MIAMI – The HEAT Group announced today the rehiring of veteran industry leader, Kim Stone. Stone will lead a newly created division, Human Capital & Special Projects, as its Executive Vice President. Stone’s new role will include overseeing the expansion of the franchise’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, human resources including staff recruiting, performance management, employee benefits, and employee relations as well as management of capital investment projects to FTX Arena.
Stone’s leadership team will include the following individuals, who were recently promoted: Sonia Harty, Senior Vice President/Chief People & Inclusion Officer; Christine Machado Risso, Vice President of Human Resources & Compliance; and Clara Stroude-Vazquez, Chief of Culture & Inclusion.
“Kim has a long and celebrated history in this industry and with the Miami HEAT and FTX Arena,” said Eric Woolworth, President of The HEAT Group’s Business Operations. “Her talent is unparalleled. When we heard she was making a return to Miami, we jumped at the chance to have her rejoin us. And with the additions of Sonia, Christine and Clara to Kim’s team, we’ve created nothing short of a formidable division run by gifted leaders.”
Stone previously spent two years with the Golden State Warriors in the role of General Manager, where she opened the $1.4 billion dollar Chase Center—the crown jewel of an 11-acre mixed use development in San Francisco’s Mission Bay area—in December 2019 to widespread acclaim. She began her career with the Miami HEAT as a part-time member of the stats crew and steadily worked her way up the ranks. Before she departed for the Chase Center, Stone was the Executive Vice President of Business Development. In the preceding 12 years, she was General Manager, responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the award-winning FTX Arena. She was directly responsible for the seamless production of four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and the three championship celebrations in 2006, 2012 and 2013.
Under her stewardship, the Arena achieved top rankings in overall fan satisfaction and in-game experience according to the NBA’s annual game experience survey. Stone has been named a “2013 Woman of Influence” (Venues Today), a 2016 “Game Changer,” a 2017 “Power Player in Venue Management” and a 2009 “Influential Business Woman” (Sports Business Journal). In 2014, UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication inducted her into their Hall of Fame. In 2018, Women in Sports and Events named Kim a distinguished “Woman of the Year” and the South Florida Business Journal honored her with a “Business of Pride” award.
Harty began her career at the HEAT in 2003 as Manager of Compensation and Benefits. Later that year, she was promoted to Director of Human Resources, spending three years in that capacity before being elevated to Vice President of Human Resources in 2006. In her new role, she will facilitate all initiatives relating to staff recruiting, performance management, employee benefits, employee relations and diversity, equity and inclusion. Harty earned her Master of Science in Human Resources at American University in Washington, D.C. She is the first woman of color to earn the title of Senior Vice President at The HEAT Group.
Risso, a Miami native, has 17 years of Human Resources experience—16 of them with the Miami HEAT. She earned her Bachelor’s in Education from Florida State University, a Master’s in HR Management from Florida International University, and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). In her new role, Risso will continue to support the organization’s overall human resources strategy, including talent acquisition and retention, employee benefits, performance management and employee relations. Her new area of focus will be on the company’s overall compliance initiatives.
Stroude-Vazquez is an 18-year veteran of the HEAT. In her new role, she oversees the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition, she is the champion of HEAT Culture, helping employees to understand and live out the franchise’s values. She also works to develop strategies and implement programs that inspire, motivate, and develop employees.