Day 37: Speakers Series Highlights from MSBA

Kris Haynes 2013

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As I write this blog, our summer with the Manhattan Sports Business Academy has surpassed the mid-way point.

On one hand this fact is upsetting because with everything we’ve experienced and learned thus far, I really don’t want the program to end.

On the other hand, I’m enthusiastic and motivated for the final stretch of our MSBA experience, knowing that we have another month of amazing opportunities to continue this educational process.

I truly look forward to developing more as a sports business professional and putting to work some of the knowledge we’ve acquired in these next few weeks.

We continue to have an incredible Speaker Series and each guest has provided great insight. With all of our speakers I try to find similar qualities these people have in common as a way to outline a general guide for “success”. A couple of our recent guests both expressed the same idea which resonated with me and that is the necessity of risk-taking. After listening to Andy Krafsur, Co-Founder and CEO of Spira Footwear, he really inspired me with his willingness to step completely out of his comfort zone in an effort to pursue a passion. Despite being a successful founding partner of a law firm, Andy ventured into the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship with the desire to revolutionize the athletic footwear industry. Andy assured us that this enthusiasm and vision must accompany any serious risk, and that the challenge that comes from it motivates him every day.

Another one of our speakers, Jeffrey Hayzlett, the self-titled “Global Business Celebrity” and former CMO of Kodak, imparted a similar view on risk. He told us that some of his most significant professional accomplishments came when he tried new things and took educated risks. Jeff guaranteed us that if you take a risk and it doesn’t work out, “no one will die”. This simplified perspective clicked with me because it really exposed how irrational fear can inhibit personal and business development. I took away from Jeff the notion that assertive and bold choice will be rewarded, and if not, continue with that same passion with each new opportunity.

One of my favorite experiences of the summer was our trip to Brooklyn to meet Brett Yormark, CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center. A day after probably the biggest trade in Nets history, Brett still took the time to share his story and some of his core values, something we all appreciated. My biggest takeaway from Mr. Yormark was his insistence that success hinges on a vision of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. He described his initial employment with the Nets and how he envisioned being CEO one day and the necessary steps it would take along the way to reach that goal. Brett helped me understand that vision is essential and that goal setting is vital in the process of turning a vision into reality.

These final weeks of MSBA will be equally, if not more enriching, to our development; I look forward to applying what I’ve learned to these upcoming events. This last month will also be a time to strengthen and create new relationships, a key part of the MSBA experience. I know that soon enough we’ll be down to our final days and I’m eager to make the most of the time we have together.