In 2002, my career transitioned into sport public relations. For 12 years, I have attended, and been involved in working many Super Bowl events. I started volunteering for the Super Bowl Host Committee as a volunteer ambassador to provide office administration, social media management, and NFL support through the full-fledged weekend of events. I enjoy attending Super Bowl each year. It’s a great way to explore and visit a new city. Throughout the years, I have learned so much about working in sports with my affiliation with the Super Bowl Host Committee. I am fond of the NFL organization, community and players are to the FANS in creating a great NFL experience throughout Super Bowl. Each year, my career has advanced, and I have embarked on becoming a top-tier publicist. The Super Bowl Public Relations preparations start approximately 6-8 months in advance. I am hired to handle varies of tasks from travel accommodations, celebrity escorting, schedule player’s appearances, arrange speaking engagements, and conduct media interviews. In addition, have the opportunity to work with many big names in the NFL from current to retired players. When I started this career, I never imagine this journey would bring me this far. Now, onto Super Bowl XLVIII in New York – 12 years and counting!
In working in public relations can be very demanding. The complexity of public relations is it is always changing drastically every day with new social media spectrums, trends, applications, and technology. You must have the ability to adapt very swiftly and quickly in learning, applying and navigating through the ever-changing of public relations. It’s important to stay abroad and continue advance education in public relations by attending quarterly and annual organizations, seminars, networking events, conferences and take additional courses. Lastly, seek a seasoned public relations professional as a mentor. The complexity of public relations can be overwhelming, but one who masters their craft will always remain above the competitive edge of the complexity.
Public Relations Society of America, http://www.prsa.org/
International Public Relations Association, http://www.ipra.org/
Council of Public Relations Firms, http://prfirms.org/
The Characteristic of Public Relations is the ability to build productive relationships with many people. It’s all about relationships. You must be able to be open and flexible in dealing with different personalities and the multiple stages of people needs. You have to be a people’s person, who enjoys learning about other people and what makes them tick. The Characteristic of Public Relations is not being judgmental on current news trends, but offering a sound bite of respective commentary that is reflective in providing facts in articulating compelling feedback, and providing resourceful advice.
The Characteristic of Public Relations can’t be learned. You must have a natural talent and ability in understanding the massive and high demand of today’s people public relations need without providing any bias personal judgment/opinion. You must always be truthful and transparent. You have to be able to provide measurable results that include brand development, and brand awareness and implement strategic messages that reach a massive target audience. Lastly, the Characteristic of Public relations is demonstrating true ethics and values in everything that you do for yourself and clients.
This week after the AFC/NFC Championship games, many have asked my thoughts on the Richard Sherman interview immediate after Seahawks defended the 49’ers. The main question asked, do I think Richard Sherman has lost his marketability.
Upon the recent events leading after the outburst of Richard Sherman during the NFC Championship game, his marketability has been salvaged. He has apologized on numerous news outlet such as ESPN and CNN. Due to the nature of the AFC/NFC Championship game and the intensity to win in hopes to go the Super Bowl and win a championship is a major goal and a huge accomplishment for all players. That is why they play the game – for the love of being part of NFL History, and to win a Super Bowl championship. Many players have endured personal and professional adversities and challenges during their quest, and to win the first step to reaching the goal of a Super Bowl championship is a major achievement that does not come easy. The relationship between Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree stems from months of massive tension and trash talking throughout the season, but also off the playing field. In this situation, Richard feels he has conquered his quest to prove his ability as being the best in the NFL by winning the NFC championship. To his defense, he felt he had to prove something, and he did just that. However, the caught off guard interview with Erin Edwards by far unexpected, to say the least, came from both ends. The NFL is a true man’s sports, the most physical and emotional game of all sports. In sports, trash talking is part of being competitive. So Richard’s outburst is not the first in NFL history, and it won’t be the last.
Richard has heightened his marketability not because he is a great player, because thereafter, the aftermath of the storm, he collected himself, gave justification and articulated his winning spirit. Lastly, again, he has apologized to Erin Andrews, his team/organization, and fans. Trust me, this situation has not hurt Richard Sherman. He is the talk of the week, checks are cut, and endorsements are rolling in. Now, let’s all move on.
IIt’s important to have a circle of business colleagues who support you along this crazy journey of success. I have a small circle of PR colleagues, mavens and associates whom I can depend on for advice, feedback and at times pull me away from always being in “work mode.” I am an extreme work alcoholic, always in PR mode 24/7, 365 days of the year. I will share; my personal life takes a back seat to my career. Right now, I am learning to have more balance between my personal and business affairs. When I started a career in Public Relations, I was so determined to make my mark in this business and become a top-tier publicist. In working in public relations, you make many sacrifices. For me, it was my personal life. I remembered one vacation, a childhood friend and I went to Miami. The entire trip, I was in a business mode. Later, she shared that I need to slow down and relax. She admired my hustle, my grind, but also felt that I no longer need to go hard anymore because I have achieved and accomplished so much. At first, I was baffled. I stated to her, the motto in this business, “Go HARD or Go HOME!” She shared her concern that I needed to have balance and to let my talents speak for itself. I no longer need to oversell my abilities – and I have a track record, which is continuously growing. I was taken back; however, I understood where she was coming from. Today, when I get together with friends for entertainment purposes, I have a PR friend who always pulls me aside when she sees that I am about to go into my “PR Mode FULL BLAST,” grabs me by the arm, looks me in the eye and says, “Right Now, You’re Not Working!” Each time she does that; it brings me to reality to fall back, relax and enjoy life.
