HFA Q&A – Jim Andrews20 October, 2019
HFA Q&A – Jim Andrews
Jim Andrews, Secretary & Co-Founder, HomeField Alliance
HomeField Alliance’s ongoing content feature lets members and others get to know LGBTQ professionals in sports and entertainment. If you would like to participate, or have a suggestion for someone we should interview, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next up is HomeField Alliance board secretary Jim Andrews. After 31 years with pioneering sponsorship firm IEG, Jim is currently serving as a consultant to various sports and entertainment organizations, teaching sports marketing to master’s students at Northwestern University and seeking his next full-time gig.
1) What would you like HFA members to know about you that they couldn’t learn from your LinkedIn profile?
I’ve been blessed with a great husband, family, friends and career and I don’t take any of my good fortune for granted.
2) What is the best aspect of your current role?
Not having one! Although I would still prefer to work full-time for the right organization, I’m immensely enjoying the freedom of working for myself and having the flexibility to take on great projects and clients that resonate with me.
3) What is the biggest challenge you face in that role?
Letting the right people know that I’m available for consulting projects while conducting a job search at the same time.
4) What impact, if any, has your LGBTQ status had on your career, either positive or negative?
In the early years of my career, I did not share that I was gay with professional contacts outside of my colleagues at IEG. In a business built on relationships, I believe that had a negative impact because being inauthentic is a barrier to connecting with others. Fully identifying as gay has had the opposite effect and is a factor in any success I have had.
5) What is one thing the sports & entertainment industry can do to be more welcoming to LGBTQ employees?
We’ve come a long way in that area, but one thing I would like to see is more LGBTQ+ people in senior leadership positions. The visibility of someone like Rick Welts at the Warriors is tremendous. We need more LGBTQ+ leaders at the executive level to break the rainbow ceiling and serve as inspirational role models.
6) What advice would you give to LGBTQ sports & entertainment professionals who are early in their careers?
Among other things, be a sponge for information. Read as much as you can about this industry and related fields; speak to as many people as possible; and don’t stop educating yourself and networking until you retire many years from now.
7) Who do you look up to? (It doesn’t have to be someone you know.)
Entrepreneurs. I admire those willing to take the risks to advance an idea and grow a business.
8) What is the best piece of career advice you ever received?
It was actually to not put too much stock in other people’s advice, but to listen to your heart, be your own advocate and follow the path that speaks to you.
9) What is your favorite thing to do to de-compress away from work?
Leisure travel, running cooking and reading are right up there, but I find that often nothing allows me to unplug like watching one of my favorite teams (Steelers, Mets and Northwestern Wildcats) playing a meaningful game.
10) What are you currently reading?
I’m lucky to know some great writers, so I’ve just picked up two books written by friends: Five Windows by Jon Roemer and my first YA (Young Adult) novel, Me Myself & Him. While I’m clearly not a YA, the author is my close friend, Chris Tebbetts, and I’m thrilled for his success!