NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile: Black Sheep Consulting

The NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile is a brief vignette that provides a closer look at companies founded by individuals who have been involved in the sports industry at some point in their career.  These business owners will share their journey as an entrepreneur as well as insight for those of you interested in starting your own venture.

NetWorks Small Business Profile on Black Sheep Consulting and its Founder, Jay Mayes

Jay Mayes, President of Black Sheep Consulting

Name: Jay Mayes

Title: President

Company Name: Black Sheep Consulting

Company Website: www.thebettersheep.com

Blog/Twitter/Facebook: http://www.twitter.com/JaysBetter

 

 

When did you start your company and what was your inspiration for starting it?
I started Black Sheep Consulting in late 2010 after what I like to explain as my “Jerry Maguire Monument”. After over 7 years working on the business side of professional sports and moving across the country 3 times to work my way from a part-time intern with an NFL team to a Corporate Executive with a NBA franchise I suddenly, became underwhelmed with the direction of the professional sports industry and specifically with my role in professional sports. Over my years working in the sports industry, I had become pretty good at creating programs that helped my clients sell their “stuff” to fans and consumers. Many of the programs I created focused on ways to generate more revenue for my clients.

I woke up one day and decided, “I wanted to invest my time and skills in people”. Instead of creating those programs to just generate revenue I wanted to create programs that would help to generate change.

So I went in search of a role that allowed me to use my skill sets and experience in Sports and Entertainment, but also would allow my to help others. I would probably still be looking for that job if it wasn’t for a friend who suggested that I write out the description of my perfect job that might help me narrow my search, so, I did. I sat down one day and wrote exactly what I wanted in a role… Sports Marketing + Cause Marketing.

But instead of continuing my search, I decided to start a firm that did just that.

What’s your Elevator Pitch?
As more organizations begin to focus on Cause Marketing, it is our mission to create programs and partnerships that bring together what we call the “Big Three” causes/non-profits, companies and athletes into integrated programs that achieve real results and the create real change in the lives of the people they touch.

What’s the company’s Mission Statement?
We Aim to be industry innovators; we will continually work to challenge the “status quo” by building partnerships based on innovation, trust, and common goals. We will create uniquely customized programs, ideas, and partnerships that work to do GOOD and yield measurable and meaningful results for our clients.

What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
Here are my 7 favorite aspects of running Black Sheep Consulting:

1) Creating my own work schedule…. there’s nothing like it!
2) Doing conference calls in my PJ’s
3) Being able to do what I love all the time!
4) Working with GREAT people (I love my team) #teamblksheep
5) Watching the morning edition of Sports Center twice as I do my morning calls and emails
6) Not having to wear a suit everyday
7) Knowing that what I am doing is going to make a difference in someone’s life!!

Tell us about your career before you became your own boss.
My career before becoming my own boss was great, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people across various levels of sports. I have been able to work with and learn from some of the best in the industry. I have also had the opportunity to travel the county, learn, and sell for an eclectic group of sports properties, and sports agencies. I have learned the importance of teamwork, communication, honesty, dedication, and passion in your life’s work. And I have also learned that if you love what you do, it never feels like work!

Were you previously involved in the sports industry?  If so, what capacity?
My career has given me experience both on the agency side and team side of professional sports, which has provided a great foundation and vision for Black Sheep Consulting. My experience includes NFL, NBA, WNBA, NLL, MLL, WPGA, Motorsports and Professional Horse Racing. While Mayes’s agency work includes a stint with A. Bright Idea Sports Marketing, and consulting relationships with Clutch Media, Hands On Sports & Entertainment, Networks Sports and TOAW Modern Marketing. I have learned many lessons of the course of my career that I believe have prepared me for this next career challenge.

What was your goal when starting the company?  Has that changed?  What is your long-term vision for your company?
From the outset, I wanted to start a company that I was proud of. I wanted to be able to wake up and do something that I loved every day. My goal was to use my gifts and talents to do good in the community, build meaningful Cause Marketing partnerships and programs that linked companies, causes, and athletics in a way that accomplishes specific goals and objectives for each. Our long term goals included becoming leaders in the cause marketing industry. To create innovative cause marketing + sports marketing programs and partnerships that work to help make real change in the lives of others.

