Women Changing The Game: Krista Whitaker

Senior Associate Counsel

What has been your experience as a woman working in professional sports?

The best part about being a woman working in sports is tapping into the amazing community of woman leaders and game-changers in the industry. Growing up, my favorite parts about playing sports were being in a competitive environment and being a part of a team and community. Working in the sports industry typically means that I’m surrounded by people with a similar mentality and the women I meet in this field are always next level. Women in sports are not a monolith and everyone has a different experience, but you’ll find a lot of women supporting other women and that’s a great thing to be a part of.

Krista holding a Jimmy Butler baby jersey

A moment in time where you thought, “Wow, I have a cool job.”

Being part of FTX Trading Day, where we celebrated the Arena name change to FTX Arena, was a special moment for me. Having recently joined the HEAT a few months earlier and having the opportunity to work on the naming rights deal, it was really cool to feel like I was starting a new journey at the same time as our Arena and team. I’m so excited to be part of the next chapter of this organization and to see how we both grow and evolve in the years to come.

What unique aspects of your role get you excited? 

In legal, we work with all of the various departments at the HEAT. I love that I get to work with so many different people and on so many different projects and matters. No single day is the same.

Portrait photo of krista

What’s something you’ve done to take care of your mental health this year?

This year I’ve really had to focus on remembering to make time for myself, whether that is taking a few minutes to decompress after a long day, making sure I’m exercising or even treating myself to a massage. I had a lot of life changes over the last year, including becoming a new mom. When life’s moving forward at warp speed, it’s important to pause and check in with yourself. It’s critical now more than ever that I take care of my mental health so that I can be the best version of myself for my daughter and my family.

How important is it in your role to develop and empower the next generation of women leaders? What steps will you
take to make this happen?

It’s mission critical. I recently heard Gabrielle Union say in an interview “If you make it to shore, you better send the boat back”. I feel the weight of that responsibility and accept the challenge. I will continue to serve as a mentor in professional and philanthropic spaces and ensure my door is always open to women looking to rise in the legal and sports industries. And in the spirit of Shirley Chisholm, I’m prepared to bring as many folding chairs as it takes when there aren’t enough open seats at the table.

Is there a quote that resonates with you in your everyday life?

I can’t remember when or where I first heard it so I can’t give the proper credit but a phrase that always stuck with me is to “Always be the definition. Never be defined”. For me, this speaks to always leading by example and letting your character and your work speak for itself. Never let someone else define who are, how you feel or where you should be in life.

One piece of advice you’d offer to a woman looking to break into the sports/entertainment world.

Be tenacious and keep going. There is no single path and it’s often a winding road. If you really want it, it’s within reach.

Picture of Krista Whitaker