How do you know what you want to be when you grow up if no one before you has paved the way? Well, that did not stop Jennifer King from chasing her dreams of coaching professional football. After a successful playing career in football, she made stops coaching basketball at Johnson and Wales and Dartmouth. In this episode she explains how current Washington Head Coach Ron Rivera gave her a chance to prove herself as an intern with the Carolina Panthers, followed by her current position with the Washington Football Team. Jennifer is the first African-American woman to be hired as a full-time coach in the NFL. We talk about why it's taken so long for women to get opportunities like these, what makes someone a good coach, and how important it is that our generation is doing away with the "good ole boys club" in sports.
From playing soccer and acting as a kid in LA, to covering the Angels, the Kings, the Women's U.S. National Team, hosting American Ninja Warrior and so much more, Alex Curry has found success in many ways. It's the "how" she found all of these opportunities that will likely surprise you. Heck, they will surprise anybody. In this episode, we talk about the importance of persistence, where her sense of self-confidence comes from, and how there's always an opportunity to be better. No matter what.
After spending the past 11 months interviewing and highlighting other incredible women in the sports industry, Amanda Borges, Creator and Host of this show, decided it was time to let you in on her story. Amanda found her calling early on during a high school internship with a local TV station. She pursued journalism and sport management in college and then went on to host radio shows, report on all kinds of sports, travel with an NHL team, host fantasy football shows, and much more. She's made stops at Yahoo Sports, the New York Rangers, 1010XL Jacksonville Sports Radio, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Genesis Communications, and IMG College. This episode digs into her past, gives a glimpse of her uncertain present, and highlights the hope she has for the future of her career.
As the first female to lead one of the PGA Tour's six global tours, Alex Baldwin can educate anyone on how to lead a team and how to do it with grace and respect. She started her career as a sports agent working for IMG, Fenway Sports Management, and CAA. After spending years representing professional athletes from all over, she committed to golf and dedicated herself to the practice of getting the best of the best on a big stage. In this episode, we talk about what it takes to be a good leader, she gives advice on entering into a management role without experience, focusing on relationships with people, and what she learned in 2020.
If you call her a dreamer, then you also have to call her a doer. Heather Pink is someone that most of us would put in the "she has it all" category. And she did. Until she didn't. She worked her way through the sports industry as a reporter, producer, director, social media manager and more. From small stations, all the way to the NFL Network. She's worked with NFL players and on-camera talent to have a hand in multiple shows you've seen on TV. Yet, there was a void. What if she went out on her own and started her own company? Well, that's what she is currently discovering.
What started as a delicious snack to get her and her former NFL player husband through their yearly body cleanse, has turned into a full time business. Erica Liu Williams created Gr8nola because she couldn't find granola that was healthy and also tasted good. And let me tell you, her granola is outrageously tasty. In this episode, we talk about her experience as 13-year-old swimming at the U.S. Olympic Trials and what that taught her about life as a whole. She gives advice on how to enjoy the process of whatever you do, and explains how to trust yourself when going after what you want.
Seven years ago, Tori Petry moved from Florida to Detroit to start a journey that would bring her so many different things-- cold weather, an amazing community of people, a plethora of stories to tell, and opportunities she will always be thankful for. As the Team Reporter and Host for the Detroit Lions, Tori's job requires her to tell stories about the team in a variety of ways, especially during a pandemic. In this episode, we talk about what she's learned about herself this year, traits we all should have to be successful in anything we do, and how she's helped the sisterhood of women in sports stay strong.
Have you ever had a really good idea and then actually brought it to life? If you're like me, that answer is no. If you're Ellen Hyslop, the answer is...well, I'm sure you know where I'm going here. As a sports fan, Ellen and her friends realized there was a huge gap when it came to fans and how they consumed their sports news. So, the three of them co-founded The Gist. Their mission is to level the playing field when it comes to talking and learning about sports. They're creating an awesome community of people, called Gisters, who come from all walks of life. In this episode, we talk about starting a company from an idea to now having more than 40 employees, creating company culture, becoming a leader, and so much more.
