Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gosh, I really want to be an owner?"
Females, we hear you! Yes, there may be a higher mountain to climb for us and that is why for this week's Female Sports Professional, we wanted to dedicate it to a Alana Glass who believes... "To me ownership is the opportunity to fulfill my entrepreneurial spirit. Create something from nothing. Be my own boss. Be innovative. Inspire and shape tomorrows athletes. Entertain fans. Renew the competitive spirit. Facilitate teamwork. Make a difference. Dream big. Now that I have a vision for the future, a professional degree and work experience to match I am ready to say I Want To Be An Owner."
What did she do? She took many steps and shares them on her site where she is the Founder and CEO of http://www.iwanttobeanowner.com. She is also launching Kennedy Clay Sports & Entertainment this summer so make sure to stay tuned for that! http://kennedyclay.com.
How long have you been in the sports industry?
I have been involved in sports industry over the last 17 years. My roles have changed throughout the years – athlete, intern, and CEO.
Please give us a little background on how you got to your current role:
I am a passionate leader within the legal profession and an innovative sports entrepreneur. It is no secret that I am driven and determined to be an owner of a professional sports franchise. I am the founder of Kennedy Clay Sports & Entertainment LLC and IWantToBeAnOwner.com, a sports blog featuring “The Stuff” you want to talk about in professional sports from the next generation of sports ownership.
Launching in June 2011, Kennedy Clay Sports & Entertainment, LLC is dedicated to bringing bold and innovative leadership to professional sports. Driven towards acquiring a majority or minority stake in a professional sports franchise, Kennedy Clay’s primary focus is to assemble an investment group that will secure equity and debt capital to achieve this goal. Kennedy Clay is committed to transparent entrepreneurship, integrity, sportsmanship, player and fan loyalty; key components to building a championship franchise.
Kennedy Clay’s secondary focus centers on athlete consulting. An athlete’s discipline and performance in their sport is a directly related to their life off the court or field. Kennedy Clay is devoted to helping athletes build a professional game plan to get the best out of their careers.
I received my Juris Doctor degree and LL.M. in Intellectual Property from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2006 and 2008 respectively. In addition to my legal degrees, I am a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota’s College of Agriculture Food and Environmental Science in 2002 where I earned a B.S. in Animal Science. Go Gophers!
How did you learn you wanted to get into the sports industry?
In 1997, I received an academic scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota. Along with studying at “The U” I was also on a mission to walk-on to the Gopher Women’s Basketball team. Just four years earlier after a suggestion from my father I started playing basketball. I ended up loving the sport and everything about. I approached basketball the same way that I approached other projects in my life. I went to library and checked out books and videos about basketball. I studied the game. I played on my high school team, competed on the AAU circuit, and went to basketball camps.
One summer I went to the University of Tennessee to Coach Pat Summits’ Girls’ Basketball Camp. While at camp that summer I played my heart out and asked for pointers from current and former Lady Vols. At the end of camp that week I was given the “Lady Vol award” from the coach leading our team. My coach said that I came to camp and “played with what I had, asked for help, and was the type of player that Coach Summit was looking for.” I was astonished that I was selected for the award. I’m sure that coach has no idea the impact that her words had on my life. In just 60 seconds I decided that I would play college basketball. I knew that my goal was ambitious and would be tough, but anyone with children knows that nothing can stop a determined teenager.
While playing basketball at Minnesota, I knew that playing professional basketball wasn’t for me. I tossed around the idea of coaching or maybe being a general manager. I didn’t like the idea of either of those positions. What did excite me? I was excited by the idea of being a professional sports owner.
To me ownership is the opportunity to fulfill my entrepreneurial spirit. Create something from nothing. Be my own boss. Be innovative. Inspire and shape tomorrows athletes. Entertain fans. Renew the competitive spirit. Facilitate teamwork. Make a difference. Dream big.
Was there a time or situation that made you second-guess your path?
My journey at “The U” started off with a little bit of disappointment. I didn’t make the team after my first walk-on tryout. However, I was given the option to continue on with the team as a student-manager. I accepted that role and put my entire energy into being an asset and contribution to the team. The manager role was challenging and at the same time rewarding. I was able to travel with the team, as well as occasionally participate in drills. While I was fulfilled and happy as a manager, I still never gave up my dream of being on the roster. After three years of serving as a manager I finally made the team on my fourth try. It was absolutely incredible being a student-athlete. I didn’t play often, but when I did it was a treat to be out on the court living my dream. I even scored a couple of points and I was able to do it in front of a televised audience and my “four biggest fans” – my family. My dream had finally come true.
Please let us know who your mentors were/are on your journey.
There are so many people that I admire and look up to. My parents have been my biggest mentors and source of inspiration. I am also inspired by so many strong women in the sports and entertainment industries – Oprah Winfrey, Robin Roberts, and of course the female owners within the WNBA.
Do you think there is a negative ring that automatically lies around females within the sports industry since it’s a male dominated industry?
No, I don’t think there is an automatic negative ring when it comes to women and sports. Yes, it is still a male dominated industry, but women are breaking down barriers and stereotypes each and every day.
What tips or advice would you give to a female wanting to enter the sports industry?
My biggest piece of advice is to go after your dreams, and don’t stop until you reach them! At the end of the day passion and desire is what separates those that think they can and think they can’t.
What would you say to the men who don’t see women as being on the same level when it comes to the sports industry?
I would tell them to stop and take a look around. Some of the brightest and talented women work in professional sports.
Have you had a personal experience where someone doubted you and you proved to him or her that they should support you?
I haven’t directly proven anyone wrong. However, I’m sure there are a bunch of people out there saying “how did she do that?”
If there were one thing you could change about the sports industry, what would it be?
I would love to see more media and television coverage of women’s professional sports, especially women’s basketball. The WNBA is so competitive and the league deserves more support.
What is your favorite sports moment?
I will never forget meeting Sheryl Swoops at the 1996 Summer Olympics. That was a magical summer and a huge turning point for women’s basketball.
What is your biggest accomplishment to-date in terms of your experience in the sports world?
Playing Division I basketball is one of my biggest accomplishments. It was a dream that was nearly impossible, but I went after it with passion and determination.
I am also extremely proud of launching my own blog and sports & entertainment company. I had the choice of waiting for someone to give me an opportunity, or make one for myself. I think the later was the right way to go.
What are your favorite sport sites online?
Do you have a favorite player/team?
University of Minnesota Women’s & Men’s Basketball.
Detroit Pistons. I truly miss the Detroit Shock and I can’t wait to see professional women’s basketball in Detroit again.
Favorite sports quote?
“The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda
Any advice for the LadyBallers and or fans?
Always go after your dreams!