Earlier this month, myself (Emily) and another writer on this website (Amanda) had the privilege of being able to attend a phenomenal panel of amazing women in the sports industry. We were invited to view this panel by Revolver PR CEO Amanda Samaan, and we decided to take notes on the things these incredible women had to say.
The panel included Dr. Cheryl Robinson who is the Founder of Ready2Roar and a Contributor for Forbes Women, Dr. Jen Welter who is the NFL’s First Female Coach and GrrridIron Girls Founder, Melissa Proctor who is the Executive Vice President and CMO of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, and moderator Janet Smith who is the VP of Brand Communications of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena & Executive Committee Manager.
While everything they said was incredible, here are the 5 biggest takeaways from our perspective.
Number One: The Myth of ‘Making It’
After reaching such a high level within her career, Melissa Proctor was asked about what it felt like to have finally ‘made it’. She then emphasized the point that we don’t ‘make it’ until we’re dead. We always need to continue to strive to reach higher and higher within our careers, never settle for where you are.
Number Two: If you can’t find an advocate, become your own advocate
In this industry, and in most industries, it’s incredibly important to have at least one person who advocates for you and what you do. If you’re having a hard time finding this person, Dr. Robinson explained advocating for yourself. We can do this by making opportunities for ourselves when possible and don’t be afraid to ask to join projects. Instead of being your own biggest critic, try being your own biggest advocate.
Number Three: Be 100% Authentic
Perhaps the biggest piece of advice from Dr. Welter was on the importance of authenticity. The people you surround yourself with in life and in your work environment value consistency and authenticity. Always present yourself the way you are and use that to build relationships with others. It’s much easier to be authentically yourself than to be different artificial versions to different people.
Number Four: There are many paths to the same destination
We all have career goals and aspirations we want to achieve. What isn’t always clear is the paths we take to reach these achievements. Janet Smith emphasized how taking paths we didn’t originally plan for can still take us where we want to go. So take a leap and try something new, where it takes you might surprise you.
Number Five: The value of therapy and mental health
All of the members of the panel advocated for valuing your mental health, but Melissa Proctor really hammered it home. Life is hard and stressful, and so is working in the fast-paced environment that is the sports industry. Do not push aside the concept of therapy and taking care of your mental health. Utilize the options you have to stay healthy and to become the best version of yourself.