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CincinnatiBengalsWade Martin, Senior Corporate Sales Manager at the Cincinnati Bengals, opened his presentation at the 2009 Follett’s Sports Business Forum with an engaging video of Jimmy Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPYs. While the speech is mostly remembered for the line, “Don’t give up, Don’t ever give up,” Martin highlighted an anecdote earlier in the speech where Coach Valvano spoke about “how to go from where you are right now to where you want to be.”

In highlighting this, Martin was stressing to the crowd to have a plan to achieve your goals, but to do so with an open mind. An Athens, OH native, his first job was at Miami (OH) University, a place he surely never thought he would work. Yet, he used this analogy to show the audience the importance of keeping an open mind. In the sports industry, there is no set to path to achieve your goals.

The presentation also stressed the point of staying humble and willing to do any job at any time. To do this, he used the football analogies that students should “mix the Gatorade, throw a block, and, in time, they will score a touchdown.

As far as what students can do while in school, Martin suggested they do not waste time, because there are plenty of others that will be working hard. They should also focus on an honest self-evaluation and experiencing events that are open to them.

In the end, students found Martin’s presentation both informative and practical, providing real world advice that can be applied right now and once they enter the sports industry.

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