Don't Drop the Ball: Sports PR
During this meeting members got to have a discussion with three public relations professionals in the sports industry. All three panelist offered great insight on how to succeed in the sports industry as a young professional.
Adam Liberman just completed his third season as the director of public and media relations for his hometown Akron RubberDucks, and has more than 20 years in sports media with 15 years in baseball. With the RubberDucks, he oversees all aspects of the franchise’s communications, including social media, community engagement, special events, and player-related media. Prior to coming to the RubberDucks, Liberman spent two years with All American Games, the parent company of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and 10 seasons with the Atlanta Braves public relations department. He has worked numerous major sporting events, including two NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Fours, and he headed up communications for the Akron Racers in its inaugural season in 1999.
Andrew Christopher is a two-time graduate of Kent State University; earning his Bachelor's in Advertising in 2013, and Master's in Public Relations in May of 2015. As an undergraduate, Andrew gained experience by serving as a sales/marketing assistant for local companies, Momentum Media and REDfish Promotions. Andrew served as a Graduate Assistant for both Michele Ewing and Stephanie Smith in his final year of graduate school, where he assisted Michele in researching the use of social media in internal communications. Andrew developed a community relations plan for the AFL's Cleveland Gladiators as his graduate capstone project. Upon graduation, Andrew accepted a Community Outreach Internship position with the Cleveland Browns, where he works with both the Cleveland Browns Foundation and Cleveland Browns Youth Football. With the Cleveland Browns Foundation, Andrew works to communicate with grant partners and donors on current and upcoming rebuilding projects in the greater Cleveland area. Andrew's Youth Football responsibilities include strategic planning, event coordinating, and social media management.
A 13-year sports professional, Sarah Jamieson is entering her ninth season at Quicken Loans Arena and third in her current role on the Basketball Communications Team. The group manages all media relations for the Cleveland Cavaliers players, coaches, staff and front office, which includes facilitating interviews with local, national and international media. In her position, Sarah also works closely with the Cavs’ Digital Team on team and player-related content. One of her primary focuses is also publicizing the team’s Community Relations efforts in Northeast Ohio. Sarah spent her first six seasons at The Q working primarily with the Lake Erie Monsters, the organization’s American Hockey League team. She joined The Q after spending two seasons at Madison Square Garden with the New York Liberty (WNBA). During her time at MSG, she was also able to be involved with PR activities of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and other MSG properties. Sarah has also worked as the Sports Information Director for the USA South Athletic Conference, based at Methodist College in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A 2002 graduate of Ohio University, Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in Sports Industry with a specialization in Journalism.
Stephanie Duffy works at WhiteSpace Creative as a public relations coordinator. As such, she supports the senior PR team with all aspects of public relations, special events and social media efforts. She received her BA in public relations at Kent State in 2011 and was a former PRSSA Kent president. Stephanie is a member of Akron’s PRSA chapter and a co-chair of the AAF-Akron communications committee. Additionally, she serves on the event committee for the Akron Zoo's Summer Safari and board of the Akron Chapter of the American Outlaws, a U.S. soccer supporters group.
Stephanie led our networking workshop with a PowerPoint presentation followed by a question and answer session. She began by telling us to start networking on our own campus by looking up and attending events and inviting friends. Stephanie also touched on the importance of attending PRSSA, PRSA, AAF and AMA meetings and how they can open you up to networking opportunities.
Stephanie gave us some advice on how to prepare before attending events. She said to research who is going to be at the event, find out their interest through their social media profiles and interact with them beforehand. By interacting with them before hand, whether it is replying to their tweets or reaching out to them and asking them a question, you are then giving yourself something to say when you approach them at an event, kind of like an icebreaker. Stephanie also explained the importance of cleaning up your social media profiles and making sure it reflects your personal brand. Your personal brand should also extend to what you wear to events, business cards and resumes.
When you attend networking events, Stephanie stressed on the importance of having your elevator pitch prepared. She advised us to make sure it doesn’t sound like a sales pitch. She also advised us to wear nametags and shake hands with every person we approach. After the event, follow up via email or send a thank you letter. You can also connect through social media or try to set up an informational interview to learn more about a company or position you are interested in.
To find Stephanie’s contact information look under the officers/advisors tab on our website.