Test Drive My Job:: Atlanta-Based Sports Publicist Eddie Rhodman, Jr.
Name: Eddie Rhodman, Jr
Current City:Atlanta, GA
Job Title: Personal Management-Publicist for Athletes
Company Name: Destined for Success Management, LLC
Length of Time in this Role: 7 years
Twitter Handle: @d4sm
Mopwater: Describe your path to PR. How did you wind up in this field?
ER: I didn’t take the typical route most publicists choose. I was an athlete in school and always knew that I wanted to continue my connection with sports, though. I was originally a biology, pre-med major at Morehouse College because I wanted to work on the business side of sports medicine and was told by a professor that [sports medicine] was the best way to go. After participating in various summer programs I realized medicine wasn’t my passion. Morehouse didn’t have any programs with a sports focus, and while there was no passion for medicine, the desire to be in the sports world remained. Consequently, I created my own plan of study, internships and work that would lead me to the business side of sports. At first I worked with kids whose coaches didn’t seem interested in helping them get to the next level (i.e., college). I helped scouts find undiscovered talent and helped coaches identify diamonds in the rough- and I did it for free. In addition to doing it for the love of it, I was building a network. I eventually started researching ways I could help professional athletes, interviewing former pros about services they wished they’d had when they played, etc.
For two years I networked and approached various companies with my findings- in hopes of finding a position. Unfortunately, I found more rejection than anything (which was bad for my bank account), but in the process I’d assembled quite a rolodex and established important relationships. Eventually, at my parents’ suggestion, I realized the need to start my own business. It’s been a tough road, as any entrepreneurial endeavor is, but I continue to work hard and appreciate the support of loved ones. And of course, I keep God first- I’ve been blessed.
Mopwater: What aspects of the industry are you most excited about?
ER: I’m most excited about helping players expand their horizons beyond the field. It’s great when they’re known for what they do when the helmet is on, but it’s even more fulfilling when I’m a vehicle for their being able to help their communities and achieve their other dreams.
Mopwater: Describe a typical workday including your work hours. What do you do all day?
ER: Normally, I work out in the morning. Then I check emails, make pitch calls, research client opportunities and track placements. I may also have meetings to attend or conference calls to make. In the evening, I usually watch games for research purposes and what sports media are talking about. This way I can give clients input for interviews. During the off-season I book clients for events, red carpet appearances, photo shoots, etc. And then there’s networking, networking and more networking.
My days tend to vary, but I work 24-7. I get teased, and people call me the email King because I send business emails all times of day and night. Basically they’re always asking me “when do you sleep?”.
Mopwater: Describe your office setting and workplace.
ER: My office is small but pleasant. Most of my team works remotely, so it’s perfect for me. As far as my company culture- it’s kinda like a family. To quote Jay-Z “It’s a secret society, all we ask is trust”- and a serious grind. We keep it fun, though.
Mopwater: What are your favorite and least favorite PR tasks and why?
ER: I love phone and face time- I’m at my best when I’m pitching and networking. There’s something very rewarding about finding new opportunities and information for my clients. Press releases are another story… I HATE writing.
Mopwater: Who are some of your (or your organization’s) clients, and what kind of projects do you take on for these clients?
ER: My clients are athletes, organizations that do work in the community, businesses and entrepreneurs. My job is to get the word out about them- mostly via the media. That also includes planning events, scheduling appearances and creating strategic partnerships.
Mopwater: Describe a recent project where you produced results of which you’re really proud.
ER: A client’s foundation donated $25,000 to a single mother of four who was affected by Hurricane Katrina on the Montel Williams. Then he followed up to make sure she got a house, kids in school and still keeps in touch regularly.
Mopwater: What is your favorite thing about this job?
ER: Well there are two. First, there’s seeing the joy the clients and their loved ones experience when their exposure and brand awareness starts to grow. Then there’s the moment the client understands that it’s not just about the money for me and that I really do care about their welfare as a person in the short and long term.
Mopwater: Do you think you’ll be in this position in 5 years?
ER: God willing. If my work continues to speak for itself, more doors will open and my company will continue to grow.
Mopwater: If you could work on any PR or marketing project of your choosing, what would it be? ER: I’m already doing it. I’d be helping my clients’ foundations and community efforts to partner with major brands and in the process, bring more awareness to the plight of the less fortunate among us.