Founded in 2003 by Todd Heyden (SM ’05), SBA is proud to be recognizing and celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year. The success and longevity of SBA would not be possible without the numerous alumni, industry professionals, and School of Kinesiology faculty that have continued to support and give back to this organization year after year. We want to reflect on the milestones of the past 20 years and recognize those that have helped grow this organization while also looking toward the future and the next 20 years of SBA.
Q&A WITH FOUNDER TODD HEYDEN
What does SBA mean to you 20 years after you founded the organization?
20 years later, the best words I can use to answer that question are: Grit, Teamwork, Opportunity and Success.
What do you hope for SBA in the next 20 years?
In 2003, as crazy as it sounds, I thought about what this would look like 20 years down the road. I knew when we were building it, we had something that could last. And when we created the structure of the association, it was built on the concept that the current board would find the next board and so on and so on. It has truly been an incredible success story (thanks to all of you). 20 years down the road, my hope is we continue having an active membership who gets incredible value out of the association and it is something the school and the alums are proud to promote & support. As the vision continues to grow, one of my goals is to make sure we always have the necessary funding to be successful, however we define the word.
What sets SBA apart that has supported its longevity?
It's hard comparing us to other clubs, associations or initiatives, but what I can do is describe what I think has made us successful for the last 20 years: it's the people, the vision and the execution. All are required for almost any idea/business/etc. to last. When we built this, we did it out of passion and necessity. We were building something for people like us. And we did it at the greatest sports school in the country and were supported by Kines, who was and is extremely entrepreneurial and forward-thinking. The first meeting took place in a room at the union and there were close to 200 people there; the demand has and always should exist. We have had amazing presidents and board members who have all succeeded in selecting the next group of great executives, ensuring the SBA would continue.
LOOKING TOWARDS THE NEXT 20 YEARS
Having looked back on the incredible past 20 years, we cannot help but think about what SBA will become over the next 20 years. In order to set SBA up for continued success, we are focusing on three main objectives for long-term growth:
1. Provide More Equitable Opportunities for Members
In the past four years, SBA has financially supported over 60 students on off-campus employer treks that they wouldn’t have been able to participate in otherwise. These off-campus experiences have provided members with unparalleled access to industry professionals and companies including the NWSL, the NFL, Wasserman, and Angel City FC. We look to expand this initiative by increasing trip capacity and decreasing the overall cost for students to attend through financial aid support from our School of Kinesiology Travel Fund.
2. Expand DEI Initiatives
With the growth of the DEI Committee, SBA is continuing its mission of cultivating an environment that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year, SBA will host the DEI Student Speaker Series, a student-powered initiative aimed to elevate students’ voices and enable a call to action. By collaborating with the Black Undergraduate Kinesiology Association (BUKA) and the Spectrum Center, this speaker series marks a significant step in continuing to learn from and grow SBA’s relationships with DEI-related organizations across campus. In expanding these initiatives, we aim to educate and prepare our members to be inclusive leaders in sport business and better reflect the voices within our community.
3. Increase Philanthropy Efforts
Last year, SBA collaborated with Girls on the Run (GOTR)—a physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls—and raised $1,500 to support their efforts in Southeast Michigan. This year, we are excited to grow our partnership with GOTR and expand to collaborate with Michigan Youth Sport Initiative (MYSI), a student-led organization in the greater Ann Arbor area that is working to break the pay-to-play barrier in youth sports. By utilizing these platforms, members will engage with their communities and embody the importance of service that forms well-rounded leaders. In developing these partnerships and engaging members in service, SBA will continue to ignite a ripple effect throughout the greater community by creating a culture of shared responsibility and unity.