"Changing the Game"

A Newsletter For and About LEADERS at Every Level in the Sports Industry

In This Issue
A Note from the President
NetWorks Spotlight Interview
In Their Own Words
NetWorks Rising Star
Career Advice
Small Business Profile
NetWorks Sports Recommended Book
NetWorks Sports Mission Statement
A Note from the President

Hello Game Changers,

I hope that each of you enjoyed a relaxing and rejuvenating Labor Day Weekend with friends & family!

Another special issue of "Changing the Game" for you this week as we catch up with long-time entertainment industry executive and the CEO of the new HBCU Network, Curtis Symonds as he embarks on the launch of an amazing project and a rewarding endeavor for he & his team.

We also caught up with some talented young professionals who are doing great things in their respective industries.

We hope that you continue to enjoy our newsletter and find something new to inspire you to do great things in your own career.

As always, if you haven't already, make sure you sign up for the bi-weekly newsletter.  Also, don't forget to share the newsletter with your co-workers, peers, friends, and family.   

Help us make a difference in someone's life by inspiring them to pursue their dreams!  Enjoy!

All the best,
Angela Taylor Signature
Angela Taylor

President, NetWorks Sports Consulting


NetWorks Spotlight Interview
NetWorks Spotlight Interview with ... 

Curtis Symonds

CEO, The HBCU Network

Written by Tracey Savell Reavis 



Curtis Symonds
Curtis Symonds, CEO - The HBCU Network
Are you ready for some football? SWAC or MEAC Conference football? Then get ready for blanketed coverage, as the new HBCU Network, set to launch later this month, will air a full slate of games such as the Howard vs. Morehouse rivalry, and more. And we have network CEO Curtis Symonds to thank for it.


Symonds is a cable-broadcasting and marketing veteran, who has been an executive producer, a VP and a COO for such companies as BET, ESPN and the WNBA, in a career that spans more than 25 years. He wants to bring attention to the 105 historically Black colleges and universities situated in 20 states mostly across the mid-Atlantic and south. He's hoping to capitalize on the fact that no one else is providing programming on HBCUs for an HBCU audience. 


Aimed at African American students, young adults and HBCU alumni, the 24-hour cable channel will provide sports, entertainment and original programming, and help create awareness of the culture of HBCUs. In addition, the schools themselves will hold a 20 percent interest in the channel, providing incentive for its success. Symonds, an Oberlin, Ohio, native hopes with this month's 'soft launch', and some much-needed grassroots support and word of mouth, the channel can count 10 million subscribers by the Feb. 2012 official launch.


We caught up with the busy executive, who's been collecting a ton of frequent-flyer miles traveling between his home in Fairfax, Va., and Atlanta, Ga. where the cable channel is based. Symonds talked about how passion, sweat equity and confidence led him to this opportunity at this point of his career.


Read More of our NetWorks Spotlight Interview with Curtis... 


In Their Own Words Former Athletes Succeeding in Business

In Their Own Words profiles former student-athletes who have leveraged their experiences on the field, court, and in the pool to buoy their professional careers.  They've had success in the classroom & in their sport, and now are enjoying tremendous success in various sectors around the world.

In Their Own Words with Romone Penny

Romone Penny
Romone Penny

Another success story from John Rice's Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) program, Romone Penny grew up in Minneapolis and as a result of his academic & athletic success now runs with the elite in Washington, DC.


In 2002 & in partnership with the MLT Program, NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett (then with the Minnesota Timberwolves), handpicked Romone to take part in the inaugural program under his 4XL initiative. Penny was one of two students who participated in a weekend-long immersion into the business aspects of the NBA.  That experience, coupled with his stint playing on the hoops squads at Florida State and American University, has served as a strong foundation for his current success as a finance executive with Ernst & Young.


In this edition of In Their Own Words, Romone tells us how his days as a student-athlete have guided his career in the finance sector.



What is your current title and how long have you been in this position?
I am currently a National Tax Associate Rotator at Ernst & Young in Washington, DC. I transferred to EY's National Tax Division in November in 2010. I interned with E&Y in 2007 and had worked with the organization in Business Tax Compliance since 2008 prior to moving into my current position.

