Ventura Partners Expands Sports Recruiting Practice

August 6, 2018 – Executive search firm Ventura Partners has expanded with the addition of sports industry veteran Katy Young Staudt as managing director in its sports & entertainment practice.  Ms. Staudt will open a Ventura office in Phoenix.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Katy’s experience and respect on our team,” said Chad Chatlos, leader of the firm’s sports and entertainment practice. “Katy leads discrete, highly confidential searches and treats candidates with respect, transparency and class – pillars of our practice at Ventura Partners.  We are immediately a stronger team with her addition, and I cannot wait for her to get started.”

Over the past 15 years, Ms. Staudt has established herself as one of the most trusted and influential search consultants in the sports and entertainment worlds, said the firm. During her time at Witt/Kieffer and Eastman & Beaudine, she conducted numerous searches for Division I head coaches and directors of athletics, and has worked closely with clients across professional sports properties including MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA TOUR, USTA, Churchill Downs and others. Ms. Staudt has also served as director of recruiting for Learfield, assistant athletics director for marketing for the University of California-Riverside, and as a vice president of business development for a national non-profit organization.


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“As a former collegiate student-athlete, watching women achieve at the highest levels of athletics has always inspired me,” said Julie Ford, founder of Ventura Partners. “To have a woman of Katy’s caliber join Chad’s team in the sports & entertainment practice enhances our perspective on issues that are coloring the pursuit of excellence in college and professional sports today.”

Ross Bjork, vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Mississippi, said that hiring Katy Young was an inspired decision by Ventura Partners. “Having worked with search firms for the past 20 years, Katy is one of the most respected and connected leaders in the collegiate athletics space,” he said. “Her passion for matching great athletic programs with the right candidates shines through in every one of her searches. After working with Chad and Ventura Partners on several critical searches for us at Ole Miss, I am confident she will be a perfect fit there.”

Ventura Partners is one of a growing cadre of search firms dedicated to the explosive growth sector of sports – focused on finding preeminent leaders in college and professional sports recruitment, and leading searches for college athletic directors, commissioners, premier coaches and senior executives across all sports. Ventura recently completed searches for Ole Miss, Clemson, Penn State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Iowa, Utah, Kansas State, Nebraska and Purdue.

Veteran Recruiters

Ventura Partners, with offices in Beverly Hills, Chicago and Atlanta, also serves an array of other clients, including top-performing private equity funds, well-known and industry-disrupting brands, and leading industrials. With 15 employees, the firm’s practice groups include: consumer products & services, industrial, private equity, CFO services, board services, sports & entertainment and senior leadership assessment.

Ventura Partners was recently named among Hunt Scanlon Media’s Top 40 sports, media & entertainment search firms. Here is a look at some of the firm’s recent work from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

In June, Ventura Partners recruited Mark Harlan as the new director of athletics at the University of Utah. Chad Chatlos, sports practice leader at Ventura Partners, led the search. Mr. Harlan is currently serving in the same role at the University of South Florida.

Ventura Partners placed Courtney Gruber as the new chief retail officer for drybar, a blowout hair salon chain. Ms. Ford led the search. The search took three to four months to complete. “The process was straightforward,” she said. “We focused on candidates in high-touch, customer service in specialty retail, nationally.”

The firm also recruited Dave Larson to become the chief marketing officer of 5.11 Tactical Inc. in Irvine, CA. Bob Damon, a partner at Ventura, led the assignment. Encompassing top-tier athletic brands, Mr. Larson’s career includes executive marketing roles with Nike, Reebok, Brooks Running and Under Armour.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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