Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is the Work In Sports podcast.
As I talk to young people across the country, there is an undercurrent of panic in their collective voices. It sounds a lot like pressure and fear.
I’m no neuroscientist, but anecdotally is sure seems negative news accumulates in our brains much faster than positive. Using myself as an example, I'll remember a singular review giving one star and commenting that the “Host has a weird voice and delivery. His questions meander and lack any interesting quality.”
That will stick in my brain FOREVER. It comes up in my subconscious as I write questions, it comes up live during interviews, it comes up during the editing process where I wonder if this person isn’t right.
The hundreds of positive reviews lack the power to cut through this dissenting voice.
Now let’s spin this to your existence.
Dot com Headline: Unemployment High!
Sports Hiring Manager: We get 400 applicants for each job!
Podcast host: If you don’t get the right experience, you won’t get noticed!
The data you have coming at you is discouraging, panic inducing and amounts to a whole lot of pressure. I can hear the message you are giving yourself, “If I don’t choose everything perfect, from internships to majors to skill development to networking to interviewing technique...I’ll be lost, and I will fail.”
Wow. That’s heavy. But again, that’s the voice I hear coming from the young people I speak with today. Maybe not literally, but surely figuratively.
I did a little analysis with this thought in mind. I went through our podcast guests, who as you know are amazing people in the sports industry and around 37% of them started their careers somewhere other than sports. Even more than that, around 47% majored in something completely unrelated to their current career.
All of this is to say, take it easy on yourself. Your career is not a straight line, it is not something you can plan out perfectly, it is organic and takes shape as you live through it.
Have a plan, have goals, have accomplishments in mind like building your network and gaining the experience that matches industry demand...but don’t be rigid.
Today’s guest is a shining example of this pattern. Michelle Andres graduated from Furman with a degree in Political Science. In fact, she so loved politics she received her Master’s in Political Science – Campaign Management from the University of Florida.
But then, she didn’t love the work itself.
I’ll let her give you the details...but think about that a second. She didn’t complete seven sports internships. She didn’t have a vast network of sports connections. But she landed a job with the Orlando Magic as the Assistant Director of Interactive Marketing, and her career has grown rapidly ever since, where she is now the SVP of Ravens Media with the Baltimore Ravens.
She will explain that, and a whole lot more... here’s Michelle Andres.
1: Before we get into the full scope of Ravens Media and your role, let’s start back at your beginning.
You were a political science major, and not only that, you went so far as to get your Masters in Poly Sci – Campaign Management.
How, and even more importantly why, does a political science major end up starting their career with the Orlando Magic in PR and eventually gravitating to interactive marketing?
2: In 2006 you jumped to the Ravens to become the Director of New Media. I remember 2006 well, looking back it seems like very old media. Back then we were talking about the advent of social, websites were still pretty raw -- what do you recall about the big challenges of that time?
3: The Ravens Media group that you manage is a large, wide-ranging team. Social media, digital, photogs, writers, business intelligence, gameday production, we could go on but we’ll stop there.
All these groups have a similar focus, bring value to your fans. How important is it to continually work at developing that relationship with the fans?
4: I remember in college discussing how the media sets the agenda for the audience, deciding what is important by what they choose to cover. I wonder, has this flipped? Is it now the fans that inform you what is most important to discuss and develop?
5: In today’s media environment, players are owning their brands more than ever and becoming their own content machines. Does this present a challenge for team media or an opportunity?
6: Innovation is an important part of the content space, there’s always a new social channel, new mobile app, new fan experience tool.
In Baltimore, you are competing with a lot of sports teams in the Mid-Atlantic region. How much pressure is there to always be on the lookout for the next big thing to help you deliver on fan expectations and distinguish your brand?
7: In that spirit, what innovation has you piqued right now? Are there certain developing technologies that get you excited?
8: Often people *think* content creation is an in the moment, reactive process.
Let the people listening behind the curtain – how much time do you spend planning and preparing vs. reacting?
9: When I talk to sports companies about their growth sectors for hiring, 9 times out of 10 the answer I get is Business Intelligence.
Can you tell us a little about the BI team under you and why it is so important in today’s sports industry?
10: Looking through the staff directory you lead one of the biggest teams within the Ravens organization with 27 people. How have you changed as a leader from when you first started with, I’m guessing, a much smaller team, to where you are now with 27?
11: What are the entry level positions? If someone listening is thinking to themselves, “Wow, Ravens Media, that’s a dream gig” – what skill sets do you look for and where are those break in opportunities?
12: I love hiring interns – they've already worked in our system, I’ve observed how they perform – it's a little less risky. What about with the Ravens, is the best way to get noticed for full-time to get in as an intern and crush it?
13: As you look back at the last year of tumult, what are you most proud of when it comes to how your team adjusted and adapted to what was a difficult environment?
14: We’ll finish up with this – as a female executive in the sports industry you are a role model to many. Has the industry improved in the way it empowers, develops and treats women? And where does our industry still need to focus on improving?
Listen in to the Work In Sports podcast for wonderful sports career advice from Michelle Andres, SVP Baltimore Ravens.