WISE Los Angeles’ Evening with the Advisory Board event is an annual tradition that invites our most recent Women of Inspiration recipients to speak to WISE members on a topic of their choice. Always an inspiring evening, this year’s speakers touched on three subjects that are relevant to all women and men who work in the sports and events industry.
Shelley Smith, Reporter, ESPN
Have A Plan
Throughout her illustrious career, Shelley has won four Emmys, wrote three books, and won various awards including the Rainbow Sports Life Beyond the Playing Field Courage Award by Reverend Jesse Jackson. Despite the many highlights of her journey, Shelley shared that she did not always have an easy time on the job.
About five years ago, Shelley made an on-air flub that led to lasting impact on her ability to do live shots. As a reporter, this was obviously a major problem and things came to a head when her contract was coming to an end, without a renewal in sight.
Despite this obstacle, her team still firmly believed in her, so much so that they sent her to Dallas for training with a talent team. There, she was taught to be herself, to use her unique personality and sense of humor to succeed… And succeed she did.
Following training, Shelley made a plan for success and it revolved around being herself, no matter what. Slowly, she became more comfortable and natural. From there, her contract was renewed for another year… Then for years beyond.
In May 2014, Shelley was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though receiving this news was scary and stressful, Shelley immediately moved forward and formulated a plan. And once she got a plan together, she was no longer afraid.
“You have to get a plan, put one foot in front of the other, keep going in that direction,” said Shelley. “I am not afraid of anything anymore because I have a plan for everything and I feel very fortunate that I figured that out.”
Claudia Teran, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, FOX Sports & Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Fox Networks Grouper
How to Negotiate for Yourself Without Screwing Yourself
In her job, Claudia is responsible for a team of people that handle billions of dollars in negotiations. With over 20 years of experience as a lawyer, Claudia has dealt with hundreds if not thousands of negotiations and she understands that most people do not like negotiating for themselves, especially in a workplace setting. Through her years of experience, Claudia has her personal art of negotiation boiled down to 10 vital points:
- You are not alone – If this is a tough area for you, there are always other people you can talk to.
- Do your research, do the hard thinking, and be prepared – Sit down and think about what it is you want and what are you going in to negotiate for.
- Know yourself – Ask yourself these questions: What’s your dream? What makes you content? What makes you unhappy? It is important to know what your push buttons are.
- Know the job – Know what you’re looking for: money, title, flexibility, experience, and/or opportunity.
- Be flexible – Do not be set on anything and be open to other possibilities.
- People make decisions, not companies – Always read the room when you lay your case out.
- Negotiations are not therapy – Do not use them to fill a personal void you have.
- Do not blow up the building unless you’re sure you want to blow up the building – Although it is sometimes necessary, think about the damage that will be done. This is not a decision to make lightly.
- Don’t threaten to walk unless you’re ready to walk – The last thing you have is your word.
- Beware of the Joneses – This is the classic ‘grass is always greener problem.’ Don’t let yourself be influenced by things that may not be true and avoid looking at what friends/neighbors are doing.
“At the end of the day, always think hard about anything you are negotiating for,” said Claudia. “Have a big picture and something to aspire to and be flexible because sometimes, the greatest things can happen when you’re not expecting them.”
Renata Simril, President & CEO, LA84 Foundation
Igniting Your Inner Courage
From real estate to journalism, it seems there is no industry Renata has tried her hand in. However, it is her time serving in the US Army that has perhaps shaped Renata the most into the person she is today.
At 17, Renata joined the US Army as a way to one day pay for college and to gain experience beforehand. As she was getting off the bus to start her first day of basic training, she recalled the sheer panic she felt as the full weight of her decision finally hit.
It was too late to look back and Renata soon found herself waking up at four AM and falling asleep at two AM after a full day of training. About three weeks in, she had had enough and told her parents that she was coming home.
Her dad listened to her distress patiently and reminded her that she could leave, but she would not be welcomed back home. He reminded her about the commitment she made and how quitting this very first major step in her life would only do her harm. He had faith that she would succeed if only she kept at it.
Following this call, Renata decided to stay, and she thought hard about what it would take for her to succeed. She realized she had to embrace her fear and to walk with the faith that her dad had in her.
As graduation approached, Renata took part in a war simulation that literally pushed her to her limits. There were times her body felt it could not go on, but her mind urged her to just move forward one more step…
“Graduating basic training gave me the sense that there was nothing that I couldn’t accomplish,” said Renata. “I was grounded in my courage and continually learned to embrace my fears to persevere through any obstacle.”
Fear is something everyone faces on a daily basis, whether it’s a fear of public speaking or entering negotiations. Over her 25 year career, Renata has learned that courage is a muscle that has to be exercised every day – as such, we should all do something that scares us every day and we often grow most when we’re outside our comfort zones.
“Let my story be a guide that the more you do so, the more you learn to fear less, until you one day become fearless,” concluded Renata.