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San Diego Sport Innovators Expands Board With Pillars From San Diego’s Business Community

May 1, 2017

Nonprofit business development organization strengthens mission to elevate San Diego’s Sport and Active Lifestyle platform

San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI), the nonprofit business development organization dedicated to fostering the growth of the Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) Industry, is pleased to announce the addition of five members to its Board of Directors: Emilie Cotter (FleishmanHillard), Melissa DeVita (Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.), Michael Lawrence (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management), Eric Northbrook (Voit Real Estate Services), and Roger M. Spatz (Reef/Eagle Creek).

“These new additions to our board are watershed moments in our organizations' history—these people, and the companies that they represent, are all foundational pillars in our region, community, and economic cultural and social space,” said Bill Walton, Executive Director, SDSI. “We could not be happier, more fortunate, privileged or honored, to have each of them officially on our team. Today, SDSI reached a milestone; from this point forward, we now have the skills, strength, expertise, breadth and depth, to fully implement our purpose, mission and goal. On behalf of the SDSI team, we welcome these new members and appreciate their sacrifice, commitment to a shared vision, and willingness to be a part of something truly special—something that is so much bigger and better than any of us alone. Here we go, time to get to work.”

More about the new board members:
Emilie Cotter is an SVP & Partner at FleishmanHillard, a global public relations and communications firm with offices in San Diego. As co-chair of the firm’s entertainment practice, Emilie leads teams to provide programming and strategies that help businesses reach their goals via media relations, social, brand integrations and lifestyle marketing.

Melissa DeVita is the Vice President, Division Counsel for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., overseeing the legal team which supports Qualcomm Research and Qualcomm Engineering. Melissa is responsible for advising the CTO and his organization in cutting edge areas of new development, which currently include 5G wireless solutions, autonomous driving, drones, robotics, machine learning and satellite communications. Melissa serves on the Board of Girl Scouts San Diego, is an active mentor, speaks frequently on the topics of diversity and leadership, and has been recognized for her dedication to furthering opportunity for women in leadership roles.

Michael Lawrence works in Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley’s Global Sports and Entertainment, dedicated to serving the unique and complex needs of athletes, entertainers and top professionals in the sports and entertainment. Michael assists entrepreneurs and startups with securing growth or expansion capital by leveraging Morgan Stanley’s large network and vast resources including, philanthropy, business development, and monetizing revenue streams from their work.

Eric Northbrook is a Managing Director of Voit Real Estate Services' San Diego, a Southern California-based commercial real estate firm providing strategic property solutions. With over twenty-five years of experience as a top producer in southern California and nationwide, Eric directs a team comprised of industrial, office, retail, and investment specialists and collaborates with asset and property management.

Roger M. Spatz is the President of Reef and Eagle Creek brands within the VF Outdoor/ Action Sports Coalition of VF Corporation. In his 13 year tenure with VF, he has held various senior leadership roles including CFO of Reef and Eagle Creek and prior to that CFO for VF Outlet. He previously served as chairman of The Children’s Home of Reading and Berks TalkLine, with additional service on the boards of United Way and the Manufacturer’s Association.

About SDSI
SDSI is a nonprofit business development organization focused on fostering the growth of the Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) industry. Working with Executive Chairman and NBA great Bill Walton, our 101 company membership represents the “San Diego Lifestyle” and includes leading sports and technology brands, nutrition and yoga, surf, skate, cycling, golf, retail and everything in between, as well as some of San Diego’s bests service companies. We focus on relevant and actionable C-level content that benefits our member companies and facilitate new business opportunities among the members every day. SDSI’s award winning SDSI Springboard business accelerator program features a 20-week mentor-led curriculum whose graduates have raised $52.4 million, have created 441 jobs and have an 87% success rate. For more information and membership inquiries, visit