Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment Names David Gould Chief Diversity and Impact Officer
PHILADELPHIA – SEPT. 16, 2020 – Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), a dynamic organization comprised of premier sports and entertainment properties, including the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center, today announced David Gould has been named Chief Diversity and Impact Officer.
Gould’s assignment to this newly-created role comes less than a month after HBSE’s Managing Partners, Josh Harris and David Blitzer, unveiled the company’s racial equity action plan, including a commitment of $20 million to fight systemic racism and champion equality. In this role, Gould will lead HBSE’s internal and external diversity and inclusion standards, programs and initiatives across the organization, which additionally includes multiple esports properties, the top-10 nationally-ranked Prudential Center, HBSE Real Estate, HBSE Ventures, Sixers Innovation Lab and more.
“I’m proud of the commitment made by our company and Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer to promote diversity and economic opportunity and publicly recognize the impact that systemic racism continues to have in our society,” said Chief Diversity and Impact Officer David Gould. “As a Black man, former college athlete, and native Philadelphian, this work is deeply personal to me and I believe that the sports and entertainment industry has an important role to play in the push for social and racial equality. It’s an honor to be leading this new priority for HBSE and I am excited for the positive impact we will have for both our staff and communities.”
Gould, a native Philadelphian who joined the 76ers earlier this year as the Executive Director of the Sixers Youth Foundation, played a significant role in the development of HBSE’s racial equity action plan and led many of the 76ers’ efforts to support communities in need during the COVID-19 crisis. During his time as Executive Director, Gould furthered the Foundation’s efforts to serve youth through the rehabilitation of basketball courts in Greater Philadelphia, as well as providing safe youth basketball clinics and delivering lunches to thousands of children across underserved communities.
Listen to an interview with David Gould on the 76ers Podcast Network
“We are thrilled to work with David Gould in his new capacity as Chief Diversity and Impact Officer. This role is a vital addition to our organization and we believe David’s leadership, passion and strategic mindset are incredibly valuable to our company and community members alike. This is an important step in our larger commitment towards equality and inclusion within our organization and in driving positive change in the communities we serve,” said HBSE Founders Josh Harris and David Blitzer.
As Chief Diversity and Impact Officer, Gould will provide executive leadership and guidance while working closely with company leaders, HBSE’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board and the Human Resources department to implement a comprehensive inclusion and diversity strategy across HBSE.
Additionally, Gould will be responsible for spearheading HBSE’s action plan and commitment to promote racial equality, including efforts to (1) invest in Black communities, (2) support Black and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, (3) promote education, health and employment opportunities for Black community members and (4) amplify and build workplaces founded in respect, diversity and inclusion across HBSE properties.
Other responsibilities will include implementing best-in-class practices to ensure an inclusive and diverse work environment across all HBSE properties through recruitment, retention and professional development programs. Gould will also work with team marketing and community relations to promote positive educational, health and employment outcomes for local communities. He will guide leaders in establishing and maintaining business practices that will invest in, support and grow minority-owned businesses. Lastly, Gould will be responsible for building relationships with community leaders to drive change and make an impact on the communities in which HBSE businesses operate.
“David Gould is an action-oriented, authentic leader with an outward mindset and the capacity to be an inspiring force for change; it is an honor to appoint him to the first-ever role of HBSE’s Chief Diversity and Impact Officer,” said HBSE CEO Scott O’Neil. “David’s leadership and guidance played a critical role in shaping HBSE’s and Founders Josh Harris and David Blitzer’s $20 million commitment and action plan to address racial equity in the communities where we live, work and play. He brings a depth of experience in building platforms that drive advancement for Black entrepreneurs and communities, in both the private sector and with the City of Philadelphia; his perspective will be critical as we grow as an organization and community in empathy, respect and with racial equality in mind. With David’s engagement and passion, I am confident our organization, industry and community will rise together to celebrate diversity and equality, and move towards action.”
Prior to joining the 76ers, Gould served as the Deputy Director for Community Engagement and Communications for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s Rebuild initiative, a more than $400 million investment with the goal of revitalizing community spaces in low-income neighborhoods and promoting economic opportunity for those communities. As one of Rebuild’s Founding Members, Gould served on the leadership team that launched the program responsible for revitalizing community parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia; bringing construction opportunities for small, diverse businesses and creating jobs for women and people of color. He was also responsible for building relationships with community members and ensuring that their priorities were reflected in the investment made in their neighborhood.
Prior to working for the City, Gould was a program officer at the William Penn Foundation where he was responsible for exploring new areas of focus for the Foundation, specifically related to community development and impact investing.
Gould grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He played basketball at the University of Rochester where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science. He also received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught graduate classes at the University’s Weitzman School of Design.