From the Halfpipe to the Boardroom: How Brittany Gilman Has Built an Agency From the Ground Up

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Brittany Gilman has taken what she learned on the field to succeed off of it. (Photo via Brittany Gilman)

 

Ever present on social media and always one to engage with her followers, Brittany Gilman filled her timeline on January 1, 2018, with a series of inspirational quotes, images, and well wishes directed towards her followers.

As someone who follows Brittany for updates on her company, BG Sports Enterprises, I was fortunate enough to come across those new year affirmations myself, during one of my daily Instagram scrolls. Yet, out of all the sentiments Gilman posted, there was one that stuck out to me, because I felt like it accurately, succinctly and eloquently summed up Gilman’s career in the sports and entertainment industry:

“Everything that you have gone through in your life, has prepared you for what is to come.”

Everything Gilman has gone through thus far in her life, a successful professional snowboarding career, a tenure as a Strength & Conditioning Coach at USC and Auburn, a Bachelor’s of Kinesiology and a Master’s of Biomechanics, a stint as a professional fitness model and about five or six other life-altering experiences has prepared her for the life that she’s currently living.

“I was always a multiple sport athlete. I ended up choosing snowboarding because it was more fun to me than any of the other sports. I have been an athlete my entire life. I come from an athletic family and a very driven family. At a young age, I had something in me that I couldn’t really describe and it was that drive that had me start snowboarding professionally when I was 17.”

During her snowboarding career, Gilman had to split her time and was essentially living two separate lives. On one hand, she was traveling all over the world as a member of the junior Olympic snowboarding team while on the other hand, she was pursuing a very intense Kinesiology Degree at the University of Colorado Boulder.

According to Gilman, the constant back and forth between school and snowboarding didn’t provide her with the opportunity to develop into the athlete she knew she could be. So when she was done with college, Gilman made the decision to snowboard full-time and moved to Mammoth Lakes, CA in pursuit of that dream.

However, Gilman’s life in Mammoth was not the life she had imagined. Upon her arrival in California, she switched sponsors and obtained an injury that drained her both personally and professionally. Wanting to take a break, Gilman realized that it was time to adjust her sails and move in a different direction.

As a result, Brittany took an opportunity to serve as an intern on the football strength and conditioning staff at the University of Southern California. That opportunity led her to Auburn, where she served as a strength and conditioning coach for a year, while she got her Master’s in Biomechanics. Gilman stayed at Auburn for a year before she decided to move back to California to pursue an internship opportunity with a sports marketing agency in the city. However, that opportunity wasn’t quite what Gilman had imagined for herself.

“The agency told me that they didn’t have work for me to do but if I wanted to show up and hang out in the office I could. I knew that there were better ways for me to use my time so I started brainstorming and that brainstorming lead me to start my own sports marketing agency in 2007.”

Although the opportunity to branch out on her own was exciting, Gilman admits that it wasn’t easy. So much so, that she even worked for free for the first three years of being in business.

“I would work with guys and assist with their marketing plans, but the guys I worked with at the time weren’t huge names so I couldn’t make a living off of that alone. As a result, I supplemented that work with different types of strength and conditioning / personal training jobs to get me through until I could sustain my life with my business alone. And now, here I am.”

Stacy Elliott, Brittany Gilman and Ezekiel Elliott at the ESPY Awards (Photo via Brittany Gilman)

And where Gilman is at now, is a fearless entrepreneur and the owner of a successful international sports marketing, PR and management agency, BG Sports Enterprises. The majority of BG Sports clients are NFL and Football (soccer) athletes; however, they cater to all sports, including NBA, MLB, boxing, track and field, and of course snowboarding. They also offer brand consulting to various companies as well.

Gilman sees her experience and unique approach as an advantage for her clients because unlike larger firms, BG Sports is able to provide its clients with the individualized attention that’s required to create ideal marketing strategies.

“We have a menu of services that we provide our clients and depending on our client’s objectives and needs, they pick and choose bits and pieces of the services we have in in our repertoire for their use.”

Brittany Gilman and Stacy Elliott at the NFL 2016 Draft (Photo via Brittany Gilman)

“I have been splitting my time between Los Angeles and London, 60/40, for the last year and a half. Prior to that, I made several trips to the UK and other places throughout Europe. I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time expanding my network, learning different cultures, exploring different industries and creating meaningful relationships. All of those relationships were developed with a lot of hard work.

The services that we implement most for our international clients are digital branding, digital monetization, international PR and brand development. These have come to fruition because of BG Sports’ dedication to providing continuous value and empowering our clients to live out their dreams.”

Up until a year and a half ago, Gilman’s company focused primarily on American Football players. However, she has now begun to turn her attention to the soccer players in the UK and has been employing innovative cross-marketing techniques to connect her NFL and NFL UK players.

“Last spring, we worked with the NFL UK and had Jarvis Landry come over and then we did a lot of stuff with the NFL UK. We visited Tottenham Football Club as well as Liverpool Football Club, and attended several other sporting events. Being able to work with the NFL UK has been quite the blessing. ”

This duality, between football and American football, has served Gilman well. She has been spending most of her time overseas and through her continued grace, resilience and some old-fashioned hard work, her clients and her company are starting to see the impact.

“We are growing really quickly as a company, which is quite the blessing. You can put a strategy in your head and think “this is what’s going to happen” with the company but rarely does it ever end up going in that way. But, in the interim, you have to be flexible and roll with the waves. And now the international component is growing very quickly and there’s so much opportunity there.”

And it’s that opportunity, coupled with her passion and her desire to give back and help empower athletes to lead their best lives and accomplish their dreams (both on and off the field), that keeps Gilman and her company moving forward.

“I see so many athletes that don’t have the ability to embrace and capitalize on the power and the potential that they have on and off the field. What really inspires and drives me is that I have the ability to educate them and give them the tools they can utilize for the rest of their lives.”

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.