Atlanta Hawks’ Erika Shaw talks success strategies, skills essential for future business leaders


Erika Shaw, premium membership service consultant
Atlanta Hawks

What inspires you to show up to work every day?
The thought that I am setting a path and inspiring a younger generation of women to strive for careers that are male-dominated.

How did you determine your career path?
I determined my career path not only because I am an ardent fan of sports, but because I realized that sports breaks through the barriers of racism and prejudices for three hours of unified engagement. Sports are the primary activity that allows people to place aside their differences in race and religion and enjoy a commonality in their favorite team.

The sports management program was developed at the University of Memphis my sophomore year, when I officially declared my major. At the time, the program resembled the front office of many sports teams today, as it was dominated by males and a few African American student athletes. I was the only female in a majority of my classes. I would say my collegiate studies helped to prepare me for the work environment.

Describe the future skills essential to future business leaders and innovators?
The future skills essential to future business leaders and innovators include being adaptable, to be forward thinkers, creative and fearless.

Define innovation methods you apply to your business and life.
During my time with the Atlanta Falcons, I was awarded the Innovate Continuously Award because of the various programs I implemented to engage our Owners Club members. Working in account services (account management) for a sports team allows me to acquire an in-depth understanding what our premium members desire to enhance their overall experience. I am looking forward to having an opportunity to enhance the experiences with the Atlanta Hawks premium memberships as well.

Outside of work, I look for activities and events that challenge me and allow me to continue to grow and develop such as volunteering and my new workout, barre classes.

Describe goal setting methods you use and how you evaluate your success.
I set goals for the short term (quarterly) and long term (five-year plan). The smaller successes help me to continue to strive for the long term goals. I evaluate my success every quarter to either maintain my pace or adjust where needed.

Names three books that changed how you saw life and you recommend to others?
I would recommend reading my following faves:
1. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
2. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
3. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Explain why lifelong learning is important to you.
Lifelong learning is important to me because the world is always evolving. Education is the one tool we all have access to help us reach our goals and evens the career fields. Whether it is formal enrollment at a university or diligent research to start your own business, knowledge is a key element that helps to give you an edge on the competition.

What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
The three most important factors of being a successful woman are:
1. Know you’re worth it. – Never question if you’re good enough for an opportunity or “why you.” Humbly understand your worth.
2. Learn from your failures- Every successful person has had failures. Understand why it happened, retain it, and grow from it.
3. Celebrate your accomplishments- Recognize accomplishing your goals. Do something small for yourself and share the excitement. Your journey and accomplishments may inspire the person next to you.

Technology plays what role in your daily life?
Technology plays a huge part in my daily life as most of my communication is via email and phone. Most research into the NBA’s best practices are done via the Internet and phone conferencing as well. We also communicate many team updates with members and the media via Twitter as this is the fastest way to provide updates.

What social media or digital tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?
The social media tool that has made the biggest difference in my life would be Twitter. Although I don’t tweet very often, I feel that this is best way to communicate efficiently and effectively to the masses. Additionally, you are able to connect your Twitter account with Instagram and Facebook to allow your message to reach a broader audience.

If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
The one thing I would change about the world would be the cost of education. Over the past few years, we have encountered an increase in the college dropout rate and lower attendance due to the escalating cost of education.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
The one thing I would change about myself is the time it takes me to conquer my fears. I’m a fearless person, but I usually have to take a step back to evaluate the situation before taking the leap. I want to be quicker at trusting my gut and going for it.

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