Brave your fear.

#13 Ann Rodriguez - Pro Sports' Creative Catalyst

Mar 07, 2018

Ann Rodriguez.
I am relentless.
I am rock solid.
I am wild at heart.
Be real.

Badass Quotes:
 “I was always good at selling things.”
> “I just appreciated that she was very busy.” 
> “Sometimes, the switch just goes off.” 
> “I wanted to leave. I wanted to take some time off. And I was scared to do it.” 
“I’m the friendly type. I’ve got that face. People come up and talk to me.” 
“I didn’t need the external validation of an award because I knew how it felt in the office every day and I knew how it felt in the stands.”
> “I seek those high-growth opportunities.” 
> “I’m kinda good in that ‘go’ mode.”
> “I had that hunger to create.” 
> “It is a brave thing to be real, to be honest about what works and what doesn’t.” 
> “I just love ridiculousness.” 

Podcast Intro:
Ann Rodriguez is a force in sports. In 2017, she was named to the “40 under 40” list by Sports Business Journal for masterminding the success of a major league soccer expansion team. In only its first year, Atlanta United, became the leader of the entire league for season ticket sales and attendance. Currently she is the Senior Vice President in charge of WBNA league operations. She is a public school girl from my hometown. She is my former college teammate and the nicest – really, the nicest, goodest, kindest soul – you could ever meet. She is also a boss. A lady. A collaborator. A listener. And the best kind of friend – the kind who shows up to cheer you on when it means the most.

Official Bio:
As Senior Vice President, League Operations for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), Ann Rodriguez oversees all on-court basketball operations, including playing rules, scouting, scheduling and venue compliance.  She also oversees the management of referee operations and the administration of player-related policies and programs. [more ...] -

Biggest Takeaways:
 How persistence got her the first gig
> The important of Ann’s “Math Camp” experience before business school 
> How leaving Under Armour was a hard – and brave – thing to do 
> Value of traveling alone internationally 
> Ann’s take on mentoring / role modeling 
> Role model is an opportunity, not a responsibility 
> Why accepting reality quickly is critical to success 
> Value of horses in Ann’s life 
> What moving 48,000 people in and out of a stadium is like 

Major Conversation Highlights:
 When/why she decided to work in sports 
> When the picture of a future in sports business emerged 
> The fear and the advantages of leaving your job without having another one 
> How she feels about being named to the “40 Under 40” list by Sports Business Journal 
> How she helped to create a vibrant and supportive community in Atlanta from scratch 
Ann’s advice to college graduates 
> Why starting your career with cold calls is useful 
> Ann’s 7-line Brave Pitch 
> Ann’s favorite failure 

Additional Links:
Stanford Business School
Atlanta United FC


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