40 Under 40 2020 | Sarah Houseknecht, Foot Locker, 32

As a former collegiate basketball and volleyball player, sports is where Sarah Houseknecht’s passions lie, which no doubt played a significant part in her role as senior director, PR and influencer marketing for Foot Locker.

A “go to” when working with talent, top athletes from James Harden to Anthony Davis trust her to lead interviews with the media, and the exclusive launch of the “One and Done” T-shirt collection during the NBA draft resulted in a complete sell-through of product during the live broadcast.

As Foot Locker continues to align marketing programs across geographies, Houseknecht has been instrumental in shaping the stories on a global scale — her ability to draw people in makes any narrative compelling.

It is this knack for storytelling, combined with a commitment to reinventing the execution of PR and influencer marketing at Foot Looker, which earned her the prestigious “Marketer of the Year Striper Award” in 2019, honoring outstanding performance and passion within various functions across the organization.

As a leader, Houseknecht is renowned for empowering those around her while also giving thoughtful guidance and direction. A volunteer for the nonprofit TopSpin, she counsels and mentors numerous young talents, addressing their learning and development and helping them achieve career advancement.

Since she began volunteering her PR services for its New York City fundraising gala six years ago, the organization has brought together over 11,000 people in the sports and entertainment industry, raising $3.5 million for 23 nonprofit partners.

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