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espnW and Women’s Initiatives
Laura Gentile is the Senior Vice President and Founder of espnW, ESPN’s first dedicated business built to serve, inform and inspire women. espnW initially launched in Dec. 2010 as a blog and has evolved to an enhanced web site at espnW.com. The site endeavors to become the premiere site for women who love sports. The espnW brand lives across digital and social media, events such as The espnW: Women + Sports Summit, television and films.
Prior to researching and launching espnW, Gentile previously served as vice president, assistant to the president at ESPN. In that role, Gentile worked directly with George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, on all aspects of the company’s businesses. She played an instrumental role in the development and branding of “ESPN on ABC,” which brought the ESPN brand to the ABC television platform.
Before working in the office of the president, Gentile was senior director of brand management within ESPN Consumer Marketing. In that role she was responsible for driving the strategic marketing direction for properties such as the NFL, SportsCenter, the NHL, and The ESPY Awards. Gentile joined ESPN in January 2003 as director, advertising and marketing where her first assignment was the positioning and promotion of ESPN25, ESPN’s year-long 25th anniversary campaign that celebrated sports fans and created ESPN’s first online community of fans.
Gentile honed her marketing and advertising skills as a senior partner, management supervisor at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Her team led the development of IBM’s e-business infrastructure campaign that earned the 2002 GRAND EFFIE for advertising effectiveness, a first in Ogilvy’s history.
Gentile is a WICT/Betsy Magness Leadership Fellow Class XVII and a member of Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 Class of 2012. She's also been honored as an SBJ Game-Changer and as one of the Advertising Women of the NY's Women of the Year.
A graduate from Duke University in 1994 with a double major in English and Political Science, Gentile 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.