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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.

Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: George Steinbrenner IV of Harding Steinbrenner Racing

The youngest team owner in the history of IndyCar, Steinbrenner carries a passion for sports he inherited from his father and grandfather.

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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 George Steinbrenner IV: co-owner and partner of Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Steinbrenner is the youngest IndyCar team owner in the history of the sport and the grandson of legendary New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner III. With that type of family legacy, a career in sports simply made sense.

“I envisioned myself being involved in sports business in some way,” Steinbrenner says. “It’s something I had a passion for just being around it and looking up to my grandfather and wanting to be like him. In a lot of ways I think that started my passion for sports business.”

2019 has already been quite good to Harding Steinbrenner Racing. On March 24th, the team picked up a win at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Not only was this Steinbrenner’s first professional win, it also made him the youngest owner to win a race in history of IndyCar. He describes this as his most exciting achievement to date.

In his time working in racing, Steinbrenner has found that the biggest misconception about working in the sport relates to the partnership side.

“I think a lot of people don’t have a full understanding of how difficult it is and how much time it takes to find commercial partnerships,” Steinbrenner says. “In the racing world, we’re working primarily on sponsorship money. We don’t get ticket revenues. We don’t really have many revenue streams independent of sponsorship money and prize money. So for us, how difficult it is and how much time it takes primarily to create that base for the partnership and how long a deal can take to make to bring sponsors onto the race team is just something you learn. It’s always a lot more difficult than people anticipate even coming from other sports in selling sponsorship.”

While there are plenty of other challenges that come with owning an IndyCar team, Steinbrenner’s confidence and abilities suggest that he is ready to face any more that may come his way. From his own personal experiences, his advice to aspiring sports professionals is to find ways to keep grinding through the busy or difficult times.

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Zoë White of the Atlanta Hawks

“When you work in the front office environment, there isn’t really much of an offseason,” Steinbrenner states. “What I learned is the offseason, for me, is the busiest time of the year because that’s where a lot of the money raising happens and all the hard work happens. When I feel like I’m getting overworked I have to remind myself to look toward the ultimate goal: winning the Indy 500 and winning IndyCar championships. That was a big factor in helping me sort of grind through the beginning of the team and the long off season.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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Meet the Rising 25: Andre Robinson of the Los Angeles Clippers

Currently a video producer in the NBA, Robinson takes pride in being a point of inspiration for young videographers and people in his hometown.

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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 Andre Robinson: video producer for the Los Angeles Clippers. The son of a college athletics administrator, Robinson was never far from the excitement of live sports as a child. Robinson then carried his love for sports and his desire to be a storyteller into his college career.

“As a kid, you follow the excitement of what your family and the people around you get excited about. So sports was definitely a part of my childhood,” Robinson says. “But I think the storyteller aspect was more so my route that I really wanted to take.”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Zoë White of the Atlanta Hawks

Robinson began his college career at South Carolina State University where he filmed social events on campus for various student organizations. He then transferred to Clemson University, where he took on an internship in video production with the football program. Much of the content that Robinson created for Clemson football centered around recruitment and telling the story of being a student-athlete from the perspective of being an African-American.

When his time at Clemson ended, Robinson moved on to an associate producer position with Raycom Sports in Charlotte before becoming Ohio State football’s assistant director of new and creative media. Following the 2017-2018 academic year, Ohio State football had more Instagram followers than any other college football team and had a 77% growth in Twitter followers that year. In October of 2018, Robinson made the move to California to join the Clippers.

Accomplished sports professionals will attest that it’s not uncommon to receive messages from people looking to learn from them. Robinson is no exception. He describes the highlight of his career as the opportunity to inspire other aspiring creatives, especially those back in his hometown.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that people look up to me,” he says. “Growing up, I never saw people pick up a camera. This kind of career never dawned on them. But then I go home and I look around and there are a bunch of people picking up cameras and trying to do video. My community was people who wanted to be an athlete or a rapper or just people with regular nine-to-five jobs. But I think that opened a new tunnel for people to say ‘I want to do something like what Andre is doing.’”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Travis Case of the Los Angeles Kings

For his greatest piece of advice to up and coming professionals, Robinson refers to a quote from one of his former coaches: Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney.

“Do common things in an uncommon way,” Robinson recites. “Studying a little bit more, being very attentive to people around you, nurturing relationships, giving a little bit more effort, putting in a little bit more time, staying that extra hour to finish that project, do one more review session. It will take you to places you’ve never been”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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Rising 25

Meet the Rising 25: Zoë White of the Atlanta Hawks

A Stanford graduate, White successfully made the transition to sports marketing after beginning her professional life in sports medicine.

Front Office Sports

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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 Zoë White: manager of marketing integration & operations at the Atlanta Hawks. The daughter of a basketball coach in the San Diego suburbs, White attended Stanford University with the hope of one day pursuing a career in the sports industry. She earned her degree in human biology but eventually decided to explore another side of the industry.

“I started working for Stanford Athletics in their marketing department and went to start looking for jobs in professional sports during my senior year,” she recalls. “I ended up finding a position with the Hawks and I had never even been to Atlanta before. I just thought I’m going to take this with both feet in and try something totally different and then here I am still today.”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Samantha Timmons of the USTA

White credits her family’s support in being able to make the switch from the medical field. She took well to marketing, beginning as the Hawks’ marketing integration & operations coordinator. She stayed in that role for about two years before being promoted to senior coordinator. Within the last six months she took over the Hawks’ marketing integration and operations team after internal restructuring. Growing into a leader within the Hawks organization is a great point of pride with White.

“Getting the opportunity to be a manager, I think is a really cool experience that I’m super grateful for,” White states. “It’s still a work in progress and I’m still learning a lot but I’m excited to see what we can all accomplish together.”

Moving across the country site unseen was something of a risk for White. The move, however, ended up being one of the best decisions of her life. Getting out of her comfort zone helped her achieve success.

“Coming from a small town in California and also going to college in California, I’d been kind of in this bubble my whole life,” White says. “My parents were really pushing me to do something different and get outside of my comfort zone. I’ve got so many great opportunities that I would have otherwise had. Of course you don’t want to be uncomfortable, but just push yourself to do new things and take on projects where you don’t always know what the outcome is going to be. I think that has always really boded well for me so far.”

READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Travis Case of the Los Angeles Kings

White’s key advice to the up and coming professionals is to not be afraid to reach out and learn from those who have been there before.

“Build relationships with your professors, talk to people, meet up with people, and do informational interviews with people that have the job that you want,” she suggests. “I think that is something that can be valuable no matter what career path you’re going, you’re going down. Just talk to them, not try to get something from them, but just try to learn. If you maintain those relationships, there will be opportunities that will come to you.”

Meet the full class of 2019 here.

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