WASHINGTON, DC -- A distinguished group of executives shared the benefit of their career experiences with a roomful of attendees at the Diversity in Sports Forum: Pathways Into the Industry on Friday morning. The event, held at The Mayflower Hotel, was hosted by Events DC, The Shadow League and the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic®.
Moderated by ESPN senior writer Howard Bryant and The Shadow League editor-in-chief Alejandro “Ali” Danois, the event featured an interview with Under Armour Chief Human Resources officer Kerry D. Chandler, two panels and a career fair. The Fourm is one of the featured events leading up to the sixth annual AT&T Nation’s Football Classic® on Saturday, Sept. 17 as the Howard Bison and Hampton Pirates meet at RFK Stadium in the Battle for the Real HU.
“We didn’t do a lot of this when I was coming up,” Bryant said in his opening remarks. “It would have been fantastic to be in a situation to see someone who looks like you and is in the position you would like to get to.”
With several students and recent graduates from colleges and universities throughout the region among the audience, Chandler talked about her career path, which included leadership roles at ESPN and the NBA before joining Under Armour two years ago.
“There is something to be said for confidence,” said Chandler, who also pointed out the need to be a team player, as Under Armour refers to its employees as team members. “Showing you believe in yourself is important. Being willing to do almost anything, as long as it is respectful, of course. … And show interest in learning more.”
Following Bryant’s interview with Chandler, “A View from the Top” panel focused on leaders from sports leagues and teams. They stressed the importance of always being prepared and having energy and passion, regardless of the task at hand.
“You are always being assessed,” said D.A. Abrams, chief diversity & inclusion officer for the United States Tennis Association. “You are always under surveillance, whether you like it or not.”
The second panel, “The Wide World of Sports,” showcased leaders whose businesses support the sports industry. They, too, emphasized the need to persevere and remain hungry while forging a career.
The panelists “had the desire to help, the desire to reach out – the each-one, teach-one mindset they had was incredible,” said Mori Taheripour, an independent consultant and co-founder of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Sports Business Initiative. “I go to a lot of sports conferences and you never really see this.