University of North Carolina

Anna Folwell

University of North Carolina
  • Executive Project Manager, Home Team Sports
Where did you go to school and when did you graduate? What was your FOX Sports U project about?

I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 with a BA in Journalism, and second major in Media Production. Our FOX Sports U project focused on highlighting FOX Sports Carolinas’ strong ties to local markets through a campaign for the 2010-11 College Basketball season. Our theme was “Destination FOX Sports Carolinas,” a campaign about making it to the game – at home on the screen – and paying homage to the traditional college sports rivalries in the Carolinas.

 

What is your current title – what job responsibilities fall under this role?

Currently, I serve as the Executive Project Manager for Home Team Sports, a division of FOX Sports Media Group. My responsibilities are tied to our EVP, Craig Sloan, and include a wide range of engagement areas including orchestrating client events and company training summits, to helping streamline our internship and hiring processes across the six offices, and maintaining our season ticket inventory across MLB, NBA, and NHL seasons.

 

How did your time working on a FOX Sports University project help pave your career path?

After the FOX Sports U class, I was fortunate to land an internship with FOX Sports’ regional marketing group in LA the following summer. I was able to see our campaign come to fruition before being aired during the following College Basketball season, which was an eye-opener in terms of the amazing amount of work and unseen branches of each department involved in producing a campaign.

 

From relationships developed during the summer internship, I was able to keep in touch with the folks in the department and started working full-time after college as the group’s Marketing Coordinator, where I posted for two years. My relationships built through the company during this tenure and during my time at FOX Sports U, allowed me to shift roles and location into the HTS Sales team in New York as the Executive Project Manager.

 

In effect, FOX Sports U landed me a valuable internship, which led to a full-time job in a tough market, and then to a promotional transfer within the company to the Big Apple!

 

What was the most important lesson/skill you learned in working with Fox Sports University?

The most valuable lesson I learned during the project with FOX Sports U is that good intentions are only fruitful if the impact matches those intentions. In academics, we often get touted for ‘a job well-done’ or ‘I can tell you put a lot of thought into the paper,’ or ‘your effort shows’ phrases in feedback. Working for a real-time client, FOX Sports, we were absolutely supported from the FOX team in fostering ideation and development of our campaign. If the idea or execution strategy did not make sense for the client, we had to start over on that aspect of the campaign or work our way backwards to embark in a new direction. This transparency from FOX Sports allowed us to see that the impact on the sports’ fan experience is what matters to the audience, and therefore is what matters in creating content and campaign strategy. This lesson has been invaluable in my few years since in the workforce – the ability to put myself in the audience or consumers’ vantage point to see if the impact matches the intentions.

 

What skills or traits would you consider vital for anyone entering the sports and entertainment field post-college?

Number one trait hands-down is integrity. May sound cliché, but the ease in which you can be transparent about your work and intentions is a predictive indicator (for yourself as well as others) of the quality of work and level of ingenuity you are putting forth. If you can’t be completely honest about what you are accomplishing, and how you are approaching each challenge that falls under your scope of responsibility – you need to take a serious look at your working methods and understanding of your role.

 

Number two skill is humility. And I say skill because humility, like all good traits, can be trained and toned. Coming out of college, I tried to make mountains out of molehills as far as how much experience I had in X,Y,Z categories. The intention (going back to what I learned with FOX Sports U) was to show my employer or even peers that I took the job seriously, was capable of anything they dared to throw my way, and was trying to build a foundation for my career. Looking back, I realize that my attempts at seeming seasoned were thinly veiled and the impact did not match the intention. In general, no one is seasoned at the age of 21-years-old, regardless of how many internships or blue collar work experience you have under your belt. Being able to act confidently in your ‘green’ status, and express gratitude that you are basically a sponge absorbing every influence around you, is more genuine and relatable for your potential mentors, current and future employers.