Courtney Jeffries is the CEO of Virtual Tables and is based in New Jersey. She is also a committee member for Business of Diversity in Sports and Entertainment (BDSE) and an advisory board member for Minorities in Sports.
How she got her start: Courtney Jeffries always knew she wanted a sports-focused career—but wasn't sure exactly what it would look like. After competing as a D1 athlete at the University of Washington, she continued on to graduate school at the University of San Francisco for a master’s degree in sports management.
Since then, she's worked in various positions with the Raiders, Pac-12, and Madison Square Garden, where she met Don White, the CEO of Satisfi Labs. She joined Satisfi Labs as head of sales as the sixth employee and worked her way up to COO, which "taught me a lot about what it takes to build a startup," Jeffries says.
When the opportunity to join Virtual Tables as CEO came up, she saw a way to bring her new tech experience to an exciting company. "With a focus on extending the excitement of the in-person fan experience to a global fanbase, my current role combines my passion for sports and fan engagement with my interest in innovative event technology," she says.
What innovation means to her: Constantly looking toward innovative solutions has been a critical aspect of Jeffries' career, particularly in her role at Virtual Tables, a virtual events solutions company.
"When I started my career in sports at the Oakland Raiders over 15 years ago, social media for brands and teams didn’t even exist," she explains. "I have seen firsthand the value of becoming aware of emerging trends and new technologies, as these have entirely shifted the direction of my career. Exciting new solutions have accelerated the events industry, and it’s imperative to become a part of that change to stay relevant and prepared for the future. The expectations for events have changed a lot in recent years—especially because of the increase in virtual events—so it is incredibly valuable to understand the trends shaping the future of our industry."
Memorable moments: One of the most memorable events Jeffries worked on has been through Virtual Tables’ recent partnership with the XFL, as both brands are interested in changing what fandom looks like.
"One of the latest events we held with the XFL was with the Arlington Renegades, a first-of-its-kind watch party that inspired an entirely new event offering and fan experience for us," Jeffries explains. "This was exciting as it allowed individuals to connect with talent and with other fans around the country, no matter their location. All the athletes attending this event have been fun, respectful, and engaged. It has been fun to see the human connections that come about through virtual events and how events like this present the changing definition of a fan-athlete interaction. We are excited to create similar experiences like this in the future with talents from different industries."
Her vision for the future of the events industry: "My hope is that the events industry will continue to grow to include more innovative technologies that create greater accessibility and connect people from throughout the world," Jeffries says. "Over the past few years, we have been forced to rethink what constitutes an 'event' and have begun to create digital experiences that replicate the excitement and interactivity of in-person events. I predict this to go even further, and for the industry to create more inclusive events that resonate with a globalized audience. The events industry has the potential to increase fan engagement for organizations worldwide—and can help strengthen the longevity of fandom and positively impact new generations of fans."