Tradition vs Evolution: Go Team….Go?
Many top-tier Div. I football programs fund the bulk of their entire university athletic departments, or at least support athletic programs at their schools that cannot or would not be able to support themselves otherwise. They often bring a significant amount of business to the towns that host their games as well. The impact is especially great in smaller cities.
In 2013, the University of Nebraska paid $2.1 million to the University of Southern Mississippi to move their match-up from Hattiesburg to Lincoln. This move increased the Huskers game day revenue by 14%, and brought an estimated $8 million to the local economy (forbes.com, December 2012). While Southern Mississippi reaps the benefits of the venue change, the local economy in Hattiesburg will not see any of the influx of revenue that it would have enjoyed from visiting Husker fans.
West Virginia paid $20 million to leave the Big East (a conference made up mostly of east coast teams, as the name would suggest) and join the Big-12 (teams based primarily across the central states), which had just secured a lucrative media contract with ESPN and Fox, to the tune of $2.6 billion. While television deals are a boon to conferences, schools individual earnings remain the driving force behind their overall financial success.
Teams are willing to eschew decades of tradition to enhance their economic futures. The opportunity for increased revenue and brand growth outweighed the decades of economic ties between teams and communities that benefited mutually from long-standing, yearly rivalry match-ups.
These efforts to expand brand awareness, whether through marketing themselves to recruits in new territories by moving to a more prestigious athletic conference, or expanding their fan base by endeavoring into new territories, shows that teams are willing to embrace non-traditional methods of evolving their business models in an effort to ensure continued fiscal success in the years to come.
New Grad’s Guide on How to Transition to the Real World
Everyone is going to give you “advice” and “tips” on how to get the perfect job out of college. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you my story about how I had absolutely no plan after college and eventually ended up finding my passion and working in a job I love. No advice, just experience.
The day I graduated was an exciting day! It was also a scary one. With peers getting jobs from their internships, I’d be lying to you if I didn't tell you I felt a little behind the curve. I spent 4 years with professors giving me “advice” that the competition is high today, and you need to be the best of the best in order to stand a chance in the real world. There was a lot of pressure to be employed quickly.
My story doesn’t start out with countless interviews and finding the perfect navy blue suit, (because statistically, you have a higher chance to be hired in a navy blue suit.) The truth is, I was at a party. I was talking with my fellow new grads about their new internships and jobs, which I mainly just listened to due to the fact that I hated the question “Hey PJ what are you doing now?” I met one of my friend’s older brother, who by chance was looking for a copywriter for his web development company. I said “I can do that!” By Monday, I had a job!! Part-time, but hey, I had an answer to the dreaded question.
The Copywriting Days
I worked on writing blogs, social media content, copy, and SEO meta descriptions for a small web development company. It was a team of four of us and I worked about 15 hours per week. The best part about it was the creative freedom I could apply to the work.
Eventually though, I found that I really needed something more full-time. I applied for a copywriter position at a big corporate web development company, and got it after the 2nd interview. This had me excited at first, my first “big boy” job was a huge national company. I saw myself climbing the ladder to CEO status, hopefully by the time I was 30. A long shot? Yes, but hey you got to dream big, right? Well that dream slowly diminished as I learned the difference between a small company and corporate. Simply put, I found my skills to be a lot more valuable outside of the corporate world.
I quit. Everyone told me I was being foolish to quit a steady job without another job lined up. I didn’t care. People also told me “your twenties are a time to screw up and bounce back”. So that’s exactly what I did. It felt like the right thing to do, so I took some time and re-evaluated what I really wanted out of a career. The bills never stopped however, and I was eating Easy Mac and ramen for a while.
Sometime later, I got a call from the first small web company about W2 information. It ended with, “Oh, so we were picked up by an ad agency, there’s a sales position open if you’re interested”. It just so happens that I just finished watching the movie “Yes Man” and I was all about opening myself up to new possibilities. I got the interview, made it past the second interview, and got hired.
My first day, I felt completely overwhelmed, but I surprisingly picked up the pace pretty quickly. This experience was different. I didn’t feel like I was doing meaningless tasks that no one else wanted to do. I was thrown into important meetings, large deals, and big clients all at once. After a while, you become comfortable in this realm. Before I knew it, I was the one hosting the important meetings.
I learned how to speak to potential clients, how to negotiate a quote, how to close deals, how to manage projects, how to work with a budget, how to produce results, and most importantly how to love what you do for a living. Working in accounts has been challenging and exciting all at the same time, and I feel like I have something that a lot of people don’t find in life, career passion.
So I didn’t get a prestigious internship that led to the perfect job. I made mistakes, opened the wrong doors, and fell into the right place. My only advice to someone stressed about graduation is to never be afraid to fail, because you will. You ARE going to make mistakes, so it’s better to learn to roll with the punches than to avoid the inevitable. Life throws curveballs and you can only plan so far, so make sure to never lose the courage to change, it could be the best change you ever made.
