Why did you choose a career path within sports?
I’ve been a massive sports fan, consumer and athlete my whole life, and pivoted my career to work in the business itself out of passion, after spending a number of years working in entertainment first.
Favorite event, project or client you’ve worked on in your career?
It’s a tie between starting the Blue Out at University of Michigan my senior year, and starting SXsports at SXSW, both of which were born out of pure passion and resulted in lasting legacies at major institutions.
Which tech or digital innovation do you think will have the greatest impact in sports over the next few years?
I really like the model Luke Bonner has going with PWRFWD, utilizing Web3 stuff to not just connect and engage community around the WNBA, but literally invest in the sport and its players by doing so. I think there’s a mountain of opportunity for similar models to impact the potential of every sport-related business, by enabling the human connections that are the most important X factor to its success.
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Your job is to make it easier for the person you work for to do their job. Applies at every level!
Worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
If you expect to make it on your own, you must have a formal business plan and aim to scale.
What is your favorite sporting moment of all time?
It’s a personal one – Michigan vs. Notre Dame in September 1999. It was the season opener, and I was a freshman attending my first game at The Big House. Behind 22-19 with under two minutes to go, Tom Brady handed the ball off to Anthony “A-Train” Thomas who ran it in for a TD, and Michigan won in epic fashion 26-22. An unforgettable experience that cemented my identity as a Michigan Wolverine and all the joy (and sorrow) that comes along with it for the rest of my life.
Who is your biggest inspiration within the sports industry?
Melissa Brenner, EVP at the NBA. She’s always at least one step ahead of the game, universally respected, and somehow still makes time to connect on a personal level with folks she collaborates with. She’s an absolute boss, and I feel privileged to aspire to her level someday.
If you could travel to any point in time (past or future), where and when would you want to go, and why?
Somehow this is the toughest question to answer! The practical side of me wants to pick a time after indoor plumbing and electricity were invented, but I’d love so much to go back and witness this country’s landscapes undeveloped by man, in all its natural and undisturbed beauty.
Who was the biggest help to get your career started in the sports industry?
Bill Simmons. When he agreed to participate as the first marquee speaker of SXsports when we launched, it legitimized the whole event in the eyes of the sports world, which helped open many doors and make easier inroads with the rest of the industry.
Favorite Vacation Destination?
My sister-in-law’s family cabin on Lake Martin in Alabama. Little slice of heaven.
Favorite Local Restaurant, Bar or Hang-out?
Austin: Central Machine Works is a real favorite. It’s a great space that’s as equally laid back as it is fun, easy to bring my dog along, and there’s always amazing people watching.
Go-to sports industry resource?
A combo platter of the ESPN Daily podcast and Axios Sports Newsletter. They both offer pertinent info with thoughtful context, and Pablo Torre and Kendall Baker are each very likable and trustworthy voices at the helms.
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