By Engagement Insider
When Mori Taheripour came to this country as a young girl, getting involved in sports was the furthest thing from her mind.
“It was study, study, study,’’ Taheripour says now. “It wasn’t just sports, there were no extracurricular activities. My parents wanted me to become a doctor.’’
All the studying did pay off for Taheripour. She earned her MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received her BA in psychology and premedical studies from Barnard College.
Mori serves as a faculty member in the Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department at the Wharton School where she teaches Negotiations and Dispute Resolution in the undergraduate and Executive Education programs.
In 2007, she was a recipient of the William G. Whitney Award for undergraduate teaching. She is also a faculty member in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative, a partnership between the Wharton School and the American University in Cairo. In this program, she has been involved in both curriculum design and content delivery for the negotiations, communications and entrepreneurship modules.
Among her many other accomplishments, Taheripour has over 16 years of business experience and since 1997 has served as the managing partner and co-founder of Innovative Health Solutions, a health care consulting firm dedicated to developing awareness, prevention and cause marketing campaigns targeting diverse and undeserved communities.
Still something was missing, she wanted to get involved in sports.
“I always wanted to be involved in sports,’’ she said. “Finally, I realized I should do what I wanted to do.’’
See even at that young age when all she did was study, she was in Boston, living three blocks away from the baseball shrine known as Fenway Park and at a time when Larry Bird and the Celtics were battling Magic Johnson and the Lakers every year for the NBA title.
What was a girl to do?
“Sports were all around me,’’ she said. “When I went to a game at the Garden, you would see thousands of people from as diverse a background as you could imagine, but they were brought together for one purpose – the Celtics. And it was exciting.’’
Taheripour used her knowledge, her business background and as she said what she wanted to do and started the Wharton Sports Business Initiative where she now serves as the Associate Director.
What the initiative does is gives today’s NFL players a chance to learn from some of the top level business leaders and use it to their benefit whether it’s in new media opportunities, building profitable sports organizations or sports philanthropy.
Every offseason NFL players are offered the opportunity to learn from faculty at Wharton, including Taheripour , to enhance their business education.
“I’m so lucky,’’ Taheripour said. “I do so many different things. I love teaching. I always have. And I love being in the player development and working with the athletes.’’
Taheripour had hoped to get athletes from other sports involved and still may, but the partnership with the NFL and its players has been ideal.
“With the NFL it was just a total meeting of the mind,’’ she said. “It was just a perfect world. And then Troy (Vincent, the President of the NFLPA at the time and now a senior vice president for NFL player engagement) really pushed for it and that was key as well.
“The players really love it. They have come to see the opportunities they have. From the rookies to the veterans t retired players, there’s total diversity and every time they come back I’m just amazed by the level of their enthusiasm.’’
And it’s not easy. The players put in long days and the faculty does as well. Still the reward is worth it, especially for someone who always want to get involved in sports.
“We go some days from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.’’ Taheripour said. “By the end of the day we’re all wiped out. But they’re great days.’’