Social Responsibility in a Changing Sports World - Work in Sports Podcast e156

The role of corporate social responsibility in sports has taken on a larger profile in the industry, now representing a bigger, more impactful role in sports organizations of all sizes.


Learn more about these sports roles from Tiara Brown, Charlotte Hornets Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility.


For more information on the Master in Sports Business Leadership program at Seattle University, email their team at or call 206-398-4610 to learn more about how we can help you work in sport. 

Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for Work in and this is the WorkinSports podcast…

Corporate Social Responsibility.

It’s a big term with a lot of weight, but for a long time Corporate Social Responsibility was a “nice-to-have” part of an organization. A “check the box” procedural decision of large corporations in sports and in responsibility in sports

These massive organizations figured Corporate Social Responsibility, or Community Relations, was a way to feel good about their org, to do good in the community and grab some positive press here and there.

Now, times have changed, Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a separate piece of the business strategy, it is an integral part.

It is no longer a division of the organization kept separate from the larger organization plan, it is part and parcel.

It is no longer just a desire to do some good, it is an essential part of a business being successful.

Why? Why this fundamental change?

If you ask me the reason is two-fold – competition, and current events.

Even in sports there is competition for the almighty fan dollar. This isn’t the 1980’s where if you are a fan of a certain team you have to go to the game to see them play. There are alternatives to spending money at the arena.

There are other sports, you can watch  on TV, heck you can even bypass your local team and watch out of market teams in a myriad of ways or you can choose completely different things to invest your money in.

Competition is huge… if your team isn’t likable, if it doesn’t have a soul, if it is mired in controversy… people will turn away. Corporate Social Responsibility aims to fix this.. to give a heart and soul to the big business.  

In addition, current events demand someone keeping an eye on the decision making of the organization and making sure it aligns with the expectations of society. Sexual misconduct, race relations, freedom of speech and countless other issues are in the forefront of our day to day society.

Never before has it been more important for sports teams, leagues and organizations to lead in this regard rather than react from behind.

This weeks guest, Tiara Brown, Charlotte Hornets Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility sees this all happening first hand. She and her team with the Hornets aim to strengthen the Charlotte community by supporting education, military, hunger and wellness initiatives – and they are doing one heck of a job.

Here’s Tiara Brown…


Questions for Tiara Brown, Charlotte Hornets Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility


1: You attended the University of Louisville and graduated with a degree in Sports Administration – clearly it was your focus to work in the sports industry – where did that love come from?

2: You interned in the Louisville athletic department while you were a student – do you think it was helpful to go to a large school with a large athletic department… do you believe this afforded you different opportunities that could help you reach your career goals?

3: While in school you also interned with the Charlotte Hornets in Community Relations --  internships with pro teams are very competitive, how did you get the role?

4: Was Community Relations something you fell into via the opportunity, or was this always a part of your plan?

5: You transitioned from intern to full-time employee, a result I guarantee every single person listening wants to follow – so take yourself back, did you have a certain strategy or approach to your internship that helped your supervisors identify you as a talent worth keeping?

6: After your internship your title becomes Coordinator of Community and Player Programs – take us through that role, what were the day to day expectations and what did you like most about it?

7: You weren’t that far removed from being a student yourself, and yet in this role you had your own interns you had to mentor and steer – what has been your approach to guiding and helping form interns and entry level employees?

8: For the last two years you’ve been the Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Hornets – how has your role and the expectations changed as you’ve become more involved at the management level?

9: You manage many, many events throughout the year, and you have a staff that works with you, but you also utilize a massive amount of volunteers -- in your view is volunteering a good way for aspiring sports career focused people to gain experience and break in? 

10: What would you say are the most important skills someone should develop to be a star in social responsibility/community relations?

11: In your view, why is social responsibility and community relations so important for teams and players to embrace?

12: Is there a favorite event you and the Hornets run each year?

13: You hire staff and interns each year – what are the most important things you look for when bringing people in?  

Listen in for the answers to these questions and more from Tiara Brown, Charlotte Hornets Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility

By Brian Clapp | February 13, 2019
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