One Spark, Endless Opportunities….
Jacksonville could become synonymous with this festival and it could beckon innovators, philanthropists, community organizers, and more for years to come. If this event is as successful as I anticipate it will be, our One Spark could rival several other festivals simply because of the uniqe crowd-funding opportunity that exists. Everyone will be vying for a piece of the $250,000 pie, but if that weren't enough, investors like our own Shad Khan have pledged massive amounts of money to innovators and fledgling companies. One Spark has electrified social media and the entire city has been buzzing about it for months. It's truly a testament to the power of networking. I foresee the next festival really upping the ante and bringing even more money to the table and even more international talent to the shores of the First Coast. I'll see you there, April 17-21 in downtown Jacksonville! Be One Spark.
Never Thought I’d Be Jealous Of Kansas City
This service, which goes for $130/month for TV and internet, was originally only available in Kansas City, MO/KS (of all places) and has received such wild fanfare that Austin will be next. It's assumed that the roll-out will be implemented in Texas even faster than it was in Kansas City due to the city's higher population density in Austin. However, this makes me believe that Jacksonville, the country's largest city in terms of square-mileage, won't exactly be on the short list to receive the service. This seems to be fitting skepticism considering we can't even get decent broadband coverage at our location in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. SO, this is the point in my blog, where I will crank my megaphone to 1,000 and urge my fellow residents of Jacksonville to write the mayor's office, write your senator, and pester Google incessantly to have the “Bold New City of the South” live up to its namesake by incorporating Google Fiber throughout our fine city. The potential applications for this service are endless and could change the way we do business, watch television, disseminate information, educate our children, and so on….Let's start a grass-roots movement to be the first city on the eastern seaboard to employ this paradigm-shifting technology! OH, and before I forget…..that Google stock that is north of $800/share that people think will be tapering off or even becoming cheaper….THINK AGAIN.
The Giving Tree
I'd be lying if I said I remembered the first time I met Dale Regan. She was already a key figurehead at the school long before my arrival, and our encounters were brief during my time as a student. It was not until I returned to the school 4 years later, seeking employment at my alma mater, that I really got to know the woman behind the position.
Episcopal opened its arms to me, as it does to everyone, and by offering me my first “real job”, continued to educate me through my adult years, as the location did through my childhood. Episcopal is a community where you couldn't turn a corner without bumping into a friend, confidant, mentor, or simply a smiling face. It's a place that feels like home the minute someone utters “Nice to meet you”. A place I will always attest to raising me to be the educated and accomplished woman I am today. Which makes sense, as it was an environment that commended creativity, encouraged education, and really begged you to be the person it knew you could be.
As I mentioned before, there are few early memories I have of Dale, but the later ones, where she was my mentor and confidant are the ones that stand out. You couldn't pass by this woman without hearing a kind or encouraging word. She would often call me into her office just to see how I was doing – and her timing always seemed impeccable, as though she knew I just needed to talk. I vividly remember my last two conversations with Dale. The day I told her I was leaving Episcopal to pursue other job opportunities and then our very last conversation at a fund raising event for the school shortly before she left us.
You know that a mentor will always be a mentor when you tell them you're resigning and their first response is “good!”. I was terrified to go speak with Dale, and tell the woman who gave me the position that I wanted to try new things and grow through new experiences… I was afraid I would be letting her down, or disappointing her. But, the words she said, “I'm glad you're leaving” just sent my head into a whirl! Of course, her comments were slightly in jest, and followed with, “don't get me wrong, I'm sad to see you go, but get out of here and go make your mark on the world…” When she said, “yes, you are done growing and learning here. I agree it's time for you to move on, and I'm happy to see what you do next!” That's when I knew I truly met a remarkable leader. Although Dale will not get to see my path she had inspired, it's more to the point that it is still her inspiration that leads me to where I am today and will be tomorrow. She encouraged me to take chances and seek out growth opportunities. To never settle and keep reaching for the sky.
The last time I spoke with Dale, she told me she would see me again, and she followed this sentiment with “Episcopal gives you roots and wings”. The stability to set a secure footing, but the tools and inspiration to expand your potential to reach higher heights than you ever imagined. Dale herself is the school's roots and its wings now. With her connection to the 800yr old Great Oak, and the beautiful plaza dedication today, to the wings she wears… She is in our past, our now and is in our future as we all aspire to the greatness she always knew we had.
“Once there was a tree…. and she loved a little boy. And everyday the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide-and-go-seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree…. very much. And the tree was happy.”
– An excerpt from The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.
Dale, you gave us all you had, and you were always more than happy to do so! This excerpt is the perfect reference of the day, and the Great Oak, the perfect symbol of your love and sacrifice for the school, to which you gave your life.
Thank you Dale, for everything.