If you look deep into the soul of an entrepreneur, you'll find a few things-- tenacity, grit, assertiveness, a little bit of luck, and a lot of risk taking. Sanja Komljenovic embodies all of those traits and more. She is fierce. She is intelligent, and she is not afraid of overflowing her cup. After spending time with the Los Angeles Clippers and Nike, she went out on her own to start ONA Creative, a female-lead a boutique brand marketing agency. Not to ruin the story for you, but she is awesome and her business is also awesome, with big plans to expand.
Ever wonder what it takes to plan sporting events, big and small? As the Chief Operating Officer of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl 55 Host Committee and the VP of Events for the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, Claire Lessinger can give you a crash course. Using her playing and coaching career to her advantage, Claire has climbed to the top of the leader board as the queen of event planning for Tampa. Her biggest test is still to come, but she is enjoying every minute of planning The Big Game.
Renee Hanson grew up tall. After serving in the Army, she decided to start a clothing line for kids who need long in-seams, just like she did. So she founded Vertical Athletics and Bani Bands. Fast forward 10 years later, and she is now one (if not the only) female-owned brand with official on-field rights with the MLB for her products. Manufacturing in the USA, Renee makes non-stick athletic headbands, and as of recently, face masks and neck gaiters. In this episode, Renee tells an awesome story about Phillies player Bryce Harper, the importance of pivoting as an entrepreneur, and what she's learned along the way.
When Olivia Landis moved from her home state of Colorado to the Northeast to become the Team Reporter for the New York Jets four years ago, she didn't imagine she would get to use her platform in such an impactful way. Recently, as part of the team's in-house production crew, Olivia has launched a podcast about women in sports. She produces and hosts the show, talking with big-name women in the industry. She joined me to talk about her career so far, what her hope is for her podcast, and the importance of focusing on the here and now (something I know I needed to hear).
Kelly Brooks and Danijela Covic are Co-Founders of Quarter4, a startup that is the easiest-to-use, online predictive sports platform, incorporating AI and machine learning algorithms, as well as voice technology, to determine the probability of wins and losses and player vs player outcomes, in just minutes. My favorite part of their story (spoiler alert) is that it all happened on accident and now they are celebrating so much success. In this episode, we dive into what makes a startup partnership successful, having an entrepreneurial spirit in a corporate world, and how they predicted the 2019 NBA Championship using their own software.
Ashley Hart is the CEO and founder of a start-up called She Plays, the only daily fantasy sports platform dedicated exclusively to women’s sports. Their mission is to build the popularity of women’s sports through fantasy sports. According to Ashley’s model, fantasy sports have the power to bring engagement, TV viewership, and revenue to women’s leagues, and the fans have the power to make it happen. So, she started this company to do just that...she also has two podcasts that feature conversations with female athletes and influencers, and she is really making waves by creating this awesome community.
This past summer, Melanie Newman was hired as the first woman play-by-play broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles, making her only one of four active women in that role in the MLB. In this episode, we talk about all the "no's" that led her to this very important "yes", what several years in this industry has taught her, and how thankful she is for the opportunity to have a job that allows her to do so many different things like sideline reporting and hosting.
As a collegiate swimmer, Ashley Brewer didn't look far past her daily laps in the pool until a random internship introduced her to TV. She was instantly hooked and has quickly made her way from local tv to the national level, recently signing on with ESPN to host a show for their new app, Quibi. She also hosts a new weekly radio show for the network on Sunday nights. Ashley will be making her SportsCenter debut soon, which we talk a lot about. In this episode, we discuss the stigma surrounding personal and work life balance, what her goals are for the end of the year, why supporting other women is so important, and how being yourself is the first step to achieving success.
Growing up with an entrepreneurial spirit, Meghan Chayka knew she would one day start her own company. About 10 years ago, she saw a need for more analytics in sports, and so she co-founded Stathletes. Her company now works with 22 hockey leagues around the world, tracking data to help them win. Often the only woman in the room, Meghan is a force to be reckoned with. She does not have time for doubters, but she will make time to support other women and mentor young people who could one day follow in her footsteps. In this episode, we talk about how she started her company, what makes a great entrepreneur, why there aren't many women in sports tech, and what legacy she hopes to leave on this industry. She also gives really great advice on how to find inspiration from people around you, with a completely new perspective.
