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Partnership Activation Challenges in the NBA with Melissa Silberman
28th April 2021 • The Work in Sports Podcast - Insider Advice for Sports Careers • Brian Clapp - Work in Sports
00:00:00 00:38:08

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Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning for and this is the Work In Sports podcast.  There are so many interesting conversations to have right now surrounding the abnormal sports world we are currently immersed in.  The other day I was asked during a panel discussion what I thought were the most important skills someone in the industry should be utlilizing right now.  Now, in normal conditions I say coachability, competitiveness and curiosity. Those are literally my three favorite terms when it comes to employment in any industry.  But right now I’ve had to adjust my thinking some — those three terms are still incredibly viable – but I’m going to throw three more at you.  Flexibility, improvisation and innovation. Let’s break these down a bit because they are all aligned, but subtly different.  We’ll start with Flexibility –  there is a narrative in every industry that we continue doing things because that’s the way we’ve always done things. Routine. History. Legacy decisions.   This is not acceptable now. The assumption that we just keep plugging along without change is flawed. We need to entertain ideas and we need to be flexible in their deployment. We need to be flexible in the ways we generate revenue, allocate resources and more.  Processes and objectives need to change.  Improvisation — this is the act of coming up with ideas on the spot.  We all need to open up and engage the parts of our brain that spark creativity and different thinking. We’ve been so long following patterns, that we need to spark the fire of improvisation.  We all need to consider the unconventional.  Look at high school sports — the NBA can have a bubble, the NFL can test daily, high school athletes are at higher risk of contracting and spreading. This is beyond doubt. That is not a political statement, it is fact. So when people say “have you considered playing in spring, have you considered a condensed schedule…have you considered …have you considered…” We have to turn on the thought provoking sides of our brain and say “we should consider everything” Innovation — chaos breeds opportunity — Where is it?  This needs to be the mantra of all businesses and employees — where is the opportunity, how can we shift, re-align, change products, change approaches, INNOVATE. Companies that changed their clothing textiles to mask development, innovated.  Sports business that created digital platforms and webinars and podcasts and virtual internships… they innovated! We need that spirit back. Innovate. Improvise. Be flexible. No one embodies that more than today’s guest. Melissa Silberman is the Director of Partnership Activation for the Atlanta Hawks — simply put, she works to make sure team sponsors have impactful campaigns that reach their audience with powerful messaging.  Well, a big percentage of that is through in-arena activations — the 21,000 crazy fans coming to State Farm Arena on game night ar seeing and engaging with sponsor activities. So how does Melissa and her team show their sponsor there is great value in associating with the Hawks, with only 3,000 crazy fans coming to game night.  Flexibility. Innovation. Improvisation.  Here she is, Melissa Silberman! Questions for Melissa Silberman, Atlanta Hawks Director of Partnership Activation 1: There are so many topics I want to get into today about your career and journey to the Atlanta Hawks – but let’s start with this, you got your Bachelors and Masters in Sports Management at the University of Florida and for the last 7 years have been working in Partnership Activation.  You clearly had a vision to work in sports – but did you choose Partnership Activation as your path, or did it choose you? 2: I’ll admit, I’ve been in the sports industry for 20 years but I don’t know much about Partnership Activation – so explain it to us all,