Tell us what your specific role is with the organization?
I assist the National Tax office with Accounting Methods and Inventory. In this division, we focus on what is currently impacting business operations, and we're asked to anticipate future political, legislative and regulatory changes. We help companies prepare for the issues that are likely to have an impact in the future. We provide our national EY offices and clients with a deeper analysis of congressional and IRS actions. A normal day for me includes extensive research and formulating advice on complex technical issues, and reviewing to EY's national practice offices, and reviewing tax accounting methods applications.



NetWorks Rising Stars - Talented Future Leaders Looking for Employment Opportunities

NetWorks is committed to supporting young professionals looking to get their foot in the door in the sports industry.  Our team has received an extraordinary amount of support throughout our careers and are truly impressed with the generation of young leaders who are ready to help take the sports industry to all new heights.  If you know of any individuals like this, please let us know about them.  If you are in a position to hire or recommend these NetWorks Rising Stars, please contact us and we will put you in touch with them.  They are our future!

Today's NetWorks Rising Star is Shalynn Leonard

Shalynn Leonard
Shalynn Leonard

"Shalynn is a very talented individual with tremendous experience in marketing and player relations with the NBA.  She is someone who is willing to go the extra mile to make sure that all aspects of a project have been taken care of and is interested in continuing to learn & develop her leadership skills.  She is passionate about the sports industry and will be a tremendous asset to any organization."
--Angela Taylor, President - NetWorks Sports Consulting 

Name:  Shalynn Leonard

College:  Norfolk State University (Undergraduate) and Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Manufacturing

Degree(s):  Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.  A.A. Apparel Manufacturing Managment

Resume Available:  Yes, upon request (send email request)

More NetWorks Rising Stars w/ Shalynn...

Career Advice

8 Quick Networking Tips for your next event


At parties, seminars, and other group meetings you attend whether you are employed or not, you'll have opportunities to network with a number of people.  Here are a few basic tips for handling those occasions:

  • Start a conversation, go up to someone you don't know and introduce yourself.
  • Collect as many business cards as you can comfortably carry.  Make sure you have enough of your own business cards to dispense as well.
  • Avoid too much talk.  Have a strategy for what you want to say & learn.
  • Don't wait for someone to suggest what he or she can do for you; propose how you might help your new contact.
  • Don't talk to one person too long.  If a conversation gets stale, end it gracefully.  If the conversation is productive, make an appointment for drinks or lunch and move on to another person.
  • Don't spend time with people you already know; instead introduce them to your new contacts.
  • Set goals for yourself; during each networking event, try to meet a certain number of people.
  • Always begin and end conversations with a positive statement.

Everyone can be a great networker. Practice makes perfect, so make sure you make the most of any situation that presents itself!


NetWorks Sports' Small BusinessProfile

The NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile is a brief vignette that provides a closer look at companies founded by individuals who have been involved in the sports industry at some point in their career. These business owners will share their journey as an entrepreneur as well as insight for those of you interested in starting your own venture.

Name: Jay Mayes


Title: President


Company Name: Black Sheep Consulting


Company Website: www.thebettersheep.com


Blog/Twitter/Facebook:  www.twitter.com/JaysBetter



When did you start your company and what was your inspiration for starting it?
I started Black Sheep Consulting in late 2010 after what I like to explain as my "Jerry Maguire Monument". After over 7 years working on the business side of professional sports and moving across the country 3 times to work my way from a part-time intern with an NFL team to a Corporate Executive with a NBA franchise I suddenly, became underwhelmed with the direction of the professional sports industry and specifically with my role in professional sports. Over my years working in the sports industry, I had become pretty good at creating programs that helped my clients sell their "stuff" to fans and consumers. Many of the programs I created focused on ways to generate more revenue for my clients.

More on this week's Small Business Profile...
NetWorks Sports' Recommended Book

This week's NetWorks Sports' Recommended Book is Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.


