Monday, November 18, 2013

Speaker Spotlight: Rick Abbott

November 15,  2013: Grainger Hall, UW-Madison

            Recently, Sports Business Club had the pleasure of hosting a speaker event with Mr. Rick Abbott. Rick is currently the Vice President of Global Securities and Facilities at ESPN. Some of his primary duties include ensuring the safety of ESPN's 6,000+ employees and managing the 48 buildings that ESPN currently owns or leases. You can read his full bio here:
            During his talk with SBC Rick discussed the importance of Personal Branding. In your pursuit of creating your personal brand, Rick suggested taking the time to really think about what kind of career you want to build. He said, “until you own who you are and can explain yourself to others, you will never be able to get to where you want to be”. Self-reflection is an important part of the puzzle. Ask, “How am I portraying myself?” Then sit down and take the time to write out 3-5 words that define you. Rick posed the questions: “What do you think people are saying about you when you’re not in the room? And would you agree with those things?” Figuring out the answer to these questions may be easier said than done. Rick cautioned that your friends, while very important people in your life, will generally always tell you what you want to hear. Therefore, you need to also have people in your life that will be honest and hold you accountable. Seeking out a mentor and building a network of colleagues are good places to start. Also, because of the interconnected nature of the sports industry, Rick suggested joining LinkedIn. However, he cautioned that what you post on other forms of social media such as Facebook or Twitter will stick with you for the rest of your life. Be wise with what you send out on the Internet, as it will all have an impact on your Personal Brand.
            Once you land a job interview, the number one piece of advice that Rick offered was to think about how you will make yourself memorable and how you will leave your mark but be sure not to make the interview all about you. Rick said the easiest way to do this revolves around how you prepare for the interview process. He stressed the importance of first reading the job description of the position for which you are applying. Know under what circumstances the job is being made available. Make a statement like this: “In your job description I noticed you are looking for X, Y, and Z. Here’s why I think I can help.” BE THE SOLUTION TO THE INTERVIEWERS PROBLEM.  You then need to take the time to craft a resume and cover letter to match the job description. Rick offered the perspective that “for the first time you’re really doing ‘homework’ that could benefit you for the rest of your life.”
            Remember: the first job you get does not have to be the last job-- those days are long gone. Rick discussed that what you are doing in school might not directly correlate with a job opening or job description. He also touched on the fact that it is okay if you don’t know what you want to do right at this very moment. Ultimately, your interests and passions may take you further than anything else. With that in mind, he urged everyone to “Be willing to take risks. Trust yourself. Just raise your hand. You never know when you will hit the home run. You need to understand and recognize when you are in a ‘lucky’ situation and take advantage.” Quite simply, he said, “Liking people works. Interpersonal relationships are key. Good people get further.” Rick closed by encouraging everyone to literally and figuratively “sit on the front of your seat,” ready for action. He said, “Life outside of college isn’t as scary as you might think, but it is competitive, so get competitive, join in. You are going to get out what you put in.” 

Sports Business Club would like to extend a big THANK YOU to 
Rick for sharing his time and advice with us!

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