The National Hockey League just pulled a major move.
Long considered a bastion of White male privilege, the NHL on Monday named Kim Davis, a respected corporate business leader who is Black, as executive vice president. She is scheduled to join the league’s New York office on December 4.
“The impact of sports on community development can be powerful,” Davis, whose formal title is executive vice president, social iImpact, growth initiatives & legislative affairs, said in a statement . “Sport can, and does, make a profound and positive impact on individuals, communities and has the opportunity to drive positive social change. Having had the privilege of advising the NHL on its CSR practices, I’ve experienced an organization that is truly committed to contributing positively to society and fostering inclusiveness.”
Davis comes to the NHL with an impressive list of previous positions, dismantling any arguments that merit is not why she had landed in the corporate suite. She is a trailblazer in the corporate and philanthropic communities, and worked for Teneo, a leading global CEO advisory firm. Prior to Teneo, she worked for 20-plus years at JPMorgan Chase, where she was a global manager.
She also created the first women of color affinity group at Chase Manhattan Bank and developed a mentoring program for senior women that “became an industry best practice in investment banking.” She later constructed the initial corporate sponsorship model for Women Moving Millions.
For her work, she was profiled with Michelle Obama in Essence’s “28 Most Influential Black Women in America” in 2012.
Davis has broken down barriers in her past jobs, and the NHL will likely be another stage for her to do that. Hockey has long been considered a sport designed with structural barriers for people of color. Since Willie O’Ree became the first Black player in hockey for the Boston Bruins in 1958, the sport has seen only an underwhelming amount of African-Americans on the ice.
Davis, making history on her own agency, will likely lobby for the sport to appeal to more communities of color.
“Kim’s professional experience uniquely qualifies her to ensure that our League is continuing to improve lives and strengthen and build vibrant communities through hockey as well as provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for anyone associated with our League,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.