Thank you so much for interviewing with me. It's very awesome to have so many that are interested in what I am doing so thank you for your support. It's really cool to have you participate and share your professional journey as well as your humanitarian journey with me and my audience. You have always stood out to me as being an exemplary young woman. Through social media, I have gotten to keep up with you and your life. You have done some remarkable things over the years.
What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing and management?
I like things that are challenging and allows me to be creative. Whether I’m managing an event or managing an individual’s career, I’m still able to be creative and think outside of the box.
I respect that. That's a lot of the work that I have been doing as an entrepreneur. Being creative but also being able to do it in a business and as a professional.
The best part of being on the management side is being a part of the process and seeing a project grow. To me, that is so rewarding. That's the thing that I love about it.
I agree with you on that.
You own Elite 8, which is a marketing and brand development agency for Sports and Entertainment. How did the concept for your company come about?
I met my business partner at a networking conference back in 2009. At the conference, they had everyone there from the General Manager of the Yankees to managers from all the top sports agencies and agents. Since then we have been glued to the hip. She's the only other female that I've met to this day who wants to be a sports agent and we just clicked. About a year and a half ago, she and I were talking and she proposed the idea that since we were both in the process of starting a sports agency and our visions aligned, that we should partner up and do it together. Elite 8 Marketing started a year ago and since then, we have been growing. It's been fun yet very stressful.
I love how your connection with your business partner began because you bonded with another woman in your professional environment and saw a reflection of yourself, another woman who wanted to be a sports agent.
What are three things that you do every day to contribute to your success that is non-negotiable?
I pray. I probably pray about five or six times a day. That's the first thing that I do. Also, I make a to-do list. If I don't make a to-do list, I am all over the place. The last thing, affirmations. I am always reciting affirmations.
What's been your favorite campaign or project to work on?
Hoop Dreams. Originally, it started as just a basketball camp. I started it in 2010 and for the first three years, we just did a camp in the summer. When I started bonding and building relationships with the children, I realized that they needed more than just basketball, so I slowly started adding other initiatives. We now have "The Cinderella Story", which is a prom fundraiser where new and used dresses are donated for girls going to their junior and senior prom. We also have a Teen Entrepreneur Conference. This was an important thing for me. A lot of youth don’t know what they want to do as a career and if they do, they do not have the resources or know individuals to gain insight from. Our first year with the conference, we had a panel of entrepreneurs from different industries such as tech, sports, fashion, and education. The panelist were all young, between 25-35 years old. We wanted them to hear everyone's story and path, learn how they went about getting internships, different organizations they were involved with during high school and college. These ideas came from having conversations with the children at my camp. We also started a Leadership Workshop within the camp, so Hoop Dreams has become more than just a basketball camp. Every year we have a different theme. This past summer, the theme was self-motivation, empowerment, and affirmations. Two years ago, was our first year expanding to a new city, which was Washington, D.C. Last year, we had Jordan as our title sponsor, which was major for us. The first year of Hoop Dreams I had 34 kids show up and by our third year we had 250, and now we are up to 400 kids per session. It's been a huge accomplishment. I can't take all the credit. I have a strong team of people, my board of directors and my coaches. My coaches have been with me since day one. That shows me how much they believe in me, but also, how much they believe in Hoop Dreams, what we are doing for the children, and how much they believe in giving back to the community.
That's beyond beautiful. What inspired you to create Hoop Dreams?
It's a combination of my love for giving back and my passion for basketball. I absolutely love basketball. I knew I wasn’t good enough to play the sport on a professional level. Hoop Dreams empowers and exposes youth from underprivileged communities to uplifting experiences. It’s an outlet for children to come and perfect their craft. I am from Philadelphia, I love Philadelphia, so I always try to do something to give back to my city.
That's awesome. I would love to come to the camp while it is in-season! I want to see the impactful energy live.
Do you coach?
I'll try. I'll definitely try but I don't play sports at all.