What is it like running your own company?  Give us a “day in the life.”
It’s the most fun I have ever had, but it’s also the biggest challenge that I have had professionally. Every day is different, but I have learned over the last 10 months that building a structured day and week is critical in staying on task and making sure that projects are completed on time. My day typically begins early with emails, research and catching up on the “biz”, this includes reading articles on causes, athletes, and trends within the sports marketing + cause marketing industry. Many of my weeks are set around pushing particular projects forward, Sunday nights are my time to lay out my weekly plan around each project. From there I prioritize need actions and place them in the appropriate order. After my morning emails and research, I dive into each day’s plan, which might include, meetings, phone calls, program generation, presentations, and business development for the company. My late afternoon is reserved as “ME” time, this is my time to relax, workout, reconnect with friends or run some personal errands. I think it’s important to do something for yourself every day. I think sometimes we get some caught up in taking care of everything and everybody else that we forget to do what makes us happy. After dinner, I typically do a few more hours of proposal work or research on the couch or outside on the deck (weather permitting) before bed.

What are the greatest challenges of owning your own business?
One of the biggest challenges in owning your own business is realizing that you may not be able to do it all. I have learned that we all are good at something, but no one is good at everything. So I decided that I was going to stick to doing what I do best and surround myself with great talent in those other areas and that is what I have done. This has truly allowed me to work to move projects forward while letting my team do what they do best.

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve had in being an entrepreneur/business owner?
How a small team of dedicated people can pull off a great program and change peoples lives!

What are the greatest rewards of entrepreneurship & business ownership?
Doing great work with great people!

Is there a mentor (or mentors) who has helped you along the way?
I have many mentors.

Please share any advice for readers who are considering starting their own business.
My advice for anyone who is considering starting their own business is DO IT!

Create a great plan and stick with it!

Surround yourself with great people!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Learn from the mistakes of others.

Favorite Book: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball – By Kevin Carroll

Favorite Movie: Love Actually

Hobbies: Lacrosse, Fishing, People Watching

What’s playing on your iPod: Drake, Little Wayne, Kanya, Kid Cudi, Wiz

Android or iPhone: Android

Mac or PC: Mac

Favorite TV Show: Always Sunny

Favorite Restaurant: I prefer to grill at home!

Favorite Quote: “While everyone is trying to make a dollar, we are trying to make a difference”

 

For more information on Jay Mayes & Black Sheep Consulting, log on to www.thebettersheep.com

To find out about other small businesses, sign up for the NetWorks Sports “Changing the Game” Newsletter today!!

Follow NetWorks Sports Consulting on Twitter at @NetWorks_Sports


NetWorks Sports Spotlight Interview with Jason Mayden (Director of Innovation @Nike Digital Sport

NetWorks Spotlight Interview with….Jason Mayden, Director of Innovation – Nike Digital Sport
By Tracey Savell Reavis

 

Jason Mayden Director of Innovation, Nike Digital Sports

Jason Mayden could talk about carbon fiber arch plates and laser etched tongue details all day. His goal, from the young age of 12, was to design sneakers, specifically Air Jordans. He chased his Nike dream with a laser-like focus, and landed a summer internship at Brand Jordan, while in his third year of design school.

But it was six years later, when the impossible dream, at least for a kid growing up on the Southside of Chicago, came true: He was named the lead designer on the new Jordan shoe. Drawing inspiration from the sport of fencing, from the propulsion of a Paralympic athlete, and from the legendary ball player himself, Jason created the Air Jordan 2009 with a design described as both conforming to the brand’s storied history, and demonstrating a fresh and forward-thinking approach. Since then, he’s spearheaded the design of signature shoes for Derek Jeter and Chris Paul.

More than just a former athlete – he turned down football scholarships to pursue a career as a designer – and more than just a creator – he considers himself an illustrator and graphic artist – Jason is also an innovator who can see the big picture for business. He just completed his Masters of Science at Stanford Graduate School of Business as a Sloan Fellow, where students are chosen based on their past accomplishments and their potential as future senior leaders. When Jason starts his new position on August 15th, one that was created specifically for him, there’s no doubt this is yet another chance for him to make an impression and to leave his unique footprint on the world of sport innovation.

So first question, what exactly will you be doing as the Director of Innovation at Nike Digital Sports?
[Laughing] Well, at Nike our core strength is the ability to innovate. This position is a way to implement technology into the sports world and to give the consumer a brand new experience. It’s a really fun, creative role, part design, part product development, and part business development.

