Thought Leadership

From the field to the boardroom

Ahead of the Super Bowl industry leaders share how sport has inspired them and their teams

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


The Super Bowl is set to take place on the 11th of February.The iconic halftime show is poised, the ad extravaganza is underway and the teams compete for the chance to play in the biggest game on earth. The sporting spectacular is set to be watched by over 100 million viewers across the world.

Underneath the bells and whistles, the event underlines the importance of sport as a cultural force. While many of us are spectators, being a player can help teach key skills and a team ethos underpins some of the fundamentals of business leadership.

Participating in sports during childhood can significantly shape and enhance business leadership skills as an adult. From competitive spirit, lessons in teamwork, discipline, and resilience, the challenges faced on the field or court often mirror the complexities of the business world. This may be why CEOs and professional athletes are often said to share similar mindsets.

With this in mind and with the Super Bowl around the corner, we spoke to industry leaders to find out how the sports they played growing up shaped them into the leaders they are today.

Gabby Ludzker

Gabby Ludzker.jpg



When I was 14, I took a trial judo class against a much taller, older boy. And the feeling of effortlessly launching him through the air into a crash mat against the wall was exhilarating! I’m not sure what that says about me, but it led me to take up Aikido in my first semester of university, and I quickly became obsessed, training for hours every week and attending seminars at home and abroad on weekends. At 30, I resigned from my agency and moved to Paris to train full-time for three months with my favourite sensei, culminating in the passing of my black belt exam.

Without a doubt, this has translated to making me a resilient leader. But, to be honest, going from never having done sports to training six hours per day every day nearly broke me physically and mentally. However, carrying on (my teacher nicknamed me La Tueuse - The Killer) and the sense of achievement at the end gave me a taste for relentless perseverance that has never abated.

It deepened my love and desire for teamwork. Aikido may be a martial art, but it translates from Japanese as ‘The way of love’ because to defeat your opponent, you have to use their strength against them.

But more importantly, it taught me that there are no limitations to being smaller, shorter, female or different in any way. Precision, vision, ambition and bloody hard work will get you victory on the mat and in the meeting room.

Gonzalo Brujó

Gonzalo Brujó - Interbrand .jpg

Global CEO


Since I was barely two feet tall, I've been an absolute ski enthusiast. I was fortunate enough to be able to practice this sport every winter during my childhood and adolescence – and I still do. When you're a kid, speed, adrenaline, and fun make up the perfect cocktail for unforgettable vacations.

Nowadays, if I had to say that skiing has trained me for something, it would undoubtedly be to keep a cool head, stay focused and alert, as well as to be able to make decisions quickly. In the professional world, each day is also an adventure where unexpected paths and obstacles arise, requiring us to have a stoic and fast-thinking mindset, skilled at projecting the possible consequences of different decisions in a matter of seconds. And, of course, enjoy the thrill of the ride.

Lastly, although skiing is typically an individual sport, I've rarely descended a mountain alone. The camaraderie that characterizes people passionate about this sport is unique, as it's a value forged in the mountains. And the ultimate rule in the mountains has always been: "never leave anyone behind." This is a lesson that I believe I've truly learned for life.

Richard Exon

Richard Exon - Joint.jpg



As a cricket mad seven-year-old, my bowling and batting were both pretty average. But an eagle-eyed coach spotted I was an extremely keen fielder and relatively good at it. They re-purposed me into a wicket-keeper and from age eight until well into my thirties I played as much cricket as possible, always keeping wicket.

For those that don’t know, a wicket-keeper is the player who stands behind the batter and catches the ball when the batter misses (this is a staggering over-simplification of the role for which I’ll lose my wicket-keeper union card. Stay with me though).

Generally speaking being a wicket-keeper is unheroic compared to being a top level batter or bowler.

It’s one of the jobs that, if done brilliantly, often goes unnoticed.

But it’s relentless as there is simply no downtime.

The wicket-keeper is involved in every single ball, which demands peak concentration for hours at a time. And serious physical stamina to squat, jump, dive and catch hundreds of times for anything up to six hours a day.

As a metaphor for what’s required to lead a global independent creative company in the 21st century, this version of relentlessness works pretty well.

But I think the biggest thing wicket-keeping taught me, is the value of other people’s perspectives, especially when captaining the team.

Being responsible for the team’s selection, strategy and decision-making, while also being at the heart of the action for every ball all day long is amazing.

But you simply can’t lead without the support and input of the rest of the team.

Because cricket, like business, is a 360º endeavour.

So, if you don’t learn how to incorporate others’ perspectives effectively into your decision making, you’ll end up on the losing side.

Lauren Coates

Lauren Coates.jpg

Creative Director


I grew up with a dad and brother who absolutely love football, so it was only natural for me to follow suit. I used to go to my brother’s training sessions before joining a girls team in my teens.

I was also fortunate enough to go to a lot of England matches both home and away so I got to see a lot of the world fairly early on - including France for the 1998 World Cup and Germany for the 2006 World Cup.

Football taught me to work as a team, to motivate others and keep pushing forward. Football is at its most beautiful when you take risks and do the unexpected. It shouldn't be predictable - that's what makes it boring. I like to think that's the same for creative work. When you go off script, whether that's on the pitch or in your work, that's when magic happens.

The game was also a great mental relief. I've always been pretty energetic, over-stimulated and constantly need to be doing something, so running up and down a pitch for 90 minutes really helped me to exert some of that energy. I only wish I could do the same now but I don't think I'd make 9 minutes let alone 90!

My football background has come in extremely handy today as I do a lot of football work for adidas, working on the award-winning 2022 federation kit launch and last year’s Women's World Cup campaign.

I'm passionate about driving the women's game forward, being such a lover of it myself so it's great that I get to be a part of opening the world's eyes to these amazing athletes.

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