Do you work out? Our first forty-five minutes is strength and conditioning.
Yes. I do slight workouts.
That's good. That's enough.
Okay. That would be cute. That would be a nice segment, thank you for helping me to create some content. Let me write that down. [both laugh]
Me too, that's why I am writing it down.
Have you encountered any challenges in your career thus far?
Being a female is a challenge sometimes. I feel like we are always being tested in everything that we want to do, especially if it is in a male-dominated industry. When it comes to sports, people are so surprised when I say that I got my certification to be an agent for the WNBA. When people hear that, the first thing that they want to do is test my knowledge on what I really know about sports. They are very indirect in how they say it, but I know what they are saying and most times, I find out that I know more than they do. I know the business of basketball. I know the business of sports. I'll never forget this- I interned for an advertising agency and while talking with one of the owners, he told me "Don't waste your time having meaningless conversations with people. Sometimes, you have to be selfish with your time.” Just because people say 'Hey, let me pick your brain, let's connect, let's link up', doesn't mean you must accept. You're linking up with people who aren't truly helping you. They are wasting your time, they are testing your knowledge, and sometimes they are belittling you. If you aren't gaining any information, you aren't gaining any insight, they're not helping you. You must be good at reading bullsh*t. I think I am getting better at that.
I said something along those lines to someone recently. I said, "life is all about making decisions so you have to be really good at which decisions you are making" because you can find yourself spending time, having conversations and planning things that aren't even worth it at the end of the day. Once you become a good decision maker, you will be able to decide exactly where your energy and your time goes because it is way more valuable than anyone gives it credit for. Even when people tell you that it is valuable, words cannot explain how valuable it all is. That was very valuable advice that he gave you. How many people do not understand that? Not that it is a "bad idea", "good idea", "bad person", "good person", it's just not worth your time, doesn't suit your goal, your purpose, or what you are aiming to do, so it isn't worth it to spend the energy there. You can put that energy and time somewhere else where it really matters and you understand how much it matters.
Absolutely. I also feel like some people are more concerned about "who do you know, what do you know, and what's your next move?" and that's what I don't like. I am all for sharing resources and helping someone, but I am aware of situations where there is not true value in the interaction.
I completely understand. It's being smart in business.
What was your dream career as a young girl?
I wanted to be a sports agent since I was in the fourth grade. Things shifted for me when I interned with the 76ers in their marketing department and I worked with a sports agency called Creative Artist Agency (CAA). I realized that maybe I didn't want to be an agent anymore and wanted to explore managing and marketing because I love helping people and their brands grow. In 2014, I got my sports agent certification and had to ask myself if I was getting the certification because it was something that I truly wanted to do and was I passionate about or was it because I had been telling people that I wanted to be an agent for so long.
People would ask me every year, "Are you an agent yet? Do you still want to be an agent?" I felt like if I didn't get the certification, people would think that I was afraid or wasn't successful at it. What other people thought really mattered to me and it shouldn't have. I got the certification and then I realized that being an agent really wasn't what I wanted to do anymore, but I still wanted to work in sports. I had a couple of clients, but I wasn’t happy. Once I got over that hump of trying to impress other people and what they thought I should do, I was able to make that decision.
I respect that and understand exactly what you mean. I had a similar internal dialogue with myself about what my initial dreams were and what everyone expected because I put my whole life into those dreams. Now, This interview series is me expressing a part of myself that is new to everyone else's knowledge. I knew this part of myself but everyone saw me as only working in fashion, being a stylist and consultant. I had a moment when I realized that I wasn't sure if I wanted to dress other people as much as I wanted to dress myself. Now that I am getting older and I understand myself in so many other ways, I want to express that and I want to use it. If I make money from it, great, even if I don't, I am happy to have explored it and be able to express myself to influence people in a positive way based on the work that I am doing now. I had to figure out what my purpose was and what impact I wanted to make. Creating and fostering a network for us all to be able to grow with each other is the main purpose of me creating my brand.