And how did you find yourself on the receiving end of a newly created position?
I knew digital sports was a hot topic. And it was being in the environment at Stanford. It was a collaborative process, based on my interest and the company’s needs. I would say the process took the whole year. I basically went to class, and then this is what I would do 2 or 3 hours at night. This was my pet project. Then [this past] January I put together a presentation, and it morphed into the role that I now have.

It’s really about where the company is going, and where your core competencies and talents can fit in with that strategic vision.

You seem pretty proactive when it comes to your career. Would you say that has been a key to your success?
Yeah, ten thousand percent. But not even proactive, I would say I was curious. I pursued Nike because I learned at an early age that no one is going to come to your doorstep and give you a magic ticket. So I took the initiative. I remember someone telling me, Somebody has to design shoes. Why can’t it be you? And that stuck in my mind. Why can’t it be me? Why can’t I be that kid?

I asked for help early. I exposed myself to different conversations, different concepts. I had books that gave me a different perspective. I escaped through books. Reading Lord of the Flies, and Peter Pan gave me a chance to dream of a world outside of Chicago. That helped build my vision and that helped give me the confidence to take that first step.

What is it about sneakers that has captured your attention? What made you want to design shoes?
I’ve always loved shoes. When I was a kid, I had shoes that were literally un-wearable. I used to put duct tape on my shoes. So every time I design a shoe, regardless of how much it’s being sold for, I try to really pour my heart and soul  into it and give the kid more than just a piece of leather, but a story and value. Because I know there’s a kid out there, who was just like me who saved up their money, and this is their first pair of shoes, that really will make them feel confident and good about themselves, and I want them to take my shoes out of the box and put them on their feet and feel like they can do anything.

You consider yourself a designer, and yet you were interested in attending Stanford and pursuing an MBA?
I’m the type of person to turn my weakness into a strength. I applied, took my GMATs, and interviewed. But I don’t have an economics or finance background, and never worked as an analyst. And a lot of people said you’ll never get into business school being an artist. But I said, you know, creativity has purpose and a place in corporate America. I played it up as my strength. I said, “this is why I should be here”, because I’m completely different.  I knew this would be a chance for me to understand the conversations that were going on in [meeting] rooms and for me to contribute in my own unique way.

Michael Jordan at Press Event for 2009 Air Jordan Release

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I got was from my former big boss Michael Jordan. And he told me early on, when I was an intern, always under promise and over deliver.  And I live by that. I never over promise. I never try to sell someone on more than what I can do. I think being understated, being humble and being honest about your capabilities upfront then people start to build a trust and respect for your work and your work ethic. I live by that advice and I pass it on.

What advice would you give to people starting out about reaching their goals and achieving a seemingly impossible dream?
First thing, don’t tell yourself that it’s impossible. [Laughing] Tell yourself that it is going to take a lot of hard work and that it will be difficult. But with faith and the right team around you, nothing is impossible.

Dreaming is a free ticket to your final destination of where you want to be. I’m constantly daydreaming, about where I want to go in my life. I encourage myself; I’m constantly pouring positivity into my life.

And do everything you can to arm yourself with knowledge.  If you remove the notion of impossibility, be prayerful, and surround yourself with a positive group of people, the sky’s the limit.

What kind of career advice would you offer to anyone wanting to get into the sports industry, especially about the amount of work?
People look at hard work as if it is degrading or that it will take too long. I look at it from the framework of there’s heart work, h-e-a-r-t, where you have a passion and you’re going to do it anyway, and hard work, h-a-r-d, manual labor, where you’re doing it because you have to, because you need to take care of your family. I grew up watching my parents do hard work. They did what they needed to do to give us opportunities.  Now I’m in a position to do heart work, something that I love, a passion. And when it’s something you love, it shouldn’t matter how long it takes. You should be doing it because it makes you feel complete.

What does giving back mean to you and how do you support young people?
Giving back to me means giving time. I try to make myself available to as many people as possible. You can give money and resources, and that’s all necessary. But for me, in the type of world that I’m in, I try to spend time talking with people. And it means the world, because I had key people talk to me, and I never forgot it. Because everybody has gifts, whether developed or not. Sometime it takes just one person to let you know that they see it in you. So I try to be that one person for a lot of people.

