On the first episode of the Work in Sports podcast, Carl Manteau of the Milwaukee Bucks said, “I’ve always enjoyed sharing insight into working in the sports industry, the things I wish I knew when I was starting out. I love the idea of this podcast, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
That summarized this whole project beautifully.
I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and the host of the Work in Sports podcast. I’m sharing all of my best career advice gathered over 25 years in the sports industry, and I’m bringing in a bunch of old and new friends to do that same.
We’re sharing our knowledge with you, so that you can be better prepared to make your mark in the sports industry. Friends like Colleen Scoles, Philadelphia Eagles, Talent Acquisition Manager (episode 5), Mark Crepeau, Basketball Hall of Fame VP of Marketing (episode 8), Josh Rawitch, Arizona Diamondbacks Sr. VP of Content and Communication (episode 18), Chris Fritzsching, Detroit Lions Director of Football Education and many more.
Every Wednesday I bring in a special sports industry guest, like the names listed above. And every Monday and Friday I go solo, digging deep into a fan question related to working in the sports industry. Topics like, are sports conferences worth attending (episode 22)? What are the best entry level sports jobs (episode 17)? How do I prepare for a sports interview (episode 14)?
We’re covering everything related to sports careers, so if you want to make your love of sports more than just a hobby or escape, this is the place to learn more!
Working in Digital Media, NBA Style with Shahbaz Khan, Minnesota Timberwolves
I know this may sound trite, but I learn something from every interview I conduct on this show. It’s true - when you keep yourself open to learning and open to your own need for improvement, you start to see the opportunity in everything.
I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but today’s guest Shahbaz Khan director of digital content for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, really woke me up during this interview with his ideas.
Now, full disclosure -- if someone asked me what my dream job would be right now, it would be leading a digital content group for a pro sports team -- so Shahbaz had me piqued from the get-go.
Check it out - Shahbaz has a great story to share, and vivid experiences!
Why You Should Consider Community Relations for your Sports Career
Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged learning for http://workinsports.com/ (WorkInSports.com) and this is the Work In Sports podcast…
Community relations is food for the soul of an organization.
Still one of my favorite quotes. It’s from an anonymous CEO, I’d give credit if I could.
And it’s a true statement. When most departments of an organization are focused on internally beneficial revenue creation, it is the community relations department that is focused on more outwardly impactful projects.
They are literally giving, with no intention to receive anything but joy and fulfillment.
But, even though the quote hits the mark on the spirit of community relations, it’s purpose and mission, it doesn’t take into account the actual scope of the job.
What we see from the outside are hundreds of events each year utilizing the reach and power of a team brand and its athletes to make a difference in the local community. Support for education, the military, cancer survivors, blood drives, coaching -- that what we see, and are moved by as human beings.
But when we talk about the job, when we talk about Community Relations as a career, yes it starts with caring about the people and the causes -- but it also requires elite skills. Event management, marketing, promotions, budgeting, staffing, leadership skills, and more are required to impact and change the local community.
It starts with heart, but it requires skill.
Today’s guest is a shining example of that mix, a combination of elite skill and unrivaled passion and enthusiasm for making a positive change the world.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kbkevin/ (Kevin Brown is the Director of Community Impact for the Detroit Red Wings ) -- it’s my pleasure to have him as our guest
Here we go -- let’s dive into the world of community relations with Kevin Brown…
How To Lose Your Shot at a Job Interview
Question of the week comes in from Brian in Pennsylvania. Yes for the second time in a row I am answering my own question.
“What are the big problems you are seeing first-hand as you review applicants to your job openings?”
Great question Brian. As you all should know I’m hiring for three roles, and I’m in the weeds of resumes, phone calls and interviews. It’s awesome. Seriously, I love being in this conversation. BUT, there is also a ton of tidbits I want to share with you all.
1: Spray and Pray (7:10)
2: Resume Length (10:03)
3: Mission Statements That Aren't Aligned (11:13)
4: Resume Doesn't Match Job Description (13:25)
5: Not Doing Your Research/Homework (16:54)
Scott O'Neil, CEO, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment
Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is the Work In Sports podcast.
Over the last year, I, like many others, have spent time contemplating my own preconceived notions and unconscious biases in every walk of my life.
We all have them, it is a part of the human condition, but where do they come from, and why are they allowed to stay?
