Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena
In 2014, the Atlanta Hawks organization made headlines when both the majority owner and general manager reportedly used discriminatory and hurtful language in reference to the Hawks predominantly African-American fan base and one of the teams top recruits. While working as the head of diversity and inclusion at Edelman, a top-tier public relations agency, Nzinga Shaw and her team put a plan in place to help the Hawks rebound from the crisis. Her tenacity and savvy were so impressive that the Hawks hired Shaw as the chief diversity and inclusion officer of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, making her the first person in all 122 professional sports teams in North America to hold the position. Thanks to her work, the Hawks won the Technology Association of Georgias Business Champion of Diversity Award.
I am honored to lead the charge to create a meaningful platform and implement programs that will permeate the entire league in order for professional basketball to serve as a model of inclusion in sports and embody equitable practices across industries, she declares.
Shaw received a bachelors degree from Spelman College, a masters from University of Pennsylvania, and a Certificate of Human Resources Studies from Cornell University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and the National Coalition of 10 Black Women MECCA Chapter; a board member for Microsofts YouthSpark initiative and Atlanta Diversity Management Advocacy Group; and has held positions with the National Football League, Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network Yes LLC, and Essence magazine. My first boss [Claudia Henderson] at Essence inspired me to pursue a career in Human Resource Management, Shaw says. She helped me to understand that the field is multifaceted and provides learning experiences across a variety of disciplines, which include my passion for recruiting, employee relations and diversity.