In the midst of the pandemic, Xavier Gutierrez was in the midst of a career change. After two plus decades working in business investment and finance, he became the first Latino NHL president and CEO in June 2020. He joined STN on “Arizona Achievers” to talk about the diverse future of hockey, navigating a new job during a health crisis and what other industries can learn from the business of sports.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Gutierrez moved to the United States when he was five. He attended undergrad at Harvard and holds a law degree from Stanford.
“It’s a dream come true mainly because I am able to show the doors that can be opened in this country that I love so much,” he said about becoming the NHL’s first Latino president & CEO. “I feel it is my personal responsibility not only to embrace this role but to ensure that I open doors for others, that I talk about the opportunity to bring diverse voices to the table and the impact that that can make.”
Gutierrez does not downplay the incredible challenges that came with taking the top job with a sports team during a global health crisis including limited access to staff and playoffs taking place in another country.
He offered advice on building on momentum when conditions aren’t ideal by focusing on impact, innovation and inclusion.
The Coyotes staff has turned to digital media and creative ways to connect with fans given all of the limitations that come with COVID-19.
“I do think that there’s some things that have come out of this pandemic in terms of the business processes and the way we do things that I think will carry over and go forward with,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez also spoke about the power that sports provides in one’s effort to make a difference in their community. “The question becomes: what are you going to do with that power?” he said. From turning Gila River Arena into a voting location to amplifying the voices of small business owners, he and the Coyotes staff are proving that the words “Coyotes care” is much more than a slogan.