If you weren’t designing shoes, what do you think you would be doing?
My other dream job besides designing the Jordan while working at Nike was to be in the movie industry, in special effects. And if that didn’t work out, probably an art professor, or coach. I just really love any way to interact with the young generation. At some point in my career, I want to go back and teach.

Get to Know Jason
Favorite Artists: Czech illustrator Alphonse Mucha and American concept artist Syd Mead

Favorite Clothing Designers: Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs

Favorite Shoe Designers: Manolo Blahnik, Tinker Hatfield

On his nightstand: Warrior of the Light, by Paulo Coelho

Most influential book: Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

 

In his music library: Anything from Bjork, Joe Henderson, Miles Davis

Follow Jason on Twitter @JayMay_ChiCity and find out more about what he’s doing on his website www.megamayden.com

Follow NetWorks Sports Consulting on Twitter @NetWorks_Sports and sign up to receive the “Changing the Game” Newsletter today!

 

Let us know what you think of this NetWorks Sports Spotlight Interview with Jason Mayden in the Comment section below!

 


NetWorks Sports Spotlight Interview with Jason Mayden (Director of Innovation @Nike Digital Sport

NetWorks Spotlight Interview with….Jason Mayden, Director of Innovation – Nike Digital Sport
By Tracey Savell Reavis

Jason Mayden Director of Innovation, Nike Digital Sports

Jason Mayden could talk about carbon fiber arch plates and laser etched tongue details all day. His goal, from the young age of 12, was to design sneakers, specifically Air Jordans. He chased his Nike dream with a laser-like focus, and landed a summer internship at Brand Jordan, while in his third year of design school.

But it was six years later, when the impossible dream, at least for a kid growing up on the Southside of Chicago, came true: He was named the lead designer on the new Jordan shoe. Drawing inspiration from the sport of fencing, from the propulsion of a Paralympic athlete, and from the legendary ball player himself, Jason created the Air Jordan 2009 with a design described as both conforming to the brand’s storied history, and demonstrating a fresh and forward-thinking approach. Since then, he’s spearheaded the design of signature shoes for Derek Jeter and Chris Paul.

More than just a former athlete – he turned down football scholarships to pursue a career as a designer – and more than just a creator – he considers himself an illustrator and graphic artist – Jason is also an innovator who can see the big picture for business. He just completed his Masters of Science at Stanford Graduate School of Business as a Sloan Fellow, where students are chosen based on their past accomplishments and their potential as future senior leaders. When Jason starts his new position on August 15th, one that was created specifically for him, there’s no doubt this is yet another chance for him to make an impression and to leave his unique footprint on the world of sport innovation.

So first question, what exactly will you be doing as the Director of Innovation at Nike Digital Sports?
[Laughing] Well, at Nike our core strength is the ability to innovate. This position is a way to implement technology into the sports world and to give the consumer a brand new experience. It’s a really fun, creative role, part design, part product development, and part business development.

And how did you find yourself on the receiving end of a newly created position?
I knew digital sports was a hot topic. And it was being in the environment at Stanford. It was a collaborative process, based on my interest and the company’s needs. I would say the process took the whole year. I basically went to class, and then this is what I would do 2 or 3 hours at night. This was my pet project. Then [this past] January I put together a presentation, and it morphed into the role that I now have.

It’s really about where the company is going, and where your core competencies and talents can fit in with that strategic vision.

You seem pretty proactive when it comes to your career. Would you say that has been a key to your success?
Yeah, ten thousand percent. But not even proactive, I would say I was curious. I pursued Nike because I learned at an early age that no one is going to come to your doorstep and give you a magic ticket. So I took the initiative. I remember someone telling me, Somebody has to design shoes. Why can’t it be you? And that stuck in my mind. Why can’t it be me? Why can’t I be that kid?

I asked for help early. I exposed myself to different conversations, different concepts. I had books that gave me a different perspective. I escaped through books. Reading Lord of the Flies, and Peter Pan gave me a chance to dream of a world outside of Chicago. That helped build my vision and that helped give me the confidence to take that first step.

What is it about sneakers that has captured your attention? What made you want to design shoes?
I’ve always loved shoes. When I was a kid, I had shoes that were literally un-wearable. I used to put duct tape on my shoes. So every time I design a shoe, regardless of how much it’s being sold for, I try to really pour my heart and soul  into it and give the kid more than just a piece of leather, but a story and value. Because I know there’s a kid out there, who was just like me who saved up their money, and this is their first pair of shoes, that really will make them feel confident and good about themselves, and I want them to take my shoes out of the box and put them on their feet and feel like they can do anything.

You consider yourself a designer, and yet you were interested in attending Stanford and pursuing an MBA?
I’m the type of person to turn my weakness into a strength. I applied, took my GMATs, and interviewed. But I don’t have an economics or finance background, and never worked as an analyst. And a lot of people said you’ll never get into business school being an artist. But I said, you know, creativity has purpose and a place in corporate America. I played it up as my strength. I said, “this is why I should be here”, because I’m completely different.  I knew this would be a chance for me to understand the conversations that were going on in [meeting] rooms and for me to contribute in my own unique way.

Michael Jordan at Press Event for 2009 Air Jordan Release

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I got was from my former big boss Michael Jordan. And he told me early on, when I was an intern, always under promise and over deliver.  And I live by that. I never over promise. I never try to sell someone on more than what I can do. I think being understated, being humble and being honest about your capabilities upfront then people start to build a trust and respect for your work and your work ethic. I live by that advice and I pass it on.

What advice would you give to people starting out about reaching their goals and achieving a seemingly impossible dream?
First thing, don’t tell yourself that it’s impossible. [Laughing] Tell yourself that it is going to take a lot of hard work and that it will be difficult. But with faith and the right team around you, nothing is impossible.

Dreaming is a free ticket to your final destination of where you want to be. I’m constantly daydreaming, about where I want to go in my life. I encourage myself; I’m constantly pouring positivity into my life.

And do everything you can to arm yourself with knowledge.  If you remove the notion of impossibility, be prayerful, and surround yourself with a positive group of people, the sky’s the limit.

What kind of career advice would you offer to anyone wanting to get into the sports industry, especially about the amount of work?
People look at hard work as if it is degrading or that it will take too long. I look at it from the framework of there’s heart work, h-e-a-r-t, where you have a passion and you’re going to do it anyway, and hard work, h-a-r-d, manual labor, where you’re doing it because you have to, because you need to take care of your family. I grew up watching my parents do hard work. They did what they needed to do to give us opportunities.  Now I’m in a position to do heart work, something that I love, a passion. And when it’s something you love, it shouldn’t matter how long it takes. You should be doing it because it makes you feel complete.

What does giving back mean to you and how do you support young people?
Giving back to me means giving time. I try to make myself available to as many people as possible. You can give money and resources, and that’s all necessary. But for me, in the type of world that I’m in, I try to spend time talking with people. And it means the world, because I had key people talk to me, and I never forgot it. Because everybody has gifts, whether developed or not. Sometime it takes just one person to let you know that they see it in you. So I try to be that one person for a lot of people.

If you weren’t designing shoes, what do you think you would be doing?
My other dream job besides designing the Jordan while working at Nike was to be in the movie industry, in special effects. And if that didn’t work out, probably an art professor, or coach. I just really love any way to interact with the young generation. At some point in my career, I want to go back and teach.

Get to Know Jason
Favorite Artists: Czech illustrator Alphonse Mucha and American concept artist Syd Mead

Favorite Clothing Designers: Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs

Favorite Shoe Designers: Manolo Blahnik, Tinker Hatfield

On his nightstand: Warrior of the Light, by Paulo Coelho

Most influential book: Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

In his music library: Anything from Bjork, Joe Henderson, Miles Davis

Follow Jason on Twitter @JayMay_ChiCity and find out more about what he’s doing on his website www.megamayden.com

Follow NetWorks Sports Consulting on Twitter @NetWorks_Sports and sign up to receive the “Changing the Game” Newsletter today!

 

Let us know what you think of this NetWorks Sports Spotlight Interview with Jason Mayden in the Comment section below!

 


NetWorks Small Business Profile – Black Sheep Consulting (@JaysBetter)

The NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile is a brief vignette that provides a closer look at companies founded by individuals who have been involved in the sports industry at some point in their career.  These business owners will share their journey as an entrepreneur as well as insight for those of you interested in starting your own venture.

