This interview was conducted by IMPACT Internship Co-Founders, Lexie King and Felisa Israel, with Charlie Robinson and Mya Brannan, student interns with Positive Coaching Alliance who participated in The Power of Taking a Timeout online course hosted by the IMPACT Access Fund. The Power of Taking a Timeout was a 2-week online course featuring a speaker series with some of the most influential names in Sports & Entertainment. Proceeds of the course went to the IMPACT Access Fund, a workforce & professional development program designed to provide real solutions to the diversity gap in the Sports & Entertainment industries through scholarships and connecting students with hand-ons professional training, industry specialized education, executive mentorship and internship opportunities. IMPACT Internship has more upcoming online courses like this and the full summer lineup can be seen at impactinternship.com.
IMPACT: What is your name, school and current year?
CR: Charlie Robinson, University of California, Santa Barbara, Senior
MB: Mya Brannan, California State University Long Beach Sport Management, Graduate Student
IMPACT: How was your overall experience participating in The Power of Taking a Timeout online course hosted by the IMPACT Access Fund?
CR: Overall I found it very eye opening, especially as a Senior who’s recently graduated. I enjoyed all of the words of wisdom, little things speakers said about appreciating what you have and the things you can do in your everyday life to set yourself up for success. For example, Leonard Armato, said he makes a list everyday of what he wants to accomplish. I really appreciated those insights as I go out in life and try to get a job during these times.
MB: I was fortunate to have gotten to participate in The Power of Taking a Timeout online course at a time that I was feeling very vulnerable. Due to COVID-19, I have been furloughed from all my positions, had to “stay home,” had my college courses all changed to the online format, and so many of the events I had tickets for got postponed, and eventually cancelled. So, I was definitely ready to be inspired, to learn, to get motivated, and to see how others were dealing with all the changes they were faced with, as well. IMPACT: What speakers and/or messages resonated most with you?
As a part of IMPACT and PCA's partnership we invite students and professionals to join the Summer Speaker Series: The Power Of Preparation starting July 17th! Apply the PCA free coupon code (valued at $550) at registration: IMPACT2020_PCALearn More
CR: Aside from of course Leonard who is one person I would have pointed out, especially because I play college volleyball so I really appreciated hearing from someone else who’s involved with volleyball. Another person I would say was Dawn Wilcox because I also really like writing and that’s probably something I want to pursue after college and she touched on that in her story. I really like how she works with an organization like Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I feel like with her experience getting to work with that organization as well as working with athletes was really cool, I didn’t know that that was possible. I really like how she was able to bring the world of PR into the world of sports and how she spoke about inspiring people with her words, because I feel like I definitely don’t want to be stuck on calls all the time for the rest of my life - I’d rather share inspiring stories.
MB: I felt like I learned something from all the speakers because they were honest with how they were feeling, they spoke about their own journeys and how they somehow ended up where they feel they were meant to be regardless of where they expected to be, and they gave us insights into various positions and those job descriptions. If I had to choose particular speakers and their message, I enjoyed Aldis and Edwin Hodge. I think it was their conversation about their personal journeys that touched me. It wasn’t easy for them, how they were each other's biggest fan and even competition, and how humble they were. They talked about being stereotyped, rejected, and how they stayed focused. Being a woman, sometimes I feel the same way they were describing. They credited their mom for who they have become, and for me, coming from a single mother household, I also am pushed to be independent, confident, and want to succeed so bad, to thank her. They talked about feeling depressed during this time, how they’re struggling to figure out what to do with the “extra” time, and that no matter what, they try to stay positive. All feelings I am experiencing.
IMPACT: Charlie, you had asked a question in class about mentorship - what did you learn from The Power of Taking a Time Out about the IMPACT of mentors on your career?
CR: I feel like the biggest thing I learned was that everyone is willing to help you, it is just a matter of reaching out to other people, asking them insightful questions and showing them that you’re willing to learn from them. Another thing that I took away is to be a sponge and soak up everything that you can, especially at my age when I am in the beginning stages of learning so many things. You need to be okay with not always having the answers and always trying to learn from others. IMPACT: Mya, you had mentioned how "IMPACTFUL" it was to hear speakers talk about their career paths and variety of positions. How did the Power Of Taking A Timeout influence your thoughts on your career path?
MB: Listening to the variety of paths out there for me to choose from, I felt both overwhelmed and motivated. Overwhelmed because it’s hard to decide where I want to “end up" even when I think I know exactly where I want to be, and motivated because of the same reason. There are so many options. Lou DePaoli talked about how he has moved and taken jobs out of state, which is something I am very interested in. IMPACT: Were there any professional development topics that have helped you in your internship with PCA?