I am all for it.
Yes. Women making women better because we need more amazingness to be shared.
What's the greatest advice that you have ever received from another woman?
The greatest advice I have ever received from another woman is from my mom. Her father used to always say to her "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." To me, that means standing for your beliefs and morals and having integrity. Whether you are dealing with friendships, relationships, religion or work. You have to know your self-value and worth.
That's impactful. It builds a great standard of living. Thank you for sharing.
What advice would you give a woman looking to grow a career in the sports and entertainment marketing and management industry?
When you finally get the opportunity to present yourself, whether it is a job interview or pitching an idea, make sure you’re on your A game. Some may say when you’re an attractive woman you get certain opportunities and in some cases, that is very true. The moment you get in front of that room command their attention and wow them.
It all goes back to language. If you can speak their language and they can understand yours, then that entices them to give you the opportunity because they know that you have done your homework to handle the opportunity.
What's your next career goal to accomplish?
I'd really love to open my own recreation center in Philadelphia within the next five years or so. I am learning the financial and operational aspect now. Ever since I started my camp, I've wanted a facility. I want it to be a multi-purpose facility, not just for basketball. In Philly, we don't have a lot of good recreation facilities. I spend so much money using other gyms for the camp, I'd rather have my own and give the opportunity to others to use it as well.
I love that! To create a recreation center based on your values and goals would be beyond amazing. Much respect to you. That's major. It's very ambitious, noble, and honorable.
Do you consider yourself a leader?
I do. I consider myself a leader in my community because of my nonprofit organization and all that I do to give back. One of the things that I believe in is surrounding myself with other people that I feel are leaders so I can learn from them and grow with them.
What's your favorite mantra?
“I am unstoppable. I am fearless.” Those are my two favorite affirmations. When I have a split second of doubt, I must say those out loud to shift my whole mindset. I think that self-motivation is key. A lot of people rely on others to motivate them and validate their success.
I love that and I am going to have to adopt "I am fearless". I would accomplish so much more if that were my truth. I must own it until it is me.
How do you describe confidence?
Confidence is believing in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you'll be able to accomplish anything.
What's your theme song or favorite song of the moment?
Congratulations Remix by Post Malone featuring Future and Quavo. They are each talking about their doubters, struggles and how they overcame obstacles.
I'll check it out. Maybe it'll get featured on one of my motivation playlists.
This has been so awesome and motivational. Thank you.
I think this is awesome. I love it.
That means so much to me, Nadia. Your contribution is bigger than I can find the words for. Let's continue to make this magic together.
Over the past 7 years, Nadia has worked in the marketing field in many areas such as sport, recreation, music, event planning and fashion. In 2014, she received her Sports Agent Certification in the WNBA. When it pertains to client management, Nadia has worked with athletes and music artists. She has worked for various sports agencies and franchises such as Creative Artist Agency (CAA), OTH Management, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Washington Wizards. During her tenure with these companies, she was responsible for providing personal assistance, marketing, brand development, public relations, speaking engagements, contract negotiation, and managing philanthropic initiatives.
In 2010, Nadia founded a nonprofit basketball program called Hoop Dreams Inc. The program host events that serves over 400 youth in the cities of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Hoop Dreams’ annual events consist of, A Cinderella Story (prom event), Summer Basketball Camp, Teen Entrepreneurship Conference, Daddy Daughter Bowling and various donation drives (back to school, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Her strong track record in corporate relationships can be shown through the corporate partnerships she has built with companies such as Jordan, NewEra, Coca-Cola, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Pepsi, the NBA, Mitchell & Ness, RU Villa and many more.
Nadia has done work for various nonprofit sectors where she was responsible for the strategic development and implementation of public relations, marketing, and grassroots promotions. With the help of her public relation services, events that she has managed has been showcased in publications such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News, The Tribune and broadcast on ABC, CBS, and FOX.
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