The Blog of Jake Kelfer
Get 5 FREE chapters of my book Elevate Your Network and start building extraordinary relationships in your life, career and business!
Journey to Success with Adam White: Founder and CEO, Front Office Sports LLC
Adam is currently a senior at the University of Miami (FL) majoring in Sports Administration with a minor in Marketing. Beyond his commitments of running and growing Front Office Sports (FOS), Adam is currently an intern for the University of Miami Athletic Department in the Hurricane Club, as well as a manager and server at the UM Rathskeller. Adam was born and raised in Arizona and has sports business experience working for Formula E, opendorse and the Arizona Sports Foundation among others. When he can find down time, Adam plays baseball and works on his 93 Ford Ranger.
How do you define success?
When I think of success, I don’t dream of money and cars. Success for me is being able to leverage my hard work to create opportunities for others. If I were to never make a single dollar from FOS, but, was able to get 10 people hired in their dream job because of their involvement with us, that is success to me.
Success for me is waking up every morning knowing that I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of numerous people and then acting on that knowledge to make sure that I positively impact those people.
Everyone has his or her own journey and story to tell. Can you talk about your journey up to this point?
My journey has been nothing short of astonishing in my eyes. The summer after my freshman year, the idea for FOS came to my mind and I decided to act on it while I was home for the summer. Over two years and close to 200,000 page views later, here we are. If you were to tell me that, at 21, I would have created a site that people recognize throughout the industry and one that has the opportunity to allow over 30 people to work on it to build their personal brand, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
None of this would have been possible without hard work, sacrifices and dedication to something that is now much bigger than just myself.
Early on, I wasn’t sold on FOS taking over my life like it has, but things quickly changed after I realized that what I was doing had some real potential. I would say it was about the time I was 50 interviews in that I could see FOS really become what it has today. It was at that point I knew I was going to give everything I could to create something that would make an impact in this industry like nothing else before.
Over the course of the rest of that first year, I would go on to publish over 110 interviews. Because of FOS, I have made valuable connections with individuals that I probably would have never come in contact with.
Along with growing FOS, I still had to focus on baseball, my part-time job and finishing school. Safe to say, my schedule has been ridiculous the last two plus years and because of that some things have had to take a back seat. Even though my family is super supportive of everything I am doing, there were times early on when I would focus more of my attention on the site than talking to them. FOS overnight had gone from a casual platform I wanted to use as an avenue for my career, to an obsession and something I couldn’t spend enough time building.
As I have grown into my role for FOS, I have found a better balance in life and, while still blocking out the unnecessary distractions, I have found myself making sure I find priority in where I put the extra time I do have.
Two months in, FOS was gaining traction and we started adding people to the team. One of the first ones to join me in my quest was Russ Wilde. Since then, Russ has been my right hand man and has helped me take the site to the next level. While it started with Russ, I have been blessed with so many amazing people who have been willing to believe in my mission and vision for the site to help create a community that is truly unlike any other.
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t stopped working in the last three years and, while it can be a grind, it has been worth it. From spending a week in Las Vegas to attending and covering a Sports Illustrated event in Los Angeles, FOS has given me opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime and the crazy thing is, we are just getting started.
How did Front Office Sports come to be one of the go to places for young professionals looking to break into the sports industry?
It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication from everyone involved. Each of our team members knows their role, and have been excellent at executing their piece in order to allow us to grow.
Beyond just the normal sweat equity that goes into building something like this, we pride ourselves in producing the best, high quality content on a consistent basis. It has been that production that has not only built the community, but also given the community of followers we have to look to us as a thought leader.
We decided early on that we wanted to have a distinct social voice and take a digital first focus that other sports business publications have not really done before. By combining a unique digital voice and point of view with quality content and hard work we have been able to take a small blog and turn it into a potential powerhouse.
Similar to the line from the famous movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come,” for FOS, they have come, and come faster than I would have ever expected.
Just like athletes, professionals need a place to have a voice and share their story and while we aren’t creating super unique content, we have given those who desperately need a platform somewhere to be heard and seen.
How have you been able to manage being the CEO of Front Office Sports while also being a college student and handling other internships?
