Expanding Access To Opportunities in Sports Through a Career in Media
How did you get into working in sports PR and media?
I had absolutely no intention of working in PR for most of my time at Hamilton. By chance, I worked at a new PR startup the summer before my senior year and was able to join them full time after graduation. Because the company was so small, I had the opportunity to be client and media-facing at the earliest stage in my career which helped me build confidence and experience. Since then I’ve worked on tech, finance, social impact, VC and sports clients both at agencies and in-house. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing clients, reporters and business leaders who have all played a role in shaping the path of my career. I am now working in the rapidly growing sports betting/fantasy sports industry. If you told me I’d be in the position I am in now when I first arrived on campus over a decade ago, I think I’d be pleasantly surprised. Frankly, at the time, I don't even think I knew my current role existed which speaks to just how many opportunities are out there that you may not envision when you're just starting out in college.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in PR and media relations?
For anyone just starting out in the business, it is important to develop and maintain strong relationships with the media and business partners. A common pitfall for PR folks is treating interactions as purely transactional or necessarily confrontational with the reporters we speak with every day without understanding the important role media has in a functioning society. Additionally, on a personal level, your relationships are more important than any job you may have at any given time, and in the long-run, maintaining these relationships will make you more effective at your job wherever your career takes you.
There is good PR and a lot of bad PR. The difference is the time one puts into understanding the media landscape and how it actively evolves. A way to do this is to be constantly consuming media in all its forms, platforms and viewpoints. At the end of the day, you are being paid to consult your clients or colleagues about where to find opportunities and where to avoid media vulnerabilities. Learn from the examples of other individuals and businesses that have succeeded or failed in public and see that as free lessons. Today, the opportunities are as diverse as ever, with new platforms like Substack, Clubhouse or TikTok becoming increasingly important to understanding how the way the public interacts with people and products is constantly evolving.
How did Hamilton prepare you for your career?
I majored in History and Government at Hamilton and both taught me to search for context in every situation. I was particularly influenced by my courses with Professor Trivedi where I was introduced to the concept of historiography. Understanding who is crafting the message is just as important as the message itself. My recently launched audio series “Behind The Sports Story” focuses on just that in the context of sports. The series features media, PR/marketing vets, media executives, and former players speaking about the behind the scenes world of how sports stories reach audiences and why that matters. I wrapped season 1 this winter and will be launching season 2 in May. The goal of these new projects is to speak with purpose and Hamilton prepared me to do just that.
Why did you decide to start building your own media business?
Sports are a really tough industry to break into — with opportunities often hinging on who you know. I am fortunate to be in the position I am in and I am committed to expanding that same access for others. It is difficult to aspire to be part of something you do not know is available to you because for so long it has not been available for those before you. Moving forward, I am focused on building content that shares the viewpoints and experiences of experts in the space while also showcasing potential career paths and opportunities for the next generation of people including specifically women and people of color who have been left out of the traditional sports inner circle. I am approaching this subject as someone who actively and separately has a career in sports and I want to help others who want to work in sports, do so too. “Behind The Sports Story” is the first project of many with this goal in mind. I am also launching a new daily series this summer combining the growing businesses of podcasting and newsletters. Stay tuned.