Q&A with Kings COO Matina Kolokotronis
What does celebrating Women’s History Month mean to you?
Our country is at a crossroads when it comes to the advancement of women. Our children will be forever impacted by the decisions we make today, and we must do right by them.
The #MeToo movement has sparked a sea change in how society is addressing the vast challenges that women face every day.
Now, more than ever before, women’s voices are being heard – and this is only the beginning.
The Sacramento Kings are dedicated to ensuring that women have a platform to voice their concerns and celebrate their achievements.
We firmly believe that we must have a conversation to address the inequalities that women still face every day.
What does it mean to you to be an NBA pioneer – holding the distinction of being the only woman to hold the positions of President of Business Operations and Chief Operating Officer?
It is an incredible opportunity to help pave a path forward for other women – as other mentors have done for me. The NBA is committed to making strides in promoting, supporting and developing women and I hope that I can help open doors for even more progress.
During your 20-plus years with the Sacramento Kings, among many initiatives, you’ve played a key role in securing Peja Stojakovic’s contract with the team, keeping the Kings in Sacramento and revitalizing downtown – how would you characterize your journey with the organization?
I have been with the organization for a long time and have witnessed some incredible moments, some tough times and everything in between. We are now at a very exciting moment as we enter a new era.
But no matter how tough or exciting, there has never been a moment when this organization didn’t give back to our community – and the community has always responded in kind. That’s why I love this organization and this city so much.
Sacramento is home – it is where I raised my family and I have an exciting, fulfilling life here. I feel a deep responsibility to give back to our community and am honored to have a job that allows me to do that every day.
I am also so fortunate to have a job that allows me to promote and support women – not only on International Women’s Day but every day, by helping to create a nurturing workplace and culture of diversity and inclusion.
What does it mean to you to work for a team that uses its platform – on and off the court – to make the world a better place?
It makes me incredibly proud. When Vivek bought the team, he laid out a mission, to build a winning franchise that enhances the lives of those it touches and makes the world a better place.
We try to do that in all that we do, from making the sport accessible to all people, to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, to engaging our community on a daily basis. That’s why celebrating women’s achievements and ensuring they have a platform to make their voices heard is so important to us.
As a mother of three, why is it important to you that the organization has progressive family paid leave and baby at work policies?
It’s important to me that women feel like they can have a successful career and raise a family. Parents face enormous hurdles when returning to work after having a child, including child care expenses and logistics, adjusting to new work schedules and responsibilities and health care changes, for example. Studies have shown that women and families who are supported in the transition back to the workforce with paid family leave and flexible work policies, for example, are much more likely to stay in the workforce. That’s why we have led the industry in pioneering the bring your baby to work program and progressive paid family leave policies.
Who are female mentors that’ve been important in the journey to where you are today?
When I moved to Sacramento for law school at the University of the Pacific, the partner at the law firm that hired me after I graduated was Nancy Miller. She was one of the first women I had met that had a successful career, was married with children and was actively involved in the community. That's when I realized that I could have that too. She's still my mentor to this day and one of my best friends. Nancy showed me a path and possibility toward something that I didn't know I wanted until I saw it. That's why it's important for young girls and women to have mentors. If you can see it, then you can see the path to it. It's that simple.
What advice would you share with women striving to be leaders in the sports industry?
That anything is possible. If it is your dream, a career in sports IS possible. You never know where the journey of life will lead, but stay open to possibilities.
How do you enjoy spending time away from work?
I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, practicing yoga, giving back to the community and of course watching Kings basketball.