Leslie Garbarino has turned her expertise in law and entrepreneurship—and a lifelong love of sports—into an innovative new Babson course, Good Company, Good Game: Law, Ethics, and Leadership in Sports Businesses. It has been a life-changing experience for students and for Garbarino herself.
Before she came to campus in 2017 as an assistant professor of practice in the Accounting and Law Division, Garbarino served as a corporate attorney for Ropes & Gray LLP and as president of StreetWise Media (now known as AmericanInno), a national digital media and events company focused on tech and innovation. One of her responsibilities at Babson has been teaching sports law and policy, a joy for Garbarino, who is a diehard Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox fan. Students who take the class have clamored for further opportunities to study the business of sports, she says.
“The success of the course is the thing I’m the proudest of in my professional life.”
Leslie Garbarino, assistant professor of practice
So, when Garbarino read Good Company, the 2020 book by Arthur M. Blank ’63, H’98, she had a big idea: a course that would take students to Atlanta for a week of experiential learning with the Arthur M. Blank Family Businesses and AMB Sports + Entertainment. Its holdings include the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta United soccer team, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and PGA Tour Superstore. She was pleased when Blank executives agreed to participate. With the support of Babson’s Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the week focused on Blank’s values-based leadership principles, such as Put People First, Listen and Respond, and Include Everyone.
Garbarino hoped to give students opportunities to network with company leaders. “I also wanted students to see in person how much every single executive and associate really embodied (Mr. Blank’s) core values,” she adds. Eighteen students were chosen by application to participate in the whirlwind week, held in August 2022. The itinerary included student-led panel discussions with Blank executives and multiple sporting events.
She was moved to see the students—who barely knew one another before the trip—develop tight bonds and engage eagerly in the daily activities. “They really just gelled in this incredible way and really lived the values (we discussed),” she says. Back in Boston, the students continue to gather regularly. “The success of the course is the thing I’m the proudest of in my professional life,” Garbarino says.
She will return to Atlanta in August 2023 with a new cohort of Good Company, Good Game students and is considering a Boston-based version of the course in the future. Garbarino is expanding her expertise by finishing a master’s degree in sports management from Louisiana State University this year and has even bigger goals in mind.
“My dream is to one day have a sports leadership institute at Babson,” Garbarino says. “We’re such a sports town, and there is so much enthusiasm from the students.”
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