Growing up in LA, Jen Munoz has her parents to thank for driving her all over to chase a soccer ball. She knew from a young age that she wanted to play professionally one day, but she had no idea where that dream would take her. After years of perfecting her craft, she showed up to a random tryout for a team called Club America Femenil in Mexico. They loved her so much they signed her. Today, she lives in Mexico, playing soccer for a living, learning Spanish and immersing herself in the soccer culture there.
Her long-term goal is to create an organization that supports kids and introduces them to soccer, giving them resources to pursue it in college. Jen recognizes her own blessings and wants people to understand that athletes are more than just what they produce on a field.
Her dad is a football coach, her brother is a football player. Amanda Pflugrad grew up in a sports family and when she figured out that broadcasting was a career she could chase and be successful in, a whole new world opened up for her. She's covered a multitude of sports-- gymnastics, track and field, football, and basketball. Currently, she lives in Boston working as the Team Reporter and Host for the Boston Celtics. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to cover an NBA team in the bubble, while she's not. We cover the challenges of moving all over the place to make it in this industry and how important it is to make and keep female friends who understand the grind of sports.
Falling in love with NASCAR happened overnight for Kaitlyn Vincie. Well actually, all it took was attending one race and she was hooked. She wrote about the sport for her college newspaper, took internships, posted YouTube videos, doing everything she could to set herself up for a big job at Fox Sports where she works now, covering the sport she loves.
Kaitlyn is a mom of a 3-year-old, and currently carrying her second child. She thanks NASCAR for not only providing her an amazing career, but for also building her family. Yep, she met her husband through the sport, too. Kaitlyn is a pioneer for women everywhere, proving it is possible to create a life you love, covering a sport that not everyone is exposed to.
Growing up in a Notre Dame family, Lauren Jbara knew she wanted something different (no offense, Irish fans). She set out to carve her own path, one that included becoming a doctor.
Until, she realized that studying Neuroscience wasn't really lighting her fire. So, she switched her major to Communications and never looked back. She's since covered the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Pistons, high school basketball, and more. Currently, Lauren is the Colorado Avalanche Host and Reporter for Altitude TV in Denver. In this episode, we talk about what it's been like to cover the Avs' playoff run from outside the NHL bubble, what she enjoys most about her job, and the confidence she has in this team to win the Stanley Cup this year.
Her dream to be on a national stage came true, but it still didn't feel fulfilling. "When is enough, enough?" That's the question Niki Noto Palmer asked herself as she realized it was time to really look inward and decide on a shift. Growing up a boisterous child, she earned the "becoming a talk show host" superlative early on (in 4th grade to be exact). She took that and ran with it, covering everything from college basketball and football to hockey for ESPN, the ACC, the Atlanta Falcons, Fox Sports and more. She was living her dream of talking about sports on tv when she met her now-retired NFL player husband. When they started growing a family, Niki was faced with a decision she wasn't expecting-- should she give up broadcasting to create a stable household?
Although her childhood was very unique, Caley Chelios didn't think it was all that different from anyone else's. She grew up at hockey rinks, watching her dad play in the NHL for many years. Looking back, it's the reason why she's dedicated her career to the sport. However, just because you decide to enter a specific field, doesn't mean your dream job falls right into your lap. Caley knows that. She sent her reel to multiple networks and different people, getting random feedback and no job offers out of grad school. Then, a strike of lightning came out of nowhere. Sorry, I had to...Caley was hired as an on-camera Reporter and Host for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016 and has since expanded her role into the radio broadcast booth, providing color analysis for home and away games.
