Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - January 6, 2008
Inside Sales Consultant, Phoenix Suns
The second question for NBA Job Fair candidates is to answer in your application how you possess persistence in the face of obstacles. NBA Teams and many of our clients greatly value the individual who faced huge obstacles and found a path to success in spite of those obstacles. Here's Macrina's story.
He was a star. He started playing soccer when he was in kindergarten.By 3rd grade he was introduced to basketball. He played soccer, baseball and golf. He was a gifted, natural athlete. By high school Brandon was starting on the men's varsity team as a sophomore. He was 6'3" tall and revered. He would be a Division I player! He continued to play soccer, golfed in summer tournaments, and kept to his love of competitive basketball. He went to camps. He was destined. But in the fall of his junior year, just a few weeks into the beginning of the school year, on the soccer field, his chest got heavy. Was he was having a heart attack? He passed out and woke up hours later in a hospital. His lung had collapsed. 10 days he was in the hospital. By the time basketball season came around, he could only survive on the court for 3 minutes a time. He was out of breath. Deflated; Brandon was a star... no longer.
Not without a lot of soul searching and encouragement from family and friends, Brandon studied hard, applied to Division I colleges, but there were no coaches calling. His 3.8 grade point average he knew would get him into good schools. But his dream of playing in the NCAA tournament was gone. Why this when he had worked so hard? He'd been at it since 3rd grade! Was it only he who knew he had the talent? So he pushed himself harder physically, attended basketball camps, played his senior year, but still no one was calling. Where were those coaches now? Drifting late into his senior year, the coach from Division III Muhlenburg College called. He wanted him. It was a great school academically, and he was thrilled to be wanted at a great school to play college basketball!
He wrote for the school's sports section of the newspaper. He played 4 years of college basketball. Similarly, he worked at a mortgage corporation one summer, just like Ed Stefanski, now President and GM of the 76ers. And during other summers he worked for the Crystal Springs Country Club selling memberships. He took Dale Carnegie sales classes.
Muhlenburg college career office uses Experience.com software to access jobs for its students. It's there he saw a posting for the NBA/WNBA/D-League job fair in Chicago last March. Brandon applied for Experience.com to pay his expenses.
"They interviewed me by phone: 'Does a $15,000 salary scare you? Does being relocated scare you? Why do you think you'd be good in sales?' Why sales? I sold memberships at a golf course! I was good at building relationships with people. And they called to say I had won!"
Brandon wrote a blog for Experience.com about the NBA job fair. Several teams could see the persistence in the guy and he was offered and accepted a position with the Phoenix Suns as his starting point in his career.
"I didn't realize how much time you have to invest in making a sale. I'm glad I'm young, single and this is the only thing I have to do. It's a lot like basketball training. The hours, the practice, the persistence. What I value most, though is my willingness to learn. I can't believe how much I've learned in the training here at the Suns. We trained for 3 - 4 weeks every day when we first got started. I've learned to never start a call by asking someone how you are doing. I've learned to ask open ended questions. Most of the training was done by the inside sales manager and he did an unbelievable job of training us.
"I've come to recognize that the work ethic that I learned early on in sports is the difference. The skills to be successful in sports business are no different from being an athlete. It's competitive; you need the passion to work hard and you need to possess that 'x' factor. You have to be smart and get good grades in the classroom and want to learn. This job is in your head, not your body; it's about learning something every day! Then doing it!"
Congratulations, Brandon. You are a star!
- Buffy Filippell
"We think Brandon's been a solid mix in both sales and service."
--Drew Cloud, Vice President, Sales and Guest Experience; Phoenix Suns
What I do...
Brandon is responsible for selling season and group tickets to Phoenix Suns basketball games.
HOW I GOT HERE...
Phoenix Suns; Phoenix, AZ; 2007 -- present
Inside Sales Consultant
Crystal Springs Country Club- Hardyston, NJ; Summer 2006, 2006, 2005, 2004
Marketing and Sales Intern
Cart Yard Attendant/Player Assistant/Starter
American Federal Mortgage Corporation -- Flanders, NJ; Summer 2003
Post Closing/Archives Department Intern