Reprinted from Inc. Magazine, October 4, 2017, By Nichole Kube
“Simply, get to know this community and let it get to know you. There are so many people here that seem unreachable, but you cannot know until you reach out and try.”
In his own words – While in school at William Jewell, I completed six internships for five professional sports organizations (Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Sporting Kansas City, and the National Football League). During that time, I was honored by The University of Michigan Sports Business Conference with their inaugural BIG Initiative Award (2013), given to ten of the top undergraduates in sports business.
In 2015, I was a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City’s Most Wanted Class, raising nearly $11,000 for the cause through two exclusive auction packages, including a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Recently, I was recognized for outstanding work in activating our partnership with Anheuser-Busch, winning the 2016 Bud Light Partner of the Year award for the Chiefs.
KC Story – I often tell people I’m meeting for the first time my “boomerang” story. I was born right here in Kansas City. It has been our family’s home for three generations. It’s where my parents and grandparents grew up, and my paternal great-grandparents emigrated here from Greece in the early 1900s. Here they found the American Dream, opening a restaurant in the area that’s now the Power & Light District.
When I was six, however, my mom and I moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where my step-dad owned a small business. I spent the next twelve years of my life in Northeast Ohio before returning to Kansas City to attend William Jewell College in 2010. In the time since, I’ve graduated and started my career at the Chiefs. I also recently purchased a home, so I’m excited to settle down here in Kansas City, especially as my fiancée and I get married this fall.
A day in the life – It’s always different, and that’s what I love about it. Being on the “activation” side of our team in Corporate Partnerships, I get to work with current clients like Coca-Cola, Hy-Vee, and Garmin to ensure we’re creating, measuring, and communicating the value of their relationship with the Chiefs. I’m fortunate to work for a company with a brand that people are passionate about. Not many can say that, and on top of that, I get to use this platform to help make once-in- a-lifetime experiences come to life.
Legacy – Simply, I would like to be known for giving back to others, both individually and corporately. I’ve been so fortunate to have mentors in my life who have sacrificed their time and talent to help me advance. Having young people in college not even five years younger than me reach out for advice on their career path is nothing short of humbling, but it’s an amazing opportunity for me to pay it forward — much earlier, I might add, than I ever thought possible.
On the other side, as a citizen of this city, I also want to give of myself in community efforts as well through volunteering and board involvement. Over the last few years, I’ve had the chance to sit on great boards supporting the Kansas City Ballet and (my alma mater) William Jewell College as well as volunteer in efforts through organizational partnerships at the Chiefs such as Harvesters and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.
Whoa – They might be surprised that, given my profession, I’m not a huge sports nut. When I’m not working, I like to spend my time doing everything from dabbling in photography to taking in a Kansas City Symphony concert, hitting the antique shops at the West Bottoms and exploring new parks around town with my fiancée and her dog, a miniature labradoodle named Mildred (Millie, for short).
Protip – Simply, get to know this community and let it get to know you. There are so many people here that seem unreachable, but you cannot know until you reach out and try. Set up as many informational meetings as you can: coffees, lunches, in-office meetings. Be hungry and eager to get 15 minutes of someone’s time, make it easy for them, and always follow up (with a handwritten thank you).
I’ll never forget an email I received from a gentleman named Pete Abitante. 99% of people outside sports don’t know who he is, but they probably know his boss—NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. As Special Assistant to the commissioner, Pete has had an amazing career. When I interned at the National Football League, I got 15 minutes of his time, in his office, and I followed up with a handwritten note. A few days later, his response hit me and has stayed with me to this day. In recounting people who had sent him a handwritten letter, he only recounted two: Peyton Manning and myself. I was honored and now firmly believe that it’s the smallest details that can take you the farthest.