THE INSIDE PITCH 2021- March Edition
Ashley Bell
I've long seen a connection between the arts and sports as both require dedication and perseverance and both have the ability to connect to and affect those around us on an emotional level.
I've been a fan of both since I was a kid and enjoyed participating in both until it was no longer possible; I played basketball through freshman year of high school, when unfortunately, because of conflicting schedules, I was forced to choose between singing in the school musical and playing basketball.

Since that point, and particularly since graduating from college, I have dedicated myself fully to music & singing and have been blessed to have the opportunity to perform both across the United States and abroad in Italy, France, Russia, & Spain. Recent highlights have included my debut at Carnegie Hall as soprano soloist in Hadyn’s Nelson Mass and Schubert’s Mass in C, debut with New York City Opera singing Giovanetta in L'Amore Tre Re, debut as Madama Butterfly with Townsend Opera, debut as Mimi in La Bohème with both the Mississippi Opera and the Natchez Festive, singing the role of Elle in a critically acclaimed performance of La Voix Humaine at Rioja Forum in Spain and at the New York Opera Fest and being hailed as "delightful" by Opera News and "a landscape of unknown depths" by Opera Wire to name a few.
   Del from the beginning he has been a huge supporter of and mentor of me on my career path. I founded my own not for profit opera company, Divaria Productions in order to make the emotional power of opera accessible and approachable & provide emerging artists with a platform to perform, and Del was one of our very first donors. He has been a consistent supporter of our work from that point forward, and based on his support of me, I can only imagine the powerful impact that he must have as a mentor to others in The Perfect Game Foundation.

 The pandemic has forced me to re-examine how to make art in a digital world and find a way to produce it safely and in a way that will be impactful. To this end, my company has developed several series of online opera educational classes that we have been presenting with Bay Street Theatre, the National Italian American Foundation, Casa Belvedere & Harvard Medical School via zoom to people across the U.S. & world. We also created the film, Rival Queens, a new form of art that melded documentary film with the music of opera which was created and prepared on an intercontinental basis during the lockdown with individuals in four different locations. We are thrilled that the film was just selected to the New York City Theatre Film Fest and will be viewable from March 10-14 virtually. The pandemic has challenged me to maintain my commitment to perseverance and look for the positive in any difficult situation - it has enabled us to reach and affect more people than ever would have been possible non-digitally. Thank you Del for continuing to inspire future generations in their motivation to succeed and never give up!

Vince Gennaro is the Associate Dean and Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport, the host of a weekly radio show on SiriusXM, an author of a ground-breaking book on the economics of baseball, in addition to being a seasoned global business leader and entrepreneur.

As a global business leader Vince has exercised his far-reaching influence on a wide range of issues. He’s counseled Yao Ming on the development of the Chinese Basketball Association and met with government officials in China to discuss plans to advance the nation’s sports infrastructure. He has also advocated for using the transformative power of sport to combat discrimination, through relationships with Chelsea FC and the Kraft Group. He has served as chairman of the US-China Sports Forum, hosted a conference on the power of sport and diplomacy, and participated in events in the Middle East to use sport as a catalyst for bridging differences.

As an innovator in education Vince has built globally-ranked sports business programs that have launched the careers of the next generation of industry leaders. His innovative approach has helped redefine sports business education with new curriculum delivery models, a focus on experiential learning, and a passion to deliver content and curriculum to diverse audiences around the globe. His latest course, Champions, focuses on the intersection of leadership and sports and includes interviews with Alex Rodriguez, Eli and Peyton Manning, Magic Johnson, and Abby Wambach, among others.

His thought leadership in baseball and sports analytics have influenced the way teams acquire, develop, and compensate talent. In addition to hosting his weekly radio show on SiriusXM, Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR-Style, Vince is a regular contributor MLB Network's studio shows and a frequent guest commentator in the media on sports business topics, appearing on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and many other broadcast outlets. He has been the subject of articles in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CNN Money, and also written for Yahoo Sports and contributed to the Wall Street Journal.

This follows a successful business career, which is highlighted by a 20-year career at PepsiCo, and ownership of a pro sports franchise.

At PepsiCo, Vince was President of Pepsi's Fountain Beverage Division, and was genral manager of a billion dollar bottling business, in addition to holding senior positions in marketing, sales and operations at both Frito-Lay and Pepsi. At Frito-Lay, Vince led the Doritos brand, leading the national launch of Cool Ranch Doritos, and managed the Jay Leno advertising campaign.

An entrepreneurial startup endeavor early in Vince's career complements his success with a blue chip Fortune 50 company. At the age of 27, he raised capital, led the purchase of a franchise in the Women's Pro Basketball League-the forerunner of today's WNBA-and served as its President and General Manager.

Vince’s unique combination of high-level corporate success, entrepreneurial experiences, his innovative approach to education, and his groundbreaking work in contemporary baseball analysis make him a frequent speaker at a wide range of events, including guest lecturer at various universities, global conferences, and corporate events.

Vince serves on the Advisory Board of The Perfect Game Foundation and is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and resides in Purchase, NY.