intersection of management and
marketing. There were a lot of challenges in a really male environment:
Everyone thought I was the assistant,
all the time, unless someone made a
specifc point to introduce me with
a title. My title was so important,
because if I walked in somewhere
with an athlete, people would assume
I was part of their entourage.
Especially early in my career, a lot of
wives and girlfriends didn’t want me
involved with the players. It was a
challenge I didn’t expect. I remember
a couple of specifc instances where I
had a meeting with an athlete and his
girlfriend and pitched an incredible
campaign and thought it went so
well, and then afterward I was told
she didn’t want me doing anything
I always felt I had to prove myself,
and go above and beyond to make
sure I was indispensable. But as a
result, there was never any balance
for personal life. I felt like if I wasn’t
there, or I wasn’t needed, things
would go wrong.
As a CMO, I saw a need for a platform
for athletes to be able to have a voice
and share stories in an authentic way.
Derek, having worked in one of the
country’s biggest media markets, saw
it too. We felt that trust has eroded
between players and reporters,
because so many articles are headline-driven these days, and a lot of athletes
I worked with were wary of sharing
their stories with news outlets.
I was ready for something new, and
Derek was starting a new chapter. It
felt like the right opportunity for us to
launch a company on the heels of his
retirement. We met with a bunch of
VCs, and all of them said: “So, you’re
telling me that you’re building a com-
pany that’s 100 percent reliant on
athlete contributions? Good luck with
that.” But then Derek introduced me
to Thomas Tull, who was the chair-
man of Legendary Entertainment, and
he got the concept right away, because
he loves sports and he knew about
content. He was our frst investor.
We launched the day after Derek’s
last game. Every day, we published a
new story: Russell Wilson wrote
about domestic violence, Blake Grifn
wrote about working for a racist boss,
the next week Danica Patrick wrote
about dating a fellow Nascar driver.
The more stories we told, the more
athletes wanted to share their stories.
I recently moved to L.A. to build out
the production side of the company.
Right now, we want to be diversifying
the way we tell athletes’ stories.
We’re looking at developing scripted
or unscripted video and audio content. Our revenue growth was 30
percent in 2017, and we’re going
to end 2018 with anywhere from
105 to 135 percent growth.
I’ve learned so much in the past
four years about female athletes.
Some of the problems that exist for
them stem from the fact that they
don’t have as much visibility. I want
to tell those stories: If you’re connecting to these players, more people
are going to want to watch them. If
more people watch them, their sala-ries will get higher.
Being inclusive and being diverse is
a huge priority for the platform in
general. It’s a challenge, because when
you’re growing—we started with 30
employees and now have more than
100—you feel a sense of urgency to
hire certain positions, but you want to
be thoughtful about whom you hire.
Now, I try to be a mentor to other
women: We always say, “How do we
send the elevator down?”
I think there are a lot more women
now in decision-making roles in
sports. You’re even seeing more
women on the feld, like Becky
Hammon, who’s on the bench with
the Spurs, and then the Mavericks
just hired their frst female assistant
coach, Jenny Boucek.
Very early on in my career, I represented a tennis player who would only
wear Adidas on the court, even though
she was signed to another shoe brand.
The night before Wimbledon, I had
to get a pair of Adidas shoes couriered
to me and literally paint over the
Adidas stripes so no one could tell.
The young female assistant who sent
me the shoes went on to become the
head of a sports league, and we’re
good friends now. Sometimes, we get
together and we just laugh. I mean,
look where we came from!
Early in my career, a lot of wives
and girlfriends didn’t want me
involved with the players. It was
a challenge I didn’t expect.
Fielding A New Partnership
“She had the courage and confdence
to leave a notable and established
job to pursue an idea she was deeply
passionate about,” says Jeter of Messler,
his business partner. “She was willing
to take that leap of faith.”