NetWorks Small Business Profile on Black Sheep Consulting and its Founder, Jay Mayes

Jay Mayes, President of Black Sheep Consulting

Name: Jay Mayes

Title: President

Company Name: Black Sheep Consulting

Company Website: www.thebettersheep.com

Blog/Twitter/Facebook: http://www.twitter.com/JaysBetter

 

 

When did you start your company and what was your inspiration for starting it?
I started Black Sheep Consulting in late 2010 after what I like to explain as my “Jerry Maguire Monument”. After over 7 years working on the business side of professional sports and moving across the country 3 times to work my way from a part-time intern with an NFL team to a Corporate Executive with a NBA franchise I suddenly, became underwhelmed with the direction of the professional sports industry and specifically with my role in professional sports. Over my years working in the sports industry, I had become pretty good at creating programs that helped my clients sell their “stuff” to fans and consumers. Many of the programs I created focused on ways to generate more revenue for my clients.

I woke up one day and decided, “I wanted to invest my time and skills in people”. Instead of creating those programs to just generate revenue I wanted to create programs that would help to generate change.

So I went in search of a role that allowed me to use my skill sets and experience in Sports and Entertainment, but also would allow my to help others. I would probably still be looking for that job if it wasn’t for a friend who suggested that I write out the description of my perfect job that might help me narrow my search, so, I did. I sat down one day and wrote exactly what I wanted in a role… Sports Marketing + Cause Marketing.

But instead of continuing my search, I decided to start a firm that did just that.

What’s your Elevator Pitch?
As more organizations begin to focus on Cause Marketing, it is our mission to create programs and partnerships that bring together what we call the “Big Three” causes/non-profits, companies and athletes into integrated programs that achieve real results and the create real change in the lives of the people they touch.

What’s the company’s Mission Statement?
We Aim to be industry innovators; we will continually work to challenge the “status quo” by building partnerships based on innovation, trust, and common goals. We will create uniquely customized programs, ideas, and partnerships that work to do GOOD and yield measurable and meaningful results for our clients.

What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
Here are my 7 favorite aspects of running Black Sheep Consulting:

1) Creating my own work schedule…. there’s nothing like it!
2) Doing conference calls in my PJ’s
3) Being able to do what I love all the time!
4) Working with GREAT people (I love my team) #teamblksheep
5) Watching the morning edition of Sports Center twice as I do my morning calls and emails
6) Not having to wear a suit everyday
7) Knowing that what I am doing is going to make a difference in someone’s life!!

Tell us about your career before you became your own boss.
My career before becoming my own boss was great, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people across various levels of sports. I have been able to work with and learn from some of the best in the industry. I have also had the opportunity to travel the county, learn, and sell for an eclectic group of sports properties, and sports agencies. I have learned the importance of teamwork, communication, honesty, dedication, and passion in your life’s work. And I have also learned that if you love what you do, it never feels like work!

Were you previously involved in the sports industry?  If so, what capacity?
My career has given me experience both on the agency side and team side of professional sports, which has provided a great foundation and vision for Black Sheep Consulting. My experience includes NFL, NBA, WNBA, NLL, MLL, WPGA, Motorsports and Professional Horse Racing. While Mayes’s agency work includes a stint with A. Bright Idea Sports Marketing, and consulting relationships with Clutch Media, Hands On Sports & Entertainment, Networks Sports and TOAW Modern Marketing. I have learned many lessons of the course of my career that I believe have prepared me for this next career challenge.

What was your goal when starting the company?  Has that changed?  What is your long-term vision for your company?
From the outset, I wanted to start a company that I was proud of. I wanted to be able to wake up and do something that I loved every day. My goal was to use my gifts and talents to do good in the community, build meaningful Cause Marketing partnerships and programs that linked companies, causes, and athletics in a way that accomplishes specific goals and objectives for each. Our long term goals included becoming leaders in the cause marketing industry. To create innovative cause marketing + sports marketing programs and partnerships that work to help make real change in the lives of others.

