterprise-wide “Fifty/50” initiative, exploring the impact of Title IX 50 years after its passage. She co-chairs ESPN employee-led affinity group Multicultural Women’s Network and mentors young alumni and current students of color at her alma mater, College of the Holy Cross. Mentorship is especially dear to Fernandez. In college, she majored in music and pre-med, but her career trajectory changed after she met Brian Lockhart. “He was the first person that not only exposed me to sports and entertainment, but made me believe that I had the skills to be successful in the industry. He believed in me even when I didn’t see it myself,” she says. Fernandez joined Lockhart at NFL Network and he’s now her boss at ESPN. She’s flourished at the company, stepping in and helping in the production of more than 119 hours of original content for ESPN+ last year, filling holes created by live sports cancellations due to COVID. Since she began her career, she’s seen a shift in the conversation around representation. “Although work remains to ensure that leadership tables across every company look like the consumers they serve, I’m hopeful and encouraged by the progress made,” she says.

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