International women’s day

IWD 2020 | NYCFC Leadership Q&As, presented by Hays

New York City FC and Hays, the Official Recruitment Partner of NYCFC, are proud to promote female participation in sport.

On International Women’s Day 2020 and through International Women’s Month, we’ll be celebrating female role models who exist across the Club here on and on our social media channels.

Kicking us off, Kali Franklin - Vice President, Human Resources and Sarah Bishop, Vice President, Marketing, both shared the advice, leadership characteristics and values which have guided them through their careers and to their respective roles on the leadership team at NYCFC.


1. What is it about working in sports that inspires you?

In short, I am inspired by how sporting events bring diverse groups of people together. It is one of the few authentic environments where you can catch random people basking in their similar love of a team or player, without regard to differing backgrounds, socio-economics, age or circumstance. Similarly, the operations behind the pitch/ field/ court is just as dynamic; a collection of people who are highly skilled, undeniably committed and distinctively intrigued by the complexity. At the end of the day, I’m encouraged to provide a one-of-a-kind customer experience in one of the most exciting environments.  Staff and fans alike, show up to be surprised and delighted and I get the privileged to exceed their expectations.

2. How do you think the work you do makes a difference to our Club?

As champion of our club’s culture and employee experience, I am responsible for cultivating an environment of teamwork, innovation, service, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. By role-modeling our desired behaviors, I am able to demonstrate an astute understanding of the interconnectivity of our business goals and cultural ethos, and more so, the importance of their synergy. In this unique position of influence (vs. authority), my work looks to inspire consensus and promote impactful alignment. In essence, I’m relied upon to create clarity, drive engagement and deliver results through collaboration.

3. What would you say to other women looking to enter the industry?

Gone are the days where you must have a degree with a sports focus to be credible in the field. In ‘yester-years’ there was heavy reliance on sports/ stadium experience, which unfortunately perpetuated the male dominance that existed in the sporting world. However, the tides have changed. Today’s most respected teams have women and minorities in senior leadership positions, where diversity of thought and experiences are celebrated and sought out. When you walk the halls of NYCFC you find staff with backgrounds in technology, hospitality, financial services, non-profits and various other sectors. If I had to summarize my advice for women curious about opportunities in the sporting world, I would suggest reflecting on your personal brand. Identify your strengths, be courageous and stand for something, add value to everything you put your effort into and own it!

4. What are your top 3 qualities that make a good leader?

My mother taught me at a young age that being a leader begins with having courage. Courage to show up, speak up and stand for people that you represent.

Leadership is all about the people; managers manage processes and leaders lead people. Effective leaders tend to embody similar characteristics- integrity, an ability to inspire others, astute delegation skills and viewed as an effective communicator. However, there are a collection of leaders who transcend good and are often recognized as great leaders; those we admire and wish to become. 

Great leaders tend to demonstrate additional prowess that transforms their impact. They tend to motivate their team and connect with empathy; understanding that they lead a group of individuals with unique perspectives and aspirations. They are passionate about the development of their team and committed to championing their people. In short, good leaders get results, while great leaders deliver results through their team.


1. What is it about working in sport that inspires you?

I have spent the last 7(ish) years working in brand marketing roles that, in some shape or form, touch sport and have consistently been inspired by the spirit of comradery that comes from working in this industry. Additionally, we are in a very unique and privileged position, in that we spend our days focusing on enhancing the experience and emotional connection between fans and our brand.

2. How do you think the work you do makes a difference to our Club? 

I am in a unique position, as I’m still relatively new to the NYCFC front office. It is important to me though that, on a daily basis, I’m focused on inspiring my team to elevate their game, pushing out the best work possible, supporting them and helping to clarify priorities and finally collaborating internally to foster trusting and meaningful relationships with colleagues across the business. Because of this focus then, I would hope that the work we do as a Marketing team doesn’t just have a positive impact on brand awareness and sales, but has that same effect on the culture in the organization.

3. What would you say to other women looking to enter the industry? 

I would advise any young woman looking to pursue a career across any field, but especially Sports Marketing, to make sure that they focus on the work and doing the best job possible as they are in the growth stage of their career, align themselves with a strong senior mentor who can give them advice, help them navigate new and challenging situations that they will face and finally to speak up and not be afraid to voice their opinions. A former mentor once told me that “nothing amazing had ever been born from silence” and so not being afraid to voice my thoughts has always been something I have worked on.

4. What are your top 3 qualities that make a good leader?

In my experience, the thing that truly differentiates a ‘boss’ from a ‘leader’ is the trust that is built between that person and their team. Because of that, the qualities that I think are the most valuable in building trust are transparency, communication and support; ensuring your team always feels informed, heard and given the air cover to focus on doing the best job they can do should be the priority of every people manager. I feel honored to work with a team that has equally reciprocated those qualities.