A Corporate Lawyer Turned Sports Business Writer: How Kristi Dosh Followed her Passion to the Top of the Industry

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This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration

By: Adam White, @FOSAdam

Kristi Dosh, Founder and President, Guide My Brand

Throughout a person’s career they may change roles, they may change companies and they may even change jobs, but not often do you see someone change industries.

Kristi Dosh was one of those who changed industries, a change that has seen her go from a finance attorney to one of the most well respected writers in the sports business community.

For her, the journey to the top of the industry didn’t happen overnight, instead it has been an ongoing evolution, an evolution she never expected.

“I definitely never imagined that I would be where I am now. I am very much a planner and this was not part of my plan. Over the years, I have learned to go with the flow and that by doing that, opportunities may pop up that are better than the ones you planned for!”

Armed with a passion for sports and a unique and powerful writing ability, Kristi hoped to one day merge her law school experience with her love of sports.

“I started my career wanting to be an attorney. I always thought it would be great if sports were a part of my legal career, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary. The hope was that I would be able to combine the two.”

She would get her first taste of what it was like to combine the two while she was still in school.

“In my second semester of law school, I interned with the WTA and learned a lot from some really great people, but it wasn’t a place where I saw a long-term career opportunity. While I was there, I had an opportunity to speak with the Rays about coming to work for them. It sounded great, but when I found out what I would be doing on a day-to-day basis I knew it wasn’t for me because those tasks weren’t what I wanted to do as an attorney.”

“Saying you have a career in sports may sound glamorous but until you know what the day-to-day tasks of your role will be you can’t be truly objective about your decision.”

— Kristi Dosh

Due to her work with ESPN and Forbes, Kristi has been able to cover sporting events across the country. 

After finishing law school, Kristi landed a job at a firm and it was there that she started blogging, a move that would change her career and life forever.

“I ended up working as a finance attorney for a law firm in Atlanta. Since I loved sports so much, I decided to start blogging on the side about legal issues in sports. At the time, I had no idea it would change my life forever.”

She could have written a few blogs and given up, she could have been too busy to pursue her passion, she could have been satisfied with what she was doing, but she wasn’t and it was this desire to continue what she started that propelled her to the global stage.

“After I had been blogging for quite some time, I began to move up from writing for my own blog to writing for other websites. I stayed consistent with my blogging and I eventually wound up writing for Forbes. It was a great opportunity for me to get my writing in front of a much larger audience.”

It was through her position at Forbes where she made a connection with an agent that would help her make her next career move, a move that would see her leave her job as an attorney and end up in Bristol, Connecticut.

“By happenstance, I met an agent who, at that time, wasn’t my agent, but we struck up a good conversation and ended up staying in touch.”

“In a weird string of events, he was at ESPN speaking about another client and he happened to mention they were lacking a sports business reporter.”

“At the time, Darren Rovell had left to go to CNBC so they were without a full time reporter on that side of the industry. He told them that if they wanted to add one back that he would love to introduce me to them. I had been writing a lot at the time of the business side of college sports and because of this I had been quoted in many ESPN articles. When the director of ESPN.com recognized my name because of this, he told the agent that he would love to have me come up and speak with them.”

Although she would never go back to practicing law after working for ESPN, she credits her law background as a catalyst to her success.

“Beyond helping you develop better writing skills, law school trains you to think differently. It forces you to turn things around and look at all you do differently and as a writer that allows you to find loopholes and see perspectives that others may not.”

Another catalyst to her success, was the development of SportsBizMiss, her personal brand.

“For me, SportsBizMiss came about because I wanted to stand out in a very crowded blogging environment and also because I felt that I had a different angle and could offer more by pointing out the fact I was female. At the time, there weren’t many women who were writing about the business side of sports and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.”

By creating her own brand, Kristi has become one of the most recognizable figures in #sportsbiz.

“People now know me as SportsBizMiss before they know me as Kristi and that is something that no one can take from me no matter whom I work for or what I do.

No one is going to look out for you besides yourself, so developing that personal brand that you can pick up and take with you anywhere you go makes you that much more marketable.”

Knowing the importance her brand has played on her career, Kristi has made it a point to help others build their brands.

“It is so important to have that personal brand no matter how old you are or what industry you are in because that is the one thing no one can take from you.”

“A personal brand doesn’t have to be a moniker, it doesn’t have to be a nickname, it just needs to be you and what you represent.”

Beyond developing your own brand, she recommends that people looking to get into sports show those who are hiring that they can get the job done.

My biggest pet peeve is seeing people talk about their passion and that comes more in the cover letter than in the actual resume. I hate it when in their cover letter; people want to talk about their passion because there is usually nothing to back it up. I want you to prove to me that you can do the job at hand, not that you are the biggest fan. You need to take the time to understand what the day-to-day aspects of the job are and then use those to tailor your cover letter and resume.”

“My trick is to sit down with the job description and take a look at the bullet points and compare that with your resume. If you are applying for a job, your resume needs to prove that you have done those things that they require and that you have been successful at them.”

When it comes down to it, she wants the candidate to make sure that they have given the person doing the hiring all that they need.

“Don’t leave it to the hiring manager to connect the dots, connect them for them.”

From lawyer, to Forbes contributor, to ESPN, Kristi has had some of the “coolest” jobs in sports, but her book Saturday Millionaires is her proudest accomplishment.

“The book was really a product of the blog I run, TheBusinessofCollegesSports.com.

“After a few years of traveling around the country to athletic departments and spending time combing over every piece of their business, I knew that this insider knowledge was something I wanted to share with the casual fans who would never get the kind of access I had.”

“It was one of the best things to happen in my career. It was magical and it was something that I would have never imagined happening.”

As you can imagine, Kristi frequently fields questions about the success she’s had in creating her own brand and leveraging it for blogging and speaking opportunities and her books. And so she continues to reinvent herself, finding new ways to pursue her passions. In 2015, she founded Guide My Brand, where she represents entrepreneurs as a publicist and uses what she’s learned from building her own very public brand to help others do the same.

Clark Kent is Superman, Robert Parr is Mr. Incredible and Kristi Dosh is SportsBizMiss. While she may not have super strength, or the ability to fly, Kristi’s ability to write and passion for sports has put her in a league of her own, a league that she plans to stay in for a long time.

This interview was presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration