The Blog of Jake Kelfer
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Last Friday, I attended the Michigan Sports Business Conference for the first time, and it was AWESOME! Somehow the stars aligned and the conference just happened to take place during the time I’m in Michigan for Elevate America.
Once I found that out, I knew I had no choice but to attend. To make it even more exciting, my colleague and teammate at the Professional Basketball Combine, Chris Henderson, was named a winner of the Big Initiative Award. Better yet, he was the Valedictorian and I wanted to be there for him to share this amazing accomplishment.
Conferences can be tricky to master, but I always like to have a goal or two when I go. Since this conference had a lot to do with career advice for students and young professionals, one of my goals was to get as much advice for aspiring sports business professionals.
Below is some of the advice the featured experts shared at the conference.
Steve Greenberg – Managing Director, Allen & Company
“Work your butt off. Learn the fundamentals and then have the gumption to take a chance.”
“Don’t worry about the pay, location, or job when you’re first starting. Worry about people.”
Arn Tellem – Vice Chariman, Palace Sports & Entertainment
“Have a great mentor. Learn from and be exposed to a great path.”
Vishal Shah – SVP of Digital Media Business Development, NFL
“Work hard and take a position.”
Laura Froelich – Global Head of Sports Partnerships, Twitter
“The best path to a new job is to do a great job in your current job.”
Kenny Mitchell – Head of Consumer Engagement, Gatorade
“Know what you want to do.”
Kenny gets asked all of the time about breaking into sports and he said that you have to know what you want to do. Do the research and figure out what interests you and what you are good at. Then pursue a targeted path. If you need help with this, check out my online course and free guide on how to break into sports here.
Vicente Fernandez – Cofounder and CEO, SportsManias
“Get involved. Be involved. School is the time to try anything you want.”
Justin Toman –Head of Sports Marketing, PepsiCo
“Immerse yourself in the industry. Be current and stay up to date with trends.”
“Write handwritten thank you notes.”
Laura Ackerman – Senior Coordinator of Global Partnerships, NBA
“Let people know what you want to do. When you network, think about the future and how both parties can help each other.”
Eryn McVerry – Managing Director, Player 2 Studios
”Go in [to network] with a purpose.”
“Find someone like you [to be your mentor].”
Jason White – Global Head of Marketing, Beats by Dre
“People buy stories. Take a chance.”
Dave “El Pres” Portnoy – Founder, Barstool Sports
“DO IT! You can create content 24/7.”
David Katz – CEO, The Postgame
“Be bold. Put yourself in a position. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come. Create it yourself. Be ready for the opportunity and then take it.”
David Levy – President, Turner
“Get a job. You don’t need a sports job. You need a job.”
“Your first job is not your career. Your second isn’t. Your third might be.”
Overall the conference was full of value and unique opportunities. If you are ever in Michigan during the fall, try to check out the Michigan Sports Business Conference. I know I'll be back!