What is it like running your own company?  Give us a “day in the life.”
It’s the most fun I have ever had, but it’s also the biggest challenge that I have had professionally. Every day is different, but I have learned over the last 10 months that building a structured day and week is critical in staying on task and making sure that projects are completed on time. My day typically begins early with emails, research and catching up on the “biz”, this includes reading articles on causes, athletes, and trends within the sports marketing + cause marketing industry. Many of my weeks are set around pushing particular projects forward, Sunday nights are my time to lay out my weekly plan around each project. From there I prioritize need actions and place them in the appropriate order. After my morning emails and research, I dive into each day’s plan, which might include, meetings, phone calls, program generation, presentations, and business development for the company. My late afternoon is reserved as “ME” time, this is my time to relax, workout, reconnect with friends or run some personal errands. I think it’s important to do something for yourself every day. I think sometimes we get some caught up in taking care of everything and everybody else that we forget to do what makes us happy. After dinner, I typically do a few more hours of proposal work or research on the couch or outside on the deck (weather permitting) before bed.

What are the greatest challenges of owning your own business?
One of the biggest challenges in owning your own business is realizing that you may not be able to do it all. I have learned that we all are good at something, but no one is good at everything. So I decided that I was going to stick to doing what I do best and surround myself with great talent in those other areas and that is what I have done. This has truly allowed me to work to move projects forward while letting my team do what they do best.

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve had in being an entrepreneur/business owner?
How a small team of dedicated people can pull off a great program and change peoples lives!

What are the greatest rewards of entrepreneurship & business ownership?
Doing great work with great people!

Is there a mentor (or mentors) who has helped you along the way?
I have many mentors.

Please share any advice for readers who are considering starting their own business.
My advice for anyone who is considering starting their own business is DO IT!

Create a great plan and stick with it!

Surround yourself with great people!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Learn from the mistakes of others.

Favorite Book: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball – By Kevin Carroll

Favorite Movie: Love Actually

Hobbies: Lacrosse, Fishing, People Watching

What’s playing on your iPod: Drake, Little Wayne, Kanya, Kid Cudi, Wiz

Android or iPhone: Android

Mac or PC: Mac

Favorite TV Show: Always Sunny

Favorite Restaurant: I prefer to grill at home!

Favorite Quote: “While everyone is trying to make a dollar, we are trying to make a difference”

 

For more information on Jay Mayes & Black Sheep Consulting, log on to www.thebettersheep.com

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NetWorks Rising Star – Vencent Kirkwood

NetWorks is committed to supporting young professionals looking to get their foot in the door in the sports industry.  Our team has received an extraordinary amount of support throughout our careers and are truly impressed with the generation of young leaders who are ready to help take the sports industry to all new heights.  If you know of any individuals like this, please let us know about them.  If you are in a position to hire or recommend these NetWorks Rising Stars, please contact us and we will put you in touch with them.  They are our future!

Vencent Kirkwood

 

Today’s NetWorks Rising Star is Vencent Kirkwood

Vence is someone who has a great understanding of what it takes to be successful in the sports industry.  He possesses strong leadership & communication skills and demonstrates a willingness to take on a plethora of responsibilities to help the organization be successful.  At this stage in his career, he has significant work experience that will be beneficial to any company interested in succeeding
–Angela Taylor, President – NetWorks Sports Consulting


Name: Vencent Kirkwood

College: Wayne State University

Degree(s): Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication with Minor in Public Relations.  Master of Arts in Sports Administration – conferred June 2011


Resume Available: Yes, upon request (send email request)

Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up playing sports in the suburbs of Detroit Michigan. I began my career in athletic administration as a volunteer manager for the Mens basketball team at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

What type of work experience have you had?
My experience working in sports started as a manager for the Wayne State basketball team while in undergraduate school. From there I went on to become a graduate assistant with the Women’s basketball team at Wayne State University while in graduate school. In working with Wayne State Women’s basketball I played a major role in implementing different marketing strategies on improving our fan attendance to a more residential student fan base. Some of my main responsibilities as a graduate assistant included: monitoring study table, classroom checks, and staying current with academic reports from professors. In the summer between my two years in graduate school, I moved to the nation’s capitol and interned as a game presentations intern with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. While working with the Washington Mystics as a game operations and new media intern, I had the opportunity to work in marketing, promotions, accounting and sales. In Washington, I was responsible for: game day operations, promotional events, and various marketing incentives. In addition, as the intern manager, I was responsible for managing ticket selling competitions and social media projects. Following my experience in Washington, I became the Group Events Seasonal Coordinator for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. While working with the Cavaliers, I was responsible for assisting in the planning, organizing, and execution of various aspects of special events at Quicken Loans Arena. In this role, I provided a high level of customer service to group leaders and members. Each one of these opportunities has taught me incomparable skills to one day be a great manager.

