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Rising 25

Meet The Rising 25: J’Ron Erby’s Sports Industry Journey

Meet J’Ron Erby: a graduate student at the University of San Francisco who has leveraged his writing background in several notable public relations roles.

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The Rising 25 class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet J’Ron Erby: a graduate of Wayne State College and a current graduate student at the University of San Francisco.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Erby majored in mass communication and journalism at Wayne State and became the sports editor of the school paper during his junior year. Erby also contributed to Black Sports Online during his time in college. Erby eventually leveraged his writing skills to break into public relations, with internships with the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers as well as a temporary position with the Super Bowl LII PR staff.

In September 2018, Erby became the Content Marketing Coordinator with Alliance of American Football, a position he stayed in until the league ceased operations the following April. Although his AAF journey lasted only eight months, Erby describes his time with the league as one of the proudest accomplishments of his career. 

“When I got to the AAF in September, there was a team of two in marketing,” Erby says. “The league’s Twitter account was at about 10,000 followers and the Instagram account was at about 14,000. We eventually added Dom Lewis to our team as head of social and Christopher Stoney as the creative director. Working together, we were able to elevate the Instagram account to over 500,000 followers and Twitter to over 200,000.”

Erby dreamed of working in sports as a kid and loves working in the industry as a young professional. Nevertheless, he advises future sports professionals to be prepared for the industry’s grittier side.

“There are a lot of benefits that come with working in the industry,” he says. “But when people first try and start out in the industry, they don’t understand a lot of the behind-the-scenes things that play a part in the glamour. It’s great when it all comes together on game day, but there’s so much that we’re doing throughout the week to get to that point. You really got to grind if you want to get to the top and get compensated accordingly.”

More than, Erby believes you have to exude confidence — an attribute he has in spades.

“I’m an extremely confident guy,” he says. “I play that to my advantage. My parents taught me to have faith no matter what obstacles are in front of me and to constantly push forward. In any job, not everything is going to happen perfectly. So look for ways to correct it and improve the current situation.”

Erby believes that each and every aspiring sports business professional can tap into their own confidence in a similar way to get their career off the ground.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and build your network,” he says. “I’d also say be yourself. Find out what it is that sets you apart from other people. Use that to your advantage. No matter your gender, race or creed, you have something that most people will like. Figure out what that is and run with it.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: Miles Cahill of the LA Clippers

A graduate of the University of Arizona, Cahill quickly found his footing in the sports partnership space with IMG College and later in the NBA.

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The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet Miles Cahill: Partnership Marketing Coordinator with the NBA’s LA Clippers. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Cahill received his introduction to the business side of sports during his time as a student in Tucson.

“When I was in college I knew I had to get as heavily involved within Arizona Athletics as possible. I found out about a club on campus called the Sports Marketing Association (SMA) and absolutely fell in love with it. To this day, I think this is essentially how my career in sports took off. I began volunteering at sporting events through SMA as much as I possibly could and wound up receiving my first internship stint with IMG College at the University of Arizona. In this position, I was able to do partnership activation there as a property assistant,” Cahill says. “I loved the balance of game day operations as well as the business relations side, in making sure partners and clients are happy with the partnership and their investment into an athletic program or team/league/association.”

After a year of working with IMG College, Cahill decided to continue working with the company for an additional year and a half as his love for sports business really set in.

“I was able to learn how to truly connect genuine brand synergy and understand just how much can go through a partnership agreement, whether it be media, social/digital, community events, permanent or static LED signage, and more. When I started the role, I always assumed it was providing unparalleled client service on the hospitality and promotional-based front but the opportunities expand farther than that… even everything that goes into prospecting and follow-ups on the sales side,” he says. “But ultimately, when I was fulfilling my day-to-day responsibilities on the activation side was when I knew I found something I could not only be passionate about, but also thrive in.”

Cahill also worked game operations for the Tucson Roadrunners as well as serving as an academic mentor and sports nutritionist intern during his time at Arizona. However, he found himself coming back to partnerships a few months after graduation. Cahill describes getting his degree from UofA and becoming a first-generation graduate on his mother’s side of the family as one of his proudest professional accomplishments.

“Graduating from college was a big stepping stone for me,” he recalls, “but more on the professional side, getting an opportunity to work for an NBA team has always been my dream. Particularly doing it in partnership activation was a double win because I knew all the work I put in to get to this point had finally paid dividends.”

Cahill started with the Clippers in September of 2017 where he has achieved success coordinating the relationships between the organization and its sponsors. Through advancing up the sports business ladder, Cahill has learned several important things about this process that other young professionals can learn from.

“One of the biggest misconceptions in my eyes is that sports experience by itself will guarantee you a job after graduation,” Cahill states. “I learned it’s also heavily based on your network and how you perform in your job. Just the fact that you held a position does not tell the full story in regards to performance. Be on time, always give it one hundred and ten percent and do all the right things at your job. Not only that, continue to expand your portfolio and further develop those relationships that you have with people. You never know when a new opportunity could arise that could be a superior fit for you and that relationship you have fostered comes around full circle.”

