In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
I’m a Prince George’s County, MD native and HBCU product with a passion for helping athletes develop their identities beyond the game.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I’m buying, bookmarking, claiming, etc. athletes shifting the narrative and not relying on the media to do that. With platforms like UNINTERRUPTED, Players’ Tribune and Front Office Sports, you’re seeing more and more athletes telling their side of the story and who they are outside of the sport they play. Athletes are doing amazing things off the field/court, and it’s time they show that.
How do you define engagement?
How I define engagement is a two-way communication between brands and consumers or athletes and fans. How we view engagement has changed over the past few years, brands are now encouraging consumers to share their experiences to create buzz and word-of-mouth. The same goes for engagement amongst athletes and fans. Through social media platforms and first-person stories, athletes now have a chance to connect directly with fans where in the past this wasn’t possible unless it was in-person.
What’s a lesson in audience (fan) engagement that every marketer should learn?
Fans have an appreciation for authenticity! It’s nothing worse than seeing an athlete connected with a brand or product that doesn’t really fit who they are, what they stand for or what they’re passionate about. What makes matters worse is then seeing “#ad” tied to different tweets and/or captions – it’s cringe worthy to see at times.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
I’m super excited about our #AthleteAnd initiative and how our player members have responded to sharing their careers, passions and/or interests off the field with the world! Not only are we letting athletes tell their side of the story, but we’re also utilizing this initiative to highlight the resources we offer to players to help them define and/or build out what their “And” is.
We just wrapped up the second annual #AthleteAnd Workshop where 40+ athletes got a chance to hear from industry leaders, gain insight into how they can grow professionally, and learned how they could leverage the opportunities their playing careers provide. Through this event, we also connected current players with past NFL players like Spencer Paysinger and Justin Forsett, who have gone on to do great things.
I think you can tell how passionate I am about this initiative and how it benefits the forward-thinking athlete who aspires to be successful once his/her playing days are over. Athletes are investing in themselves, and #AthleteAnd shines a light on those who are doing just that!
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
The best way to describe “right now” is that the offseason is my “on season.” I’ve dubbed these next few months “Own the Offseason” Whether it’s taking on an internship, participating in a job shadow opportunity, networking with executives or going back to school, the offseason is the perfect time for players to invest in themselves. So, I’m investing my time to encourage athletes to do just that.
Future plans entail gearing up for the next class of incoming rookies and stressing to them that in a profession with high-performance demand, their development off the field should also remain a top priority.
What are you reading, listening to, and/or watching right now?
I’m a big “devotional” guy and I go back and watch a lot of sermons throughout the week to keep me grounded and remind myself daily what my ultimate purpose is. That being said, I listen and watch a lot of Steven Furtick sermons. One that I recently listened to that resonated with me was on “When the Battle Chooses You” – and to sum it up it basically shares that anything that reaches you is filtered through God’s hands first. So, if He allowed it, it’s because He can use it for good.
As a connected fan, who’s your favorite athlete to follow on social media?
My favorite athlete to follow on social media currently is Derrius Guice, as he does an amazing job of connecting with fans. He uses his Twitter to invite fans to meet him “out on the town” for activities like ping-pong or bowling. He also does a good job of offering his opinion with the average fan on different sporting events. When you tweet him there’s a good chance that he sees it and writes back.
He has also used his social media platforms in the past to keep people up-to-date on his recovery from previous injuries. His transparency leads to fan seeing him as authentic, which they have an appreciation for.
What’s a piece of advice you received that you’re glad you ignored?
“You should get a sports management degree if you want to work in sports.” False, period.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
Unpaid internships. In my opinion, you should be paid for the work you do. I hope this becomes a thing of the past.