The Rising 25 class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.
Today, meet J’Ron Erby: a graduate of Wayne State College and a current graduate student at the University of San Francisco.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Erby majored in mass communication and journalism at Wayne State and became the sports editor of the school paper during his junior year. Erby also contributed to Black Sports Online during his time in college. Erby eventually leveraged his writing skills to break into public relations, with internships with the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers as well as a temporary position with the Super Bowl LII PR staff.
In September 2018, Erby became the Content Marketing Coordinator with Alliance of American Football, a position he stayed in until the league ceased operations the following April. Although his AAF journey lasted only eight months, Erby describes his time with the league as one of the proudest accomplishments of his career.
“When I got to the AAF in September, there was a team of two in marketing,” Erby says. “The league’s Twitter account was at about 10,000 followers and the Instagram account was at about 14,000. We eventually added Dom Lewis to our team as head of social and Christopher Stoney as the creative director. Working together, we were able to elevate the Instagram account to over 500,000 followers and Twitter to over 200,000.”
Erby dreamed of working in sports as a kid and loves working in the industry as a young professional. Nevertheless, he advises future sports professionals to be prepared for the industry’s grittier side.
“There are a lot of benefits that come with working in the industry,” he says. “But when people first try and start out in the industry, they don’t understand a lot of the behind-the-scenes things that play a part in the glamour. It’s great when it all comes together on game day, but there’s so much that we’re doing throughout the week to get to that point. You really got to grind if you want to get to the top and get compensated accordingly.”
More than, Erby believes you have to exude confidence — an attribute he has in spades.
“I’m an extremely confident guy,” he says. “I play that to my advantage. My parents taught me to have faith no matter what obstacles are in front of me and to constantly push forward. In any job, not everything is going to happen perfectly. So look for ways to correct it and improve the current situation.”
I hope @NipseyHussle’s words of encouragement resonated with at least one member in the audience last night, as they have for me throughout life.
— J'Ron Erby (@Jron_Erby) April 6, 2019
Erby believes that each and every aspiring sports business professional can tap into their own confidence in a similar way to get their career off the ground.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and build your network,” he says. “I’d also say be yourself. Find out what it is that sets you apart from other people. Use that to your advantage. No matter your gender, race or creed, you have something that most people will like. Figure out what that is and run with it.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.