Cahill’s other piece of advice to young sports professionals for achieving similar success is finding ways to stand out amongst the masses.

“I think the strongest advice I’ve ever gotten was the importance of cultivating and further developing relationships in unique and personal matters. One way I like to do that is with handwritten notes. It’s something that I did throughout my last two years of college and have continued up to this point in my career. It allowed me to get my first professional job out of college. Do things that other people won’t do or find ways that can make you really stand out from the people that you’re battling against for a job.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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Rising 25

Meet The Rising 25: Kaitlin Brennan of Stanford Athletics

After playing every sport she could growing up, Brennan sought out the team atmosphere that makes working in college athletics so rewarding.

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The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet Kaitlin Brennan: Assistant Director of Marketing at Stanford Athletics. Brennan graduated magna cum laude from Cal Poly in 2017 before landing her role at Stanford.

Brennan’s passion for sports started at a young age, playing just about every sport she could get her hands on.

“In high school I played four different sports,” Brenna says. “Then I got to college and just had this void, missing not being able to play and practice and be around a team.”

Recognizing this void led Brennan to combine her passion for sports with her business major as a student at Cal Poly. Brennan secured a role with the university’s athletic department as a sports marketing manager, which gave her an introduction to that side of college athletics.

“Second week of freshman year, I walked into the athletic department at Cal Poly and offered to do whatever they wanted.” she recalls. “I did a lot of odds-and-ends jobs throughout my entire time in college. I was taking photos, recording games, working the video boards, sending surveys to fans…

“I really got my hands in a lot of different things and confirmed that I liked the business side of sports.”

After graduation, Brennan interviewed with several different types of sport organizations. She soon realized that college sports offered the team atmosphere that she ultimately desired and found herself at Stanford. Brennan currently works closely with four of Stanford’s teams which brings a great sense of fulfillment to her professional life.

“Since coming to Stanford, our department has renewed its focus on telling the stories of our student-athletes,” Brennan says. “All of the students that come to Stanford have such cool stories, which makes my job incredibly easy. Fans can relate to our student-athletes because of their life stories, what they’ve gone through, what they’re going through right now and what their goals are. I think my biggest professional accomplishment is really using marketing and the channels that I have to highlight and amplify student-athletes’ accomplishments and dreams in a natural, organic way.”

By taking pride in learning the small skills that make the world of sports business go, Brennan has been able to elevate herself to a leadership position within college athletics. Following that method is one way that she recommends for young professionals to advance their careers.

“Do the little things right and the big things will come your way. But still continue to do those little things. There are people with three titles above me that still pass out shirts,” Brennan says.But if you continue to do those little jobs right, bigger opportunities will come. Get as much experience as you possibly can no matter what it takes.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: Kimberly Ostiller of the LA Stadium & Entertainment District

A 2016 graduate of the University of Southern California, Ostiller is the Global Partnerships Coordinator at the future home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers.

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The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.

Today, meet Kimberly Ostiller: Global Partnerships Coordinator for the LA Stadium & Entertainment District. A 2016 graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) where she majored in public relations and Spanish, Ostiller chased her desire to work in sports early and took an internship with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers while at USC. Ostiller feels that the exposure she received to the professional sports landscape while with the Dodgers prepared her for the next phase of her career.

“I met really talented people and I’ve maintained those relationships,” she says reflecting on her time with the Dodgers. “It’s great to still have that soundboard for professional advice.”

Ostiller worked in partnerships with the Dodgers for over two years while simultaneously working as a tour guide on USC’s campus. Ostiller then made the jump to her current role shortly before her graduation in 2016. This experience has also provided its fair share of chances to showcase Ostiller’s abilities. For each of the last two Super Bowls, Ostiller spearheaded multi-day showcases to show brands and executives what the future home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers will have in store. The new stadium is set to open prior to the 2020 NFL season in Inglewood, California.

This past season in particular, with the Rams taking part in the big game in Atlanta, Ostiller feels proud of what she was able to accomplish leading the LA Stadium & Entertainment District’s efforts to attract new potential partners.

“I set higher expectations for myself and I think that helped this year’s showcase to be more successful,” she says. “We had significantly more guests coming through and had more productive meetings with brands, which was important to me. This was a big undertaking. It took months to execute and I am grateful to our leadership for trusting me to plan this showcase from start to finish.”

For the next generation of sports business professionals, Ostiller offers a few pieces of advice. Her advice is to not give up, appreciate the value of networking, and respect others’ time. This will help move one’s career in the right direction while building essential relationships.

“Being politely persistent is helpful,” she says. “I think leaders in this business have enough time to share if you can get in front of them. Ask people to have coffee – everyone has time for a cup of coffee. Just get your name out there and keep your eyes peeled for opportunities; be mindful of teams that are in season. Informational interviews are a great way to learn and stay visible in this competitive field.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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