What type of job(s) are you seeking?
I am looking for a career in the field of sports that will be challenging and allow me to piece all of the skills that school, internships, and work experiences have given me and use the skills to help a sports organization reach its’ highest possible potential.

What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is my personality. I have a deep understanding of people and how to interact with people in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Networking is a skill that I have become very familiar with in college as well as in my adulthood. Networking is not only a key factor in landing a job but once you do land that job networking is what builds relationships with managers, interns, clients, season ticket holders, and even executives at higher levels. The ability to network and have a welcoming personality is a very important strength that must be honed in this great field of athletic administration. I possess that as well as experience in being able to articulate the benefits of an organization to a top athlete who is considering your team or your organization.

Tell us about a project that you completed successfully.
In 2010, I produced and co-directed the “Club 35″ documentary style video for the Wayne State University Athletic Department. The “Club 35” documentary style video highlights some of the most influential female student-athletes to play at Wayne State University. “Club 35″ is a celebration of Women in Athletics for 35 years at Wayne State University.

What experience (if any) do you have in the sports industry?

I have been a manager for the Wayne State University Men’s basketball team. I have experience as a graduate assistant with the Women’s basketball team at Wayne State University. I have experience as a game presentations intern with the Washington Mystics and also experience as a Group Events Seasonal Coordinator for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Aside from those great experiences:

Produced/Co-Directed- “Club 35” documentary style video on the Celebration of Women in Athletics for 35 years at Wayne State University

Coordinator- Wayne State University Basketball annual “Think Pink” event, which recognizes those who have suffered from breast cancer within the community.

Coordinator-Wayne State University’s 1st annual “Sock Drive”, which collects diapers for low-income families in the metro Detroit area.

Why do you want to work in the sports industry?
The best way to describe why I want to work in sports is passion. Passion is simply wanting to surround myself with a sport or an organization and becoming wrapped up in it. It is true, I want to always be around the competitiveness of sports, but it goes beyond watching the game and sitting in the seats. After all the school, internships, work experiences, and networking I have come to know that my passion now stems from getting others into the seats that I once used to want to sit in as a sports fan. The business side of sports is what drives me to continue to pursue a career in sports. I have a desire to help mold and structure an organization to be the best in performance on the field, court, arena as well as best performers in the business aspects of the game.


Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My grandfather George W Young has had the greatest impact on my life. Although I have never met him I feel as though I have known him all my life. His life accomplishments inspire me everyday to be great.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I would hope to be working in some aspect of sport administration. Not just working in sport but using my skill sets and abilities to have great impact on the lives of those around me and the organization I am a part of.

More specifically, my ultimate goal would be to take steps toward being a general manager/president of a professional sports organization. I believe this job involves everything I have learned in school, from people, and through experiences. Being a general manager/vice president of operations brings all the pieces of a sports organization together whether it be ticket sales and service, community relations, player relations, scouting, on court performance and creating a one of a kind organization. In this role I will be able to have a part in many aspects of the organization offering my knowledge and abilities where needed

Anything else we should know about you?

Throughout undergraduate school and graduate school I have been involved in several groups and organizations that include:

Spiritual Development Chair – Student African American Brotherhood (Wayne State University 2008-2009)

Vice-President – Mercy Faith Temple Youth Department (present)

Chair of Academic Affairs – Black Student Union (Wayne State University Undergrad 2007-2009)

Board Member – College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts Alumni Association (Wayne State University-present)

NABC (National Association of Black Coaches) – member

MBCA (Men’s Basketball Coaches Association) – member

PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) – member

Produced/Co-Directed – “Club 35” documentary style video on the Celebration of Women in Athletics for 35 years at Wayne State University

Coordinator – Wayne State University Basketball annual “Think Pink” which recognizes those who have suffered from breast cancer within the community.

Coordinator – Wayne State University’s 1st annual “Sock Drive” collects diapers for low-income families in the metro Detroit area.

My community service efforts are as follows: Scholars Together Learning Community, Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Faith Temple COGIC, Great Lakes Second Youth Department, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Harper Woods Recreational Center


For more information about Vencent or to request a resume, please send an email to info@networkssports.com