UVA Darden Alumna Moves the Ball Down the Field for Women in Sports

14 December 2021

By Jay Hodgkins

University of Virginia Darden School of Business alumna Leslie Ladd Kime (EMBA ’20) spent roughly a decade with the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars. But during her time in Darden’s Executive MBA program, she opened her eyes to a new, broader potential career path.

She shared how her Darden experience helped her reshape her career and launch a sports consulting agency in a recent profile on the Alumni Spotlight section of the Darden website.

While she entered the program intending to climb the NFL ladder, she emerged with a vision for creating her own firm, LLK Consulting. “I had some tunnel vision before Darden,” she says, “but my EMBA experience opened my eyes to the endless possibilities on the horizon.”

When the pandemic hit, Ladd paired her NFL experience with her Executive MBA skillset to manage a $47 million contract for the Southeastern Conference (SEC)’s return-to-play COVID-19 initiative. For the next year and a half, she oversaw the distribution of nearly 200,000 COVID-19 tests and worked closely with teams to handle outbreaks. “I was a small part of a big win for the SEC,” she says.

Ladd credits her time at Darden with imparting the mindset and skills she needed to tackle a daunting first project as a solo practitioner. “In football, everyone is fairly similar in professional background,” she says. “The opportunity to learn strategy and management techniques alongside high-level executives from a variety of industries expanded my range. Without my EMBA, managing that SEC contract would have gone very differently.”

Read the full profile on Darden’s Alumni Spotlight.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Molly Mitchell
Associate Director of Content Marketing and Social Media
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia