USATF Chief, Max Siegel, discusses the forces that shaped his career
Max Siegel’s destiny was not preordained. He had to find a route out of an “environment of chaos” in his childhood, and through to the top of an industry where convention and prejudice did not favour him. In the latest episode of our Extraordinary Tales podcast series with Seb Coe, we learn of an inspiring path less travelled, and how the wisdom it offered him shapes the way he leads today. “I craved stability growing up, so I have always wanted to be that grounding factor for others.”
In this wide-ranging discussion, Siegel is open in answering questions on the factor which shaped him, the prejudice which challenged him, the attacks which hurt him, and the ‘why’ which drives him.
After a successful chapter in the music industry, giving platform to the like of Britney Spears, Beyonce, and Usher, he moved into sport and became the highest-ranked African American executive in NASCAR. This decision he says proved to be “one of the most important of my professional career” and gave him the “rare opportunity to impact organisation, industry, and culture.”
This championing of voices on the fringes, has informed every step he has taken, and lies behind the radical transformation of USA Track & Field (USATF), which is now 56% women and 44% minority. Something achieved through “intentional, deliberate and sustained” action, filling a “pipeline of future leaders”, and creating a model for change which rights holders across the sector have turned to.
This understanding of the human condition enables his deal-making excellence, a topic he has written a book on, and built a career upon. This empathy and effectiveness makes him a NASCAR team owner unlike any other, and is why USATF believe he will be the catalyst in reconnecting the public with a sleeping giant of a sport, ahead of LA 2028.
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