This week the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation hosted Rebecca Feferman, founder of the local sports and entertainment consulting agency The Fefco. Feferman graciously took the evening to speak with our fellows and a few guests about her unique journey into the world of sports and share her key takeaways from SXSports.
Feferman launched SXSports in 2014, and she credits the festival’s success to the many connections she made while working in entertainment and public relations and by using her passion for as her guide. It was her success with SXSsports that lead Feferman to start her own business where she works with clients in many different fields, including sports, beauty and even politics.
Below are just a few highlights from our Q&A session with Feferman:
Q: How can I make the most of working SXSW?
A: The good thing is you have a leg up because you’re young and people want to help you and they like to talk about themselves. It gets harder to get help when you’re older. That being said, I don’t think shaking hands and going to a bunch of social events to network is always a good thing. It becomes work and you’re hustling to meet everyone and you’re not really learning anything. So I would say ask them questions and make sure you let them know a little bit about you. Talk and really connect with them. If you can genuinely connect with 3-5 people and follow up and start a personal connection, it’s much better for you than going to a million networking events.
Q: How do you build a career in something you love?
A: You have to be passionate about it. You can’t sell something to someone when you don’t even believe in it. Follow your passion and make those connections. Connections have to be about authentic, non-transactional relationships where you really make an impact on someone.
Q: What piece of advice can you give to a budding sports professional?
A: Gain a broader understanding of the sports industry outside of your own little lane. I see so many people in sports with blinders on and all that they can see if what is directly in front of them. If I stayed in my lane and did not branch out, I wouldn’t have ended up in sports. Go out and do something you are passionate about, you never know where it is going to lead!
Feferman also gave our fellows some words of wisdom on how to succeed in their first jobs after graduation.
“Stand out, make an impact and be exceptional,” she said.
“Don’t put to much pressure on yourself to have it all figured out right now. You can’t and you won’t and if you do, you’ll get it wrong.”