This question has perplexed me as I’ve tried to open up my lens and question myself every time an instinctive thought comes into my psyche.
While the social justice issues of 2020 may have sparked my internal curiosity, it would be naïve to think bias only comes into issues of race, gender and culture. When you pay attention to it, and the way your mind processes information, unconscious bias and preconceived determinations are everywhere.
I did some digging, and studies indicate that many children by five years of age have entrenched stereotypes about various social groups. The world we are exposed to forms our foundational beliefs and hen becomes a tool to make snap judgements and conclusions on sight.
Kind of spooky right? It’s like our brain is hardwired by societal influence.
We watch Saturday morning cartoons and don’t see any black or asian children, OK, white people hold more important statuses, got it.
We don’t see women in positions of power, OK, men are more powerful, got it.
But it can even be simpler and more pervasive than race and gender, we see a hard charging, demanding CEO on TV and start to lump information together, OK, CEO’s are smart, but mean and cutthroat, got it.
We see sales people represented in pop culture as in your face buy, buy, buy, and we think, OK, that’s not me.
Our belief structures become formed, not out of some nefarious agenda, but because we as children are trying to make sense out of our world and the easiest way to do that is draw conclusions from what we see and hear.
As children we have no choice, we lack the cognitive ability to evaluate the validity of our assumptions.
As adults we do, if we pay attention to their existence.
I’ll use a personal example. A couple of weeks back I had on Dr. Bill Sutton, one of the absolute best people in our industry. After our interview was complete we chatted a bit, and he suggested today’s guest Scott O’Neil CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment as someone he could connect me with.
My instantaneous reaction was hell yes, but my subconscious notion was – he's the CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, he’s going to be tough, he’s not going to have time to really do this, I’m going to get canned answers that aren’t authentic, he’s not going to be all that interested to talk to me, and this may very well sound better than it is in practice.
This is what ran through my head immediately!
Within a day the session was booked. Dr. Sutton came through. Scott and his team were kind, gracious, courteous and attentive. He sent me over a copy of his new book, Be Where Your Feet Are: Seven Principles to Keep You Present, Grounded, and Thriving...and I was blown away.
I really like meditation, being intentional, paying attention to your mind and the energy you throw off to others around you – but to learn Scott, this Harvard educated, top of class, wildly successful guy was contemplating true happiness alongside me?
I was blown away and read his book from beginning to end.
And there it is, preconceived notions, drawing unfair conclusions about people or evens before you KNOW a damn thing.
It's all I've been able to think about since I concluded the interview with Scott.
I've read his book, it is insightful, so introspective, vulnerable, it is authentic, and I'm not just saying this, I'm not selling books for Scott.
His book impacted me. It is so interesting to really think about the pos
Trends in Athlete Marketing for 2021 and Beyond
July 8th 2010, for many this represents the dawning of the Player Empowerment Era.
If you don’t remember that date, and why should you unless you live in Cleveland, that is the date “Lebron: The Decision” aired on ESPN. Lebron James announcing his intent to take his talents to South Beach in an ESPN special that was probably 10 minutes but felt like 20 hours.
Forgetting how mind-numbingly awful that show was, it did put a stake in the ground for all athletes moving forward to say “we can take control of our careers and pull the levers of our own lives.”
It’s clear how monumental this event was, based primarily on the anger it caused in then NBA commissioner David Stern. Stern was a very smart man and savvy businessman, and according to may I’ve spoken to who knew him, he loved being in control of the league and its players.
Stern pushed ESPN to cancel The Decision, former ESPN executive John Skipper detailed after the fact that he believed "[Stern didn't like it] probably because the player was in charge here."
And there it is, the dawning of the player empowerment era.
Well, that is if that’s how you define player empowerment.
I think I’d take a different view.
If empowerment is the authority given to someone to do something, I think athletes have been empowered far before Lebron James walked the Earth.
Jesse Owens earning 4 gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games as Hitler watched outraged.
Billie Jean King
They all took back their power, leveraged their abilities into change moments. It wasn’t choosing what team to play for, it was choosing to change the world.
I’m not trying to be belligerent, clearly today’s athletes are using their voices and power toward good causes and are effecting change in the world. Nothing has interested me more in the last 10 years than the Player Tribune, the ultimate platform for athletes to show they are more than an athlete.