Many ask why did I choose to work in Public Relations. Let me say this, I have a love, frustration relationship with my profession. I truly love and sincerely enjoy working in public relations because my passion is the advocacy, mission, and purpose to assist clients in building their brand. I love the tireless hustle, no sleep for weeks, the demanding grind, and ALL THE PERKS that come with working with A-List clients. However, there is a downside to all the masses. What frustrates me the most is the unprofessional and lack of business etiquette from others in this industry. At times, I just want to scream and pull out my hair when it comes to following up with folks. My pet peeve is someone always asking for something for nothing, never offer anything in exchange. I lead by example. I have succeeded in this business by demonstrating one main rule, “To extend the right hand to get, extend the left hand to give….at the same time.” That will take you a very long way!
The most important business lesson I have learned is to have thick skin. The sports industry is male dominated. You have to stand firm, know your worth and NEVER devalue your services. Most importantly, don’t take everything so personally.
A Shark Never Sleeps: Wheeling and Dealing with the NFL’s Most Ruthless Agent
In the beginning, the business challenge was securing clients in the NFL. In 2002, when I started my career in sports, I was unknown. After persevering, I became known as a top-tier sports publicist, working with several NFL players. During the 2011 NFL lockout, business down spiral. At that time, players were losing their NFL benefits and compensations. NFL Players were unable to retain a publicist on a business payroll. Over time, many of those NFL players were no longer playing in the league due to contract disputes, firing and/or changing agents; sustained permanent injuries, which lead to early retirement. All these mishaps were out of my control. Today’s business challenge is dealing with the new NFL players in the league. Today, the NFL players are much younger and have bigger egos. So again, it’s like starting from the beginning, trying to convince these new NFL players to understand the importance in hiring a publicist who can assist with building their brand and maintain their business affairs.
There is no particular process in working with athletes. However, it’s a very competitive industry. In the beginning of my career, I was unknown and had no alliances or affiliations within the sports industry. On my own, I had to seek out and create my own opportunities, gain experience by interning, volunteered and offered pro-bono work to showcase my skills, built up a creditable reputation and network. In working with NFL players, I learned people need a visual of the results in the services offered. You have to show and prove your talents and have a notable track record of success. Throughout, I have developed a career portfolio which outlines my education and public relations accolades. In working with NFL players, it is all about cultivating a respectful business relationship. In addition, build a mutual alliance on trust, loyalty, commitment, and dedication. The sports industry is filled with sharks, so I diligently set myself apart by offering authenticity in the services I provide.
From a young age, I always wanted to work within the entertainment industry managing artists and celebrities. While interning at a local Philadelphia radio and television station, many people suggest for me to pursue a career in sports management, because I had a niche for cultivating business relationships and demonstrative exceptional management skills. Later, I met a former Philadelphia Eagles player through a friend who also suggested the same. In essence, sports chose me.
In 2002, my sports career began when I traveled to New Orleans to attend Super Bowl XXXVI. There, I joined the NFL Super Bowl Host Committee and participated as a volunteer ambassador. During this time, I interviewed several players who were open to share their story on how they achieved a successful NFL career, but did not shy away from providing the challenging details of being an athlete. Thereafter, I continued to speak with NFL players and sports agents. Overtime, I researched, studied and interviewed several players. After some time, I developed an interest and became intrigued to learn more about the sports business. Many NFL players discussed exploring business opportunities outside of their athletic career; however, they lacked education, advisement and business skills. They wanted to learn the importance of growth in personal and business management, which the two elements are essential in becoming and maintaining success on and off the playing field. Unfortunately, too many athletes have fallen due to lack of guidance, and management. I continued to access their stories, and realized the NFL is the #1 sport sector with players who are the least guided and have the most behavioral issues. This is when I began to birth a passion and developed a niche in sports public relations and management. I wanted to provide these players advocacy, mission and purpose in finding solutions.
As a sports publicist, I assist athletes in understanding the importance in brand development, business etiquette, community leadership and behavioral prevention. My business model is to seek them professional training, personal and business assistance, and instill the importance in completing their college education. In addition, develop an educational platform to explore and maximize their opportunities, and build a business portfolio allied with personal and business resources. Lastly, expand their brand and build upon their corporate and community alliances. Thereafter, football, they would have a business entity.