Widely recognized as one of the most influential women in sports business, Kelli Masters often hears, “You have a DREAM JOB.” But she chooses to inspire others not with her successes, but with her vulnerability, sharing not only the victories but also the battles and failures along the way. Kelli is an attorney, an NFL sports agent and Founder and President of KMM Sports, a full-service sports management company with offices in New York, Los Angeles and her hometown of Oklahoma City. While studying broadcast journalism in college, Kelli worked at a CBS affiliate during what happened to be a transformative, tumultuous time for both professional sports and broadcast journalism—the OJ Simpson trial. Kelli was tasked with following the trial for work and, in the process, fell in love with law. She went to law school, got her degree and started working as a litigator, but discovered a passion for nonprofit law. Five years into her law practice, her focus on nonprofit law led her to work with her first professional athlete. While her path was indirect, she knew she had found her calling as a sports agent.
Kelli has represented more professional athletes than any woman in the industry, having served as agent/contract advisor to players in every NFL draft since 2006 as well as numerous athletes in the MLB draft and the Olympics. In 2010, she made history as the first woman to represent a top 5 pick in the NFL Draft (#3 overall). Her story of progress through pain was featured as part of Motrin’s national “Women in Progress” campaign in 2017.
Kelli is a former National and World Champion baton twirler, and was also Miss Oklahoma 1997, winning awards for talent and community service at the Miss America pageant that year. Currently, Kelli serves as an Adjunct Professor at Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma Christian University, teaching Sports Law. She is a sought-after writer and speaker on topics of sports and nonprofit as well as leadership, diversity and discovering purpose in life. Her first book will launch in 2020.
“Kelli Masters is talented in so many ways, particularly as a storyteller. I witnessed this first-hand during Gaylord College’s Convocation ceremony in May, 2017. Kelli was our Convocation speaker and ‘wowed’ the crowd of graduates and their families with her life story and clear passion for her work, her relationships and as a journalism alum of the University of Oklahoma. Her message resonated with one and all. We are very proud of Kelli as an ambassador for OU, Gaylord College and student success.” - Lee Reynolds, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, The University of Oklahoma
“Kelli, thank you so much for taking the time to speak at Devon Energy today. Your story and the overall messages were very relatable and immensely inspirational to myself and all other attendees. There were so many moments that I felt ‘wow, we are speaking the same language.’ I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to learn from you and I look forward to your book launch next year.” - Kirby Foster Hurd, Landman, Devon Energy
“Kelli, I cannot express to you how much I appreciate you speaking this morning at the Lean In Together circle here at Devon. Your talk on Purpose, Action, and Fighting in Your Own Armor really resonated with me and many others. You have a calling on your life to help others and bring them up to serve the calling that God has placed on their lives. As a servant leader, you have more influence than you can ever imagine. I am thankful to have met you and now call you my friend.” - Joy Hammons, Director of Information Technology, Devon Energy
“Kelli Masters has been a featured speaker for Sports Management Worldwide for over 10 years. She has proven to be an inspiration in her story and successes "on-and-off" the field. She is dynamic, knowledgeable, and understands the skills necessary to be successful in a highly competitive, traditionally male dominated industry. Her ability to communicate with the audience on tough issues sets her apart from many leaders in the industry. Kelli’s presentations are high energy, enthusiastic, and motivational.
“SMWW hosts over 10 conferences a year, with over 30 speakers per conference that is over 300 speakers a year. Speakers include GM’s and Head Coaches of NFL, MLB, and NBA teams, ESPN Analysts and a variety of well-known sports personalities. Kelli consistently rates in the top 10% year after year.” - Dr. Lynn Lashbrook, Ed.D, NFLPA, Sports Management Worldwide President & Founder
"As a firm, we look for opportunities to promote awareness and engage in discussion on the importance of diversity and inclusion with the greater business community. Kelli was the keynote speaker at our client event, 'Agent for Change: The Power of Diversity in Leadership,' addressing lessons learned from building her career as a successful sports agent in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
"Kelli was terrific – the energy of her presentation engaged everyone in attendance. Her remarks were inspiring, entertaining, and often eye-opening, as she shared her thoughts on the value that diverse perspectives and experiences bring to the playing field, whether in sports or in business, and the importance of personal authenticity. We had tremendous feedback from our guests, and look forward to welcoming her back!" - Sally Laroche, Director of Business Development and Marketing, PULLMAN & COMLEY LLC
Finding Purpose - Overcoming Fear to Live Authentically
As a high-achiever from an early age, Kelli realized as a young adult that her fierce determination was largely fueled by fear. And that fear led her to a dark, unfulling place. She decided to dig deep and discover her purpose, counter her fear with action and learn to - in her words - “fight in my own armor.” She discovered the power of purposeful living and authenticity, both in her own life and the lives she impacts.
How to Thrive in a Male-Dominated Industry
As one of the only women who represents NFL players as a certified contract advisor, Kelli has faced more than her fair share of gender bias and stigmas. As a pioneer for women in sports business, she has learned important lessons and developed powerful tools for overcoming obstacles...tools that both women and men can implement to ensure opportunities for all who strive for success.
Agent for Change - the Power of Diversity in Leadership
In an op-ed she authored for FoxNews.com, Kelli spotlighted the NFL’s need for diverse perspectives and approaches in resolving the League’s current and future issues. Studies show improved decision making when leaders include both women and men in the problem solving process. And that is just one example of the positive outcomes when we seek inclusion. The power of diversity is unleashed when we listen and learn from each other, recognize our prejudices and chose to empathize rather than criticize.