Athletes today have a louder megaphone and more tools in their toolbelt than ever before. And they are using them all.
One of those tools many athletes leverage are Athlete Marketer, people trained and dedicated to help build the profile and brand of today’s top athletes. One of my favorites, is Jennifer Keene, VP of Athlete and Property Marketing at Octagon, Jennifer Keene.
For long time listeners of this show, Jennifer has been here before and knocked it out of the park. I wanted to have her back on to discuss many of the emerging sports marketing trends in 2021...and she was kind enough to join me despite the fact she is moving from New York to LA! So when you see videos of the show, she wanted me to make it clear she is moving, not a hoarder with boxes everywhere.
Here she is, my friend Jennifer Keene ready to discuss sports marketing trends in 2021.
Is Networking Dead?
Last week I had a friend reach out who was applying for a cool job with a professional sports team. Since I really like and respect this person, and I know people at the professional sports team, I volunteered to reach out on their behalf to my friends at the team and put in a good word.
Now, I didn’t bring this up to show off my altruistic nature and overall good dudedness. I bring this up because something very interesting happened, something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about ever since.
My conversation with my friend in pro sports, led me to wonder… Is Networking Dead?
Here is the scene.
I reach out to my friend, a former guest on the show by the way, and I tell them the details – got a friend in the final round, they’re great, wonderful addition to your team, hard-worker, experienced, can you put in a good word with the hiring manager?
“Hey Brian, normally I would do this for you in a heartbeat, your friend seems like a wonderful candidate. But just two weeks ago there was a new company policy instituted whereby no employee can discuss or advocate for candidates to a hiring manager. The goal is to remove bias, and create a truly inclusive staff without favoritism, nepotism or cronyism. By keeping the process devoid of influence, we believe we will be stronger throughout our organization.”
Ok, process that for a second.
My initial thought was…good for you and your organization.
I’ve long been an advocate of D, E and I – but have always wondered how it will happen, how do we do it?
I talked with Vincent Pierson who at the time was the Director of D, E, I at MiLB, and asked, this is all wonderful in theory but what do we do? Like, how does this become a reality?
I’ve asked Kali Franklin, John Ferguson, Philicia Douglas, Dr. Bill Sutton and many others – what do we do?
This initiative right here, expressed by a professional sports team is the most concrete example I’ve heard to date of process change to adapt to a more inclusive workplace.
I’m here for it. But it begs the question – is Networking Dead?
One more thing before we get into what this means. I have always hated the “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” concept. It drives me insane and is such 1990’s era thinking.
Bear with me as I repat a story some of you have heard. I started at CNN/Sports Illustrated in 1996. There were probably about 30 of us entry level production assistant and associate producers hired at the same time. 4-5 of them, were there because they knew people. One had a dad who was a famous sports media columnist, other had influential parents or uncles.
They were hired because of who they knew.
Guess what, they all bombed out in under a year. They didn’t have the skills or the aptitude to do the job.
Organizations got smarter and realized – hiring unqualified people really hurts us more than some intangible idea of playing favorites to some influencer.
You can’t just know people and get by. You don’t get hired as a favor to your influential Mom or Dad.
Skills matter. Just listen to last week’s guest, Michelle Andres SVP of the Baltimore Ravens, she said “I need to see your skill set on your cover letter, not just that you are a fan.”
Now, let’s get back to the big topic – Is Networking Dead?
Gold Mine of Useful Information
Thank you for your weekly The Work In Sports podcast - both the statistics episode and the feature episode. I teach Broadcast-Video Production at Harrison High School and recommend your podcast to my students as well as our Sports Marketing teacher. The guests you have are gold mines of outstanding information that is useful to anyone in almost any industry.
Thank you for all you and please keep these coming.
This was one of the first podcasts I subscribed to years ago and remains my favorite. Brian is engaging, thoughtful in his pre work & questioning, personable in his intros and throughout ,—you can tell how much he cares to shed insight into the sports industry and never fails to provide resources, both hidden and readily available. Thankful for all I’ve learned from Brian and the Work in Sports Podcast, it has shaped my career journey & made me a better professional
Aspiring PR professional in Sports
This podcast is so helpful, especially as a recent graduate looking to begin a career in sports. I wish I listened to this when I first realized I wanted to begin a career in sports.