Ken Aagaard, Executive Vice President, Operations, Engineering & Production Services, CBS Sports, is the 2015 Lifetime Achievement recipient. With a media career spanning over four decades, including 18 Super Bowls, five World Series, and three Olympics, Aagaard is one of sports television’s most respected broadcast executives.
Donna de Varona is a revered U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer. She is currently a member of the board of directors of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, contributing significantly to the sports world. Her groundbreaking journey includes serving as the first female sports broadcaster on network television after retiring from an illustrious career in competitive swimming with 37 national championships and two Olympic gold medals at the age of 17 in 1965.
An Emmy award-winning sports journalist, Ms. de Varona is renowned for covering 18 Olympic Games from multiple networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, and Turner. Roles include management, live reporting, on-air, and co-anchor roles on some of the biggest stories at the Olympic games
As a pioneer for women in sports, Ms. de Varona played a key role in establishing the Women’s Sports Foundation, serving as its first President and Chairman. She chaired the groundbreaking 1999 FIFA Women’s Soccer World Cup and contributed to the formation of the very first IOC athletes commission in 1981 during the IOC Congress in Baden Baden, Germany.
Legendary veteran sports executive, live event specialist and Father of FOX Sports David Hill is the 2016 Lifetime Achievement recipient. The consummate innovator, Mr. Hill influenced the medium via expanded use of technology to enhance the at-home experience for sports television viewers. He also served as Senior Executive Vice President of 21st Century Fox, chairman of National Geographic Channels, was an executive producer at Fox for “American Idol” for the iconic show’s final three seasons and has been tapped to produce the 88th Academy Awards telecast.
The Kalb Report is the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. For nearly thirty years, The Kalb Report, hosted by eminent journalist Marvin Kalb, has provided a forum for prominent newsmakers and journalists to discuss the news media’s impact on American democracy. The guest list included Supreme Court Justices, Civil Rights icons, network news anchors, best-selling authors, members of Congress, and influential leaders from across the media landscape.
Greg MacGillivray, Chairman/Director of MacGillivray Freeman Films, received the 2018 Lifetime Achievement. Greg has been producing and directing award-winning films for more than 40 years. He partnered with Jim Freeman to form MacGillivray Freeman Films in 1966. Since his first IMAX Theatre film “To Fly!” in 1976, Greg has produced some of the most enduring films in the giant-screen genre. He has shot more 70mm film than anyone in cinema history and is the first documentary filmmaker to reach the $1 billion benchmark in worldwide ticket sales. Greg has received two Academy Award nominations for Best Documentary Short Subject: “The Living Sea” in 1995 and “Dolphins” in 2000.
The 2012 recipient was Geoffrey Mason, one of sports television’s most accomplished executives, who has more than 40 years of domestic and international production experience, including seven Olympic Games, six World Cups, and multiple America’s Cup races. Mason has worked for ABC, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and NFL Network over five decades in the business, mentoring hundreds of co-workers along the way.
David Mazza, Senior Vice President and CTO, NBC Sports Group, is the 2014 Lifetime Achievement recipient. Mazza’s technical work has spanned the worlds of sports, entertainment, and news. A veteran of thirteen Olympic Games, he and his team were instrumental in the building of NBC Sports Group’s new headquarters: a state-of-the-art International Broadcast Center.
Sean McManus, Chairman of CBS Sports, is the 2022 Lifetime Achievement recipient. His 4-decade career path as a broadcast sports executive heading up CBS Sports began in 1996. McManus, a 18-time Emmy Award-winner, was named Chairman, CBS Sports, in February 2011 overseeing all sports properties across CBS Sports operations and also serves as executive producer of The NFL on CBS. Serving concurrently as President, CBS News and Sports for more than five years prior to being named Chairman, McManus was named President, CBS Sports, in November 1996 and President, CBS News, in October 2005 and is only the second person to hold both Division titles simultaneously.
The National Press Club is the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. Since 1908, The National Press Club has hosted presidents, kings, queens, prime ministers, Cabinet members, governors, members of Congress and influential leaders in business, entertainment, sport and society to share their views on significant topics and current events with the media and the public. The organization has been recognized as the World’s Leading Professional Organization for Journalists™.
Tony Petitti, Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball, is the 2017 Lifetime Achievement recipient. Petitti served as President & Chief Executive Officer of MLB Network (MLBN), where he oversaw all day-to-day operations, until formally joining the Office of the Commissioner in 2014. The record-setting launch of MLBN, which debuted on January 1, 2009 in 50 million cable and satellite homes, marked the largest in cable television history. He also served as Executive Vice President and Executive Producer for CBS Sports, Senior Vice President, Negotiations for NBC Sports and as Vice President, Programming for ABC Sports.
Connor Schell, Executive Vice President, Content, ESPN is the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. Connor is responsible for overseeing all aspects of ESPN’s content creation across television, digital and print platforms. ESPN Films’ prestigious 30 for 30 documentary brand marks its 10th anniversary this year, and Connor launched that brand (along with Bill Simmons) back in 2009. Schell is the executive producer and co-creator of the Emmy-, Oscar- and Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 documentary series and the Emmy-winning 30 for 30 Shorts digital series. Schell also served as a producer and executive producer of the company’s first Academy Award-winning film “O.J.: Made in America.”
Molly Solomon, Executive Producer & President, NBC Olympics Production & Executive Producer, Golf Channel, is the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. Her career trajectory in the world of sports production spans three decades and 11 Olympics.
Ms. Solomon became the first woman to serve as executive producer for a national sports network with her appointment at GOLF Channel. A 13-time Emmy Award-winner, Ms. Solomon won a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio & Television for her Beijing Olympics work and was a producer on NBC’s Peabody Award-winning primetime coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Susan Zirinsky, senior executive producer of the CBS News broadcast 48 HOURS, received the third Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to her work on 48 HOURS, Zirinsky routinely is the Senior Executive Producer of breaking news specials events for CBS News and her extensive journalism career at CBS News has provided her with a front seat to some of the most iconic moments in TV news history.