CR: I am just starting out at PCA and I am going to be a Development Intern, so I haven’t really done a whole lot yet, but I have received some insight on what they are doing and one thing is the Dear Sports Campaign which is letters from college, high school and middle school students writing about what they miss or what they are looking forward to when sports start to come back. One thing I learned during the course session with Dawn is the importance of always maintaining relationships with others and how that’s important not only to raise money for the company but also to create relationships that you will hold for life and bring people together.
MB: I think all the speakers had messages that can help me in my own professional development. The most important lesson, though, that they all really touched on in one way or another, was accepting change. That yes, right now we were forced to change, but that we should always take change as part of our growth. Even if we are to stay in one position for years, we should be willing to ask questions, take courses in that field, ask for feedback on how we are performing, and that change is what we should expect, not fear. Change is evidence that we are getting better at our jobs. They talked about not just “sitting there” and always doing more than the job description. Then, there was something one speaker said that I would hope everyone strives for, which is to get to know the people you work with, no matter the department they are in. Let them know they are “seen”. Powerful.
As far as my internship with PCA, I have to thank my mentors, because from day one I have never felt like an intern. They include me in everything they are thinking about, they push me to learn, they give me opportunities to get trained, and they want me to share my thoughts, which for me is hard because sometimes I am not confident that I have much to contribute. That is one area I promised myself that I wanted to work on during this time. The more I learn about all that PCA is involved in, who they work with, how hard they work, and the way they inspire athletes, coaches, parents, and each other, makes me want to continue growing. I have always said that I want to work in sports with young people, with communities, and change lives. For me, a sport was always the one area in my life that was a release from all other stressors. If I was sad, just being at practice or a game lifted my spirits. I want to be part of an organization that does that for others. I feel that PCA is just that.
IMPACT: One of the inspirations in putting together the course was the concept of a global timeout and how coaches, for example, call timeouts during games when they need to refocus the attention of their team or adjust their strategy. What has this timeout meant for you? How has your experience with both Positive Coaching Alliance and IMPACT Internship supported you during this timeout?
CR: One thing it has really taught me, which I learned a lot about being a student athlete, is having such a rigorous schedule. Having a lot of practice and long weeks is tiring and I feel like it is really important to take some time for yourself. One thing Leonard said is that he prayed every day, and I am not a very spiritual person, but I do like how he takes a moment in his day to be grateful for what he has and not focus on his schedule or what he needs to get done, but rather to be thankful for what he has done. As a new college graduate, a lot of people can get lost in the process of finding a new career path immediately, so this timeout gives me a chance to explore what I want to do, consider my passions and see what type of work aligns with those passions. Especially with IMPACT Internship and The Power of Taking a Timeout, it really showed me what is out there and what I should be looking for while I have so much time on my hands.
MB: It’s crazy how, as I write this, it almost seems like the virus is non-existent because so much is happening. During the global timeout, I felt that everyone was forced to look at themselves and see what had to change. Were we neglecting what is truly important in our lives? People started doing things they didn’t have time for when life was “too hectic”. Baking, painting, drawing, dancing TikTok dances, playing games with family, homeschooling, and just sitting “still” in thought and praying for all those on the “frontlines” of the pandemic, or those who had to personally suffer with either the illness or loss of a loved one due to the virus. I loved how nature was thriving, how my own family was having game nights, and how much time I had to think of myself. For me, this timeout allowed me to listen, to learn, and to think about what I want to do. I loved being part of the changes PCA went through during this time, like virtual high fives, home workouts, and contests. I loved having the “down” time to sit and be part of IMPACT Internship, because I realized I am not behind in life. I beat myself up all the time because I feel that I am not where I am “supposed” to be at my age. Listening to all the speakers and how they had many steps before they got to where they are was exactly what I needed to hear. Although I am still furloughed from my positions, I feel encouraged by where my life is headed.
Charlie joined PCA in June 2020 as a Development Intern.Charlie grew up in Los Angeles and attended UC Santa Barbara, where she majored in Communication and competed as a Division I athlete on the women’s volleyball team. Before graduating and joining PCA, she interned at K1 Investment Management, a private equity firm based in Manhattan Beach. She has always held a passion for sports and was, therefore, drawn towards PCA’s mission to bring positive coaching to young athletes. In her spare time, she loves going to the beach and spending time with friends and family. Along with playing volleyball herself, she also enjoys getting the opportunity to coach younger athletes in both indoor and beach volleyball.
Mya is also one of PCA-LA's interns! She is currently a graduate student pursuing her Masters in Sports Management at Cal State University, Long Beach. She has gotten the chance to work and intern with the LA Galaxy, LA Chargers, LBSU Athletics, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and UCLA. She is forever grateful to have this opportunity with PCA because she eventually would love to work within a non-profit organization in a community relations/outreach role!