2 Minutes With … Leela Srinivasan, CEO of Parity

On the inspirational power of sports

Leela is CEO of Parity, a startup created to close the gender income and opportunity gap in professional sports. She took the reins in May, when Parity had amassed a network of more than 800 women athletes and paid out over $2 million in sponsorships.

Earlier, Leela served as CMO at Checkout.com, SurveyMonkey and Lever. She has also held marketing leadership roles at OpenTable and LinkedIn.

We spent two minutes with Leela to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.

Leela, tell us …

Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?

I grew up in Scotland—first in Edinburgh, my birthplace, then in the wee town of Newport-on-Tay. These days, I live in Raleigh, N.C., where my husband grew up.

Your earliest sports memory.

In person: running around the duck pond at St. John's Primary School sports day (I think I came in third). On TV: watching Paolo Rossi score a hat-trick against Brazil at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain.

Your favorite sports team(s).

So many! North Carolina Courage, UNC's basketball and volleyball teams, the Golden State Warriors, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (since 1994, not a bandwagoner), Tottenham Hotspur FC—and back in Scotland, Dundee FC, where I had season tickets as a teenager. 

Your favorite athlete(s).

Every athlete working at Parity. Right now, that's Dani Aravich (a two-time Paralympian focused on the biathlon); Sam Mattis (who won the men's discus competition at the USATF championships); Lindsey McKone (professional lacrosse with Athletes Unlimited); Elizabeth Montavon (ranked 7th in the world for waterskiing); Karlie Samuelson (of the WNBA’s LA Sparks); and Emma Schieck (volleyball Palalympian). Plus retired athletes Kara Winger (a 4-time Olympian, who holds the U.S. national record for javelin) and B.J. Miller (who won swimming gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics). Every one of them inspires me, and I'm constantly checking their results.

Your favorite sports show or podcast.

I love what Caroline Fitzgerald is doing with The Business Case for Women's Sports.

Your favorite sports movie and/or video game.

Battle of the Sexes and Rocky.

A recent project you're proud of. 

Parity recently sponsored the ICO For All Championships, which brought women and men together to compete in the icosathlon (also known as the double decathlon, involving 20 different track and field events over a grueling two days). Women had been allowed to compete for the first time at the 2021 Biennial Icosathlon World Championships, but the governing body later decided to bar women athletes again, leaving them without a platform in 2023. This bothered us greatly at Parity. Our mission is to close the gender income and opportunity gap in pro sports. We decided to step in and support ICO For All. To underscore the moment, competitor Lauren Kuntz set an icosathlon world record that weekend.

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

Orange France won the internet for the decade with "Les Bleues." So brilliantly done. I still get emotional watching it. 

What sports can do that nothing else can.

Inspire powerful, unwavering belief in what's possible. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the sports world.

Something climate related. Every single one of us can make a difference.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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