Why did you choose a career path within sports?
As a goalkeeper during my childhood, I learned values on the pitch, such as accountability, dedication, perseverance, leadership, and the power of team chemistry, which helped me in the classroom, professional setting, and personal life. When I discovered there was a career path within sports, it was a no-brainer that I wanted to be a part of creating the magic that inspires and unites so many in a way that few other things in life can. Sports can transcend cultural boundaries and bring out the best in us, so there’s no doubt I’m excited to make it my career.
Favorite event, project, or client you’ve worked on in your career?
Working with UT Athletics. Attending all of the football games and interacting with players like Bijan Robinson has been a blast. However, creating the SITX Member Showcase has been a personal favorite. I’m excited to highlight the incredible sports community within Texas. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that launching my own podcast, The Smart Alec Show has been incredibly rewarding. Sharing the conversations and stories of guests on the show has been a highlight of my life.
Which tech or digital innovation do you think will have the greatest impact on sports over the next few years?
I’m excited to see the real-world impact of consumer sports tech devices like the Oura Ring, WHOOP band, Levels’ Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), and other devices. These give professional and everyday athletes massive actionable data on how to work out, sleep, recover and eat better making us a healthier and better-performing society. Insights into other health-optimizing tools like sauna therapy, infrared therapy, and cold exposure are also encouraging for recovery and other health benefits.
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
“Pursue your passion and double down on your strengths.” It’s as simple as that. If you’re lucky enough to have an intrinsic motivation to work in a specific capacity or pursue a goal, then follow that passion. While it may be more taxing on the front end, you’ll reap more rewards in the long term via your efforts in pursuing your true calling. You’ll be better at it than others because you engage in it more. After all, it’s something you love, and there’s a greater purpose driving you.
Worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t share your personal story with anyone. The failures and trauma are baggage and seen as a detriment or weakness in the workplace.” The opposite can be true. Finding a way to tell your story authentically by sharing your failures and your shortcomings can also showcase your perseverance, character, and strength. Finding the people willing to hear those stories are the people you want to work with, people that can believe in you and recognize the value you bring to the table. Telling your story authentically can also inspire and help others with similar backgrounds who are facing their own challenges.
What is your favorite sporting moment of all time?
My hometown Dallas Mavericks defeating the Miami Heat 4-2 in the 2011 NBA Finals. Dirk Nowitzki defied the odds that playoff stretch in defeating Aldridge & Roy’s Blazers, sweeping Kobe’s b2b champ Lakers, a young KD-Russ-Harden OKC team, and the then stacked Big-Three Miami team. As a troublesome kid in middle school, this was the start of my falling in love with sports.
Who is your biggest inspiration within the sports industry?
It’s hard to pick one amongst many that I look up to from different industry spaces. Of people I know, Rebecca Feferman has always been a great inspiration due to her genuine desire to help others and be a great person in addition to leading a successful career. Katherine Rowe has also inspired me greatly because of her work ethic and discipline in carrying out her projects within sports analytics. More importantly, Katherine’s dedication to helping people (like myself) better their lives and achieve their dreams. It’s easy to achieve individual success but to help others achieve their own success is the mark of a true leader and great person. Of people I don’t personally know in the industry, Pat McAfee is an inspiration because of his authenticity. His story is an incredible example of how betting on yourself and keeping it real can pay off big.
If you could travel to any point in time (past or future), where and when would you want to go, and why?
I’m curious to go back to the primitive days of humankind when we were hunter-gatherers. Before zoom-meetings, processed foods, cell phones, 24/7 news cycles, and social media. I’d be curious to see what lifestyle we lived, the food we ate, how we interacted, how we found meaning, what we did for leisure and relaxation, and more. I’d love to bring these insights back with me to the present to better lead where we go in the future regarding our diet, lifestyles, systems, careers, biggest questions, and more.
Who was the biggest help to get your career started in the sports industry?
Amy Bennett was the fantastic recruiter who first helped me land an internship with ESPN, then the following summer again with another Walt Disney company Hulu. These two experiences really got me started in the sports and entertainment industry. From there, Katherine Rowe has been an immense source of inspiration, guidance, and support in my subsequent roles. Thomas Alomes has also been an incredible help in helping me acclimate to the growing industry.
Favorite Vacation Destination?
Anywhere in the Riviera Maya in Mexico, from Playa Del Carmen to Xcaret or Tulum, the beaches and nature are beautiful, the food and service are great, and the vibes are immaculate. A close second is Rosario Alto, Puerto Rico, in my great-grandmother’s old neighborhood up in the mountains, with the relaxing seclusion from society and beautiful mountain sun-rises.
Favorite Local Restaurant, Bar, or Hang-out?
Austin: Native Hostel, the combo of work ambiance, social environment, food/drink offerings, fitness scene, and more, all in one place, make it a great hang-out. I started going recently for the FIFA World Cup watch parties, then discovered they have a turf soccer field for small-sided games (hosted by connected fitness/ soccer company Sphere). Not to mention, they host an authentic Mexican food truck, La Santa Barbacha, with delicious barbacoa, chilaquiles, tacos, and more, run by an awesome trio of siblings from Veracruz, MX. So whether you want to knock out some work in their café early in the day, grab a drink with friends, or play some fútbol, it’s a great vibe.
Go-to sports industry resource?
The Front Office Sports and Sportico newsletters have been consistent reads for some time now. Following FOS on social media also means consistently keeping up with sports business news. Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s 35 Ventures and The Boardroom also provide sports business info with a great cultural touch.