In college, Angel competed at a high level on the basketball court. After an injury sidelined her for some time, she knew she needed to find a way to keep sports in her life, even after the "ball stopped bouncing." That's where her broadcasting dream began to take shape. After an internship with Fox Sports Florida, she took a risk and moved to LA in hopes of getting a job in front of the camera. It didn't happen right away but she's thankful for the struggle--that's how she learned who she was and what she was fighting for. Today, Angel travels with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Sideline Reporter for Fox Sports Ohio. She is also a play by play analyst for the WNBA. In this episode, we talk about her responsibility to the fans, her devotion to the team as an ally, and the importance of the upcoming WNBA season because of the league's promise to fight for social justice.
When you zoom out and look at Amber Theoharis' career, it all looks so shiny and great. It's not until you dig a little deeper that you will learn that time and time again, someone else got the job she auditioned for. Luckily, she didn't let that stop her. I asked Amber how she made the jump from local TV to the national level and what she remembers most about her audition for NFL Network. She replied by asking, "what about all the other auditions that didn't lead to jobs?" That is something you don't always get to hear about. We see people on TV or follow them on social media, and we just assume they climbed the ladder with ease. Amber is here to remind us all that is not always the case, BUT it doesn't mean you can't chase your dreams. She fought for 9 years to make her dream come true. She's worked for Fox Sports, FS1, NFL Network, and Westwood One. She's covered Super Bowls, she's interviewed countless athletes, worked football sidelines, and hosted tons of live shows.
Growing up in a small town in Kentucky, Savannah Foster knew she wanted to become a sports agent, she just wasn't quite sure how she would make that happen. After moving to the west coast to try a year of law school, she decided to take a receptionist position at a full service agency representing professional athletes and coaches, called Athletes First. Year after year, she worked hard to prove she could do more. She grew into several roles in the company and now serves as the VP of Client Relations. She's also a certified NFL Agent who can hold her own in a negotiation room, even when visibly pregnant (yes, that actually happened).
Girls. Don't. Play. Baseball. Those strong and mighty words inspired Justine Siegal to not only play the sport at a high level, but they propelled her to become the first woman to coach in the MLB and dedicate her life to creating a safe space for girls in the sport. Justine knew at the age of 16 that she wanted to coach baseball. When she told her baseball coach at that time, he told her that no man would ever listen to a woman on a baseball field. Fast forward many years later, Justine signs on to be the first and only female on a pro coaching staff, and then becomes the first woman to throw batting practice for multiple MLB teams like the Oakland A's, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians, and more.
Whitney Holtzman always felt as if she didn't fit into a mold of any kind. She knew she loved sports and she knew she wanted to make a career out of it. She just didn't quite know how. After holding impressive roles as a reporter for ESPNW, a Social Media Producer for the MLB, working as an Account Manager for VaynerMedia, and more, she still wasn't feeling fulfilled. Knowing she had a bigger purpose, she set out to carve her own path, which is something not everyone is brave enough to do. She knew she had the tools to do it on her own, but she had no idea what sort of success, if any, would find her.
The NHL has announced a plan to return to play after the 2019-2020 came to an abrupt halt due to COVID-19. NBC Sports Host and Reporter Kathryn Tappen joins Amanda to talk about they are preparing for that from a broadcast standpoint and what players and coaches have expressed to her about their feelings. In this episode, Amanda and Kathryn dive into her start in local news, growing up and working in the Northeast for her entire career, and reliving all the amazing events she's gotten to cover so far--the Olympics, Super Bowls, Winter Classics, and more. Kathryn also talks about taking criticism from trustworthy people and knowing that even once you get to the top, you still have to put the work in to be your best self.
In an effort to learn how to be a better ally to my black friends, neighbors, and colleagues, I had an open and honest dialogue with my friend Kimberley Martin. Kimberley and I worked together at Yahoo Sports. She recently made the jump to ESPN to cover and write about the NFL. She's a talented journalist, a generous spirit, and an honest human. I wanted to go to her to speak openly about race, social injustice, and how each of us play a part in all of it. The goal of this episode is to encourage you to have your own productive conversations with people you love and and maybe some folks you don't even know.