ReworkAs with many busy corporate executives and small business owners, finding time to read for leisure is a challenge.  Despite the challenges we all face in carving out valuable time to do something that is relaxing & edifying, every now & then you come across a book that offers a refreshing new perspective on an aspect of your life that you have dedicated an inordinate amount of time.  Not surprisingly, we all have a lengthy list of books (or authors) that we want to read when we have a moment.


Rework is one of those books.  Recommended by a close friend, Jennifer Azzi (Olympian and current Head Coach at the University of San Francisco) a year ago, it was easy to go online & order the book immediately with the hope that I could find the time to dive into the book at some point.  The first few pages of Rework were so fascinating that I immediately went out and purchased copies for friends & colleagues who I felt would be inspired by reading it as well.


The best thing about Rework is that it isn't your typical business book that dispatches career advice that we have all heard incessantly.  The authors actually challenge you from the jump and want you to get a bit uncomfortable with your normal way of thinking or approaching your life and carer endeavors.


Rework, written by the founders of 37 Signals (online platforms for CRM and productivity tools), is another powerful book that can be read from cover to cover in one sitting.  As the title suggests, the authors want to compel readers to "rework" their old methods of doing business and challenge what other standard business books suggest that you spend an inordinate amount of time on (from business plans to hiring staff).  Over the course of these easy flowing chapters, they share their advice for rewriting the rules we have all learned "should" help lead us to successful business endeavors.


If you are an entrepreneur, this is a must read.  But the book's lessons aren't limited for those who are looking to venture out on their own.  The simple strategies & rules are applicable in any situation and for anyone who is willing to buck the system & think outside of the box a bit.  Many times, we find ourselves operating under the same principles over and over and it takes a new voice to awaken our creativity.


After reading the book, you may not be compelled to follow all of the advice, but you will certainly look at things differently.  If you are interested in a new perspective on how to move forward with your business and are willing to challenge the way you currently do things, you'll enjoy this new and unique guide to reworking your business!



NetWorks Sports Consulting's mission is to provide customized and comprehensive strategic consulting & marketing services that will assist every client to effectively position themselves in their respective markets with the optimal goal of helping them to accomplish their stated short-term or long-term objectives while incorporating a social component to the project.

About "Changing the Game" Newsletter

The Changing the Game Newsletter profiles minorities at various levels throughout the sports industry (high school, collegiate, professional, and international) who have impacted the sports industry through their leadership and those who have leveraged their experience as student-athletes to impact their careers & their communities.  Changing the Game is published twice every month.


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Vol 1, Issue 4

Angela Taylor


NetWorks Sports Consulting

Today's Video Spotlight:
This week's favorite video is Jerome Bettis in a PSA for Dick's Sporting Goods & PACE program aimed at supporting concussion testing in schools.  A brilliant strategy by Dick's!

Click on YouTube Image

Jerome Bettis Commercial: PACE

Curtis Symonds

Movie - Remember the Titans 

Music - Jazz

Musician - Grover Washington, Jr.

Quote of the Week:
"There are no traffic jams along the extra mile." 
~ Roger Staubach
Sports Poll of the Week:
With Texas A&M's departure for the SEC imminent, should Texas stay in Big XII or should they go elsewhere?

Upcoming Events:

espnW 2011 Women + Sports Summit (Invite Only) 
(September 26-28, 2011)
Marana, AZ

IMG Sports Marketing Symposium
(October 5-6, 2011)
New York City

(November 9-10, 2011) 
New York City



Athletic Business Conference

(December 1-3, 2011)

Orlando, FL


Contributors in this issue:

Exclusive Travel Opportunity

CWOE Globe

Spend 10-days/8-nights traveling through Spain with WNBA Star Candice Wiggins

For more information 

Book Promotion:

Purchase a copy of SuperParenting: Raising the Next Generation

SuperParenting: Raising the Next Generation

Click the book to find out more information about SuperParenting a program designed by 2-Time WNBA Champion, Olympia Scott & her mother Dr. J Parker Scott.

NetWorks Sports
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Arlington, VA 22206
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