It is not easy at all and it has tested me a lot this semester and has made my push myself beyond any limits I could have once imagined. When push comes to shove, it all comes down to four things.
1. Staying super organized
2. Eliminating distractions
3. Prioritizing time effectively
4. Knowing what I am doing isn’t for me
My days are all divided into three parts. From 8am-2pm I am at my internship, from 3pm-10:30pm I am at my job and then from 11pm-3am I focus on FOS and get as much done as I can in that time window before I go to bed and do it all over again the next day.
In order to make sure I am staying on top of everything I have a calendar in my phone, on my Mac and a hard copy that I take with me everywhere. On the digital calendars, I have meetings scheduled, times when content should go out and any other reminders I need to have for that week. On my hard copy, I have it split into 5 sections. Those sections are my content calendar, my list of things to do that week, my action items for the week, my weekly goals and then any news and notes I have from that week. As soon as a week ends, I take that page out of the notebook and store it away in another section so I have records to look back on.
Another way I do it, is by eliminating distractions. During the week, unless my friends come see me at work they don’t see me at all and, while most of the time they call me crazy, they understand what I am trying to do. Beyond making sure that I focus on the tasks at hand and not get sidetracked by things that keep me from taking the necessary steps I need to attain my goals, I make sure I prioritize my time effectively.
For example, on Tuesday’s I don’t work, but I have class from 6:00-9:00 pm. In that four-hour window between my internship and class, I schedule any meetings or calls for the week along with other small tasks such as data entry for our sponsors or content idea generation.
The other motivating factor is not only am I having fun, but I wake up every day knowing that 34 people that work on the site with me are counting on me to do my job and do the right things to continue to build something they are proud to be part of. There is no greater motivation than knowing people are counting on you to deliver and that what you are building is more about helping others achieve their goals than helping you achieve yours.
What is your biggest goal for Front Office Sports?
My biggest goal for FOS is to change the game in terms of the way sports business is covered. The Players’ Tribune changed the game for athletes and their message and Bleacher Report has changed the game in terms of how fans consume social content. I believe that with the community we have built, the following we have, and the ideas we have for the future that FOS will get to the point where people recognize us as the organization who revolutionized how the sports business industry is covered and will see us in the same category as the Players’ Tribunes and Bleacher Reports of the world.
What is the best benefit you’ve received as a result of starting Front Office Sports? Relationships? Events you have attended?
No question, the relationships. Before I started all of this, I was just an 18-year-old kid who knew no one in the sports industry and now, some of my best friends are the people who work with me on the site or the people I have interviewed. To have people in the industry across the country only a dial, text, or DM away has lead to so many great memories, opportunities and friendships that it would take me a whole day to explain them all. The sports industry is filled with some of the best and most helpful people you will ever meet and, luckily for me, I have been blessed in more ways than one because of the people I have met through the site.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Live life like a fountain not a drain.” This advice was given to me by David Cohen, the General Counsel of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost two years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. It is something I truly believe in and live by. When you live life like this, while it may seem like you continually give and give, the rewards you receive in terms of friendships, a positive life balance and the ability to have a great impact on the lives of others are more than worth it.
If you could have lunch with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
If I could have lunch with three people, I would want to have lunch with General Patton, Jeff Bezos, and Derek Jeter. In my opinion, these three men are some of the greatest leaders to have ever lived and I would love to be able to hear and see how they would talk about what made them so successful and how it not only applied in their time, but how it could apply now.
The Fundamental Round
Favorite food: My grandma’s BBQ chicken
Favorite book: The Horatio Hornblower Book Series
Favorite movie: Miracle
Favorite athlete: Shane Doan
Favorite sports team: Arizona Coyotes
Favorite song: Dreams, Life of Dillon
Favorite quote: “Live life like a fountain and not a drain.”
Biggest role models:
Animal you most resemble (looks or personality):
I think a Fox would best describe me because they are cunning, stealthy and persistent. The fact that they are infinitely adaptable, sly, graceful, and have a near magic ability to make something out of nothing, utilizing even the most limited of resources as well as going with the flow of life describes me and how I approach life.
You can connect with Adam here:
Adam White Twitter
Adam White Instagram
Adam White LinkedIn