This is a hard time for all of us. Some of us are out of jobs. Some of us are afraid to leave our homes. We are all going through A LOT. Not all of us have the ability to see the silver lining in tough situations. Rashida Gayle does. So much so, that she decided to use this time to start a business. With eight years of experience in marketing, community relations and PR under her belt, she has worked hard to establish herself as a go-to for professional athletes to grow their brand in extraordinary ways. Last year, Rashida made history as the first African American woman to independently represent MLS and NFL athletes, at just 27 years old. How incredible is that?
Katie’s personality is contagious, and her likable persona and expertise in her craft has enabled her rise to stardom quickly. In this episode, we talk about her time in local news, how she got the opportunity to move to Milwaukee to become the sideline reporter to cover the Bucks for Fox Sports Wisconsin, and what her interview was like...I won’t spoil it for you if you don’t know what comes next, but let’s just say things didn’t go as planned once she moved to Wisconsin...Katie goes into detail about how she interviewed for her dream job at ESPN, working for the ACC Network and what it was like to make a jump without feeling ready
Fielding is the Strategy Director of Global Sports Venture Studio at R/GA, working to help big sports brands and teams collaborate with startups. Dedicating her career to tech and innovation in sport, she has made stops at ESPN, Comcast and NBC Sports, working with clients such as Adidas, Dick's Sporting Goods, MLS, MLB, Fox Sports, and UEFA. In this episode, Amanda and Fielding talk about the importance of authenticity, pregnancy during a pandemic, and her unique name.
Cayleigh is a Host and Reporter covering the Houston Rockets for AT&T SportsNet. In this episode, Amanda and Cayleigh talk about what it's like interviewing big personalities and traveling during the season. She offers great insight into life as a reporter in the NBA, the camaraderie between other females around the league, and her relationship with her mentor, Doris Burke.
Marissa is the Senior Director of Social Media and Brand Strategy for the Arizona Coyotes. In this episode, they discuss how Marissa has had to adjust her social strategy for the team due to COVID-19 and how their perspective has changed. She talks about the growth of women leaders in the NHL, genuine ways to grow your personal brand, and how becoming a mom has made her more successful in her role with the Coyotes.
Kirsten is the Manager of Football Administration for Atlanta Falcons. In this episode, she talks about growing up in Canada, realizing her dream was to work in the NFL, and how she figured out a way to separate herself from others in the job application process. She has since held several impressive jobs in the league, even being one of the highest-ranking women on an NFL team at just 28-years-old.
Laura is a Host and Reporter for ESPN and SEC Network. In this interview, she opens up about things like when she learned how to be herself on camera, how she overcame an obstacle during her first MNF broadcast, her struggle getting pregnant and then adjusting to becoming a mom once it happened, how she navigated her pregnancy with a public career, and so much more.
Katie is an Offensive Assistant Coach for the San Francisco 49ers. As a former professional athlete, she had to learn to teach when she decided to get into coaching. On this episode, she talks about her dream to make it to the NFL. Her journey has not only led her there, but also to a Super Bowl appearance. Katie talks to Amanda about the attention she's received as the first female to coach in a Super Bowl, what the mindset of the team has been since the loss, & more.
Jessica is a Host and Reporter for Fox Sports Florida, covering the Miami Marlins and Florida Panthers. On this episode, she discusses what the cancellation of sports means for her, how she got her start in sports, and what she's learned along the way. She also talks about the importance of having confidence in yourself, even when it's hard.
Sage Steele is a Host and Anchor for ESPN. In this episode, she talks about her experience hosting a live show from a volcano, Amanda and Sage detail their first meeting at an airport, which leads to why we should all be kind to strangers. Sage details a time in her life when she had to choose between having a family and chasing her dream job--spoiler alert, she now has both.
Jamie Hersch is a Host and Reporter for NHL and MLB Network. In this episode, she talks about how the all-female show on NHL Network on International Women's Day came to be, how she started in news and transitioned to sports, and what it's been like juggling a demanding career with a new baby.
Alyssa Lang is a Host and Reporter for SEC Network and ESPN. In this episode, we dive into the uncertainty in all of sports because of Coronavirus, her start in the sports industry, & she sheds light on how she balances personal life with a demanding career.