Future Industry Leaders Scholars Profile: Kelly Becker

Kelly_Becker_Headshot

This summer, the SFIA will acknowledge three young professionals in the sports and fitness industry who have been selected as the 2016 SFIA Future Industry Leaders Scholarship recipients. All three recipients will be present at the fourth annual SFIA Industry Leaders Summit this September 14-15 in Denver, CO.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the SFIAinsider blog, in collaboration with SFIA Weekly, will be highlighting exclusive interviews with each of our three winners, in order of participant’s response. We are honored to have the opportunity to put them in the spotlight in the lead up to this prestigious networking event.

This week, we meet Kelly Becker, a Ursinus College grad and current manager of Innovation Partnerships for Under Armour:

SFIAinsider: Why did you apply to the Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program?

Kelly Becker: The SFIA has been a longtime partner of our brand. I want to contribute to maintaining and strengthening that relationship as well as engage in meaningful conversation about our industry, learn from industry leaders and build new relationships.

SFIAinsider: What was your very first job, can you tell us more about it?

Kelly Becker: My very first job was working the front desk of the Hershey Lodge during the summers while home from college. It was a fast paced and demanding environment with thousands of families vacationing Hershey. The customer service experience I received while on the job has continued served me well in the corporate arena.

SFIAinsider: What made you want to work in the sports and fitness industry?

Kelly Becker: I’ve always had a passion for excellences and athletics. The team first culture is something I knew I could add value to and wanted to continue to be a part of; I thrive in a dynamic environment and Under Armour’s innovative approach has proven to be a great match.

SFIAinsider: What exactly do you do in your current position?

Kelly Becker: In my current role at Under Armour I facilitate our open innovation platform by managing our website, Idea House. I interact with teammates across the brand and entrepreneurs, universities and Fortune 500 companies from across the globe to evaluate, test, and partner to bring the latest technology to market that will make athletes better. Additionally, as a member of the Innovation Partnerships team I play an integral role in the organization and execution of Under Armour’s annual innovation challenge, Future Show as well as Kevin Plank’s personal entrepreneurial competition, Cupid’s Cup.

SFIAinsider: What do you find the most enjoyable part of your work?

Kelly Becker: It’s different every day!

SFIAinsider: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Industry Leaders Summit?

Kelly Becker: I am looking forward to hearing how those within our industry are handling a variety of disruptions to their market from the changing landscape of the global economy to rapid changes in technology.

SFIAinsider: What is your favorite sports memory from your lifetime?

Kelly Becker: It’s a personal memory, while in college our field hockey team competed in the Final Four several times- the moment we won the NCAA National Championship will always be one of the best sports moments in my lifetime.

SFIAinsider: Do you have a favorite sports movie?

Kelly Becker: Yes, Bend it Like Beckham.

Visit www.sfia.org/ilsscholarshipprogram to find out more about the SFIA’s Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program.

Future Industry Leader Scholars Profile: Brian Kane

Brian Kane_Headshot

This summer, the SFIA will acknowledge three young professionals in the sports and fitness industry who have been selected as the 2016 SFIA Future Industry Leaders Scholarship recipients. All three recipients will be present at the fourth annual SFIA Industry Leaders Summit this September 14-15 in Denver, CO.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the SFIAinsider blog, in collaboration with SFIA Weekly, will be highlighting exclusive interviews with each of our three winners, in order of participant’s response. We are honored to have the opportunity to put them in the spotlight in the lead up to this prestigious networking event.

This week, we meet Brian Kane, a University of Texas at Antonio grad and current Senior Manager, Commercial and Customer Insights for Precor:

SFIAinsider: Why did you apply to the Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program?

Brian Kane: I believe to become a leader you must learn from great leaders. I see this program as an invaluable opportunity to listen and learn from the best. Most importantly, I am interested in observing and modeling how leaders think. I think a great leader can solve any problem because of the process and frameworks they are able to apply.

SFIAinsider: What was your very first job, can you tell us more about it?

Brian Kane: My first job was in middle school.  I used my grandparents as ‘limited partners’ and invested in buying and selling sports cards on eBay.  I mostly focused on the more expensive card lines, which were sometimes over $10 per pack.  My two main revenue strategies were bulk buys and investing in specific athletes.

With bulk buys, I would buy wholesale lots often consisting of multiples cases of sports cards, sometimes up to a palette load.  I would open all the packs, specifically looking for high-value cards, often involving autographs, portions of a players’ jersey, etc. I would have these high value cards graded for quality by a third party and then sold to collectors.  With the remainder of the cards, I would either sell them individually or in lots.

With specific players, I would invest deeply in specific rookies I believed would be successful, focusing on limited edition cards.  I would hold the cards for anywhere for 6 months to 3 years, hoping to flip them at a significant premium when the player made it big.  I had a high success rate, but did also end up with over 300 Ricky Williams cards I still have in a box somewhere to remind the importance of portfolio diversification. 

I subcontracted most of the execution work such as listing auctions, packaging, and shipping to my younger sister and older brother.

SFIAinsider: What made you want to work in the sports and fitness industry?

Brian Kane: This may sound provocative to some, but I see the sports and fitness industry as the future of the healthcare industry.  Some estimate that as much as 70% of chronic preventable illnesses drive medical costs.  We need to get people eater better and moving more. 

I actually enjoy not being part of what we call the uber core at Amer Sports.  I think our industry has enough former athletes and super-committed enthusiasts.  As an industry we can’t just be about selling fitness to the fit or else we become an echo chamber of well people in an increasingly unwell world.

SFIAinsider: What exactly do you do in your current position?

Brian Kane: My title is Senior Manager, Commercial Management and Customer Insights and I report to Doug Johns, VP of Marketing and Strategy.  In practice, my work falls into three main categories: strategy and planning, commercial management, and corporate development.

  1. As an Amer Sports Brand, Precor goes through key strategic reviews throughout the year, which I support.  The two main focus areas are where we play and how we win.  In other words, what competitive playing fields we compete in (geographies, customer segments, product categories) and how can differentiate and out-execute our competition in them.
  2. Commercial management measures the effectiveness of turning these strategic decisions into key performance indicators all the way down to a rep level.
  3. Corporate development for us is defining our growth strategy, to include organic and inorganic investments.  Research is used to support these efforts.

SFIAinsider: What do you find the most enjoyable part of your work?

Brian Kane: Being able to be a part of our corporate development efforts appeals to the very core of who I am.  As someone who is deeply curious about how the world works, corporate development takes theory and abstract thought and makes it very real, very quickly.  I get to geek out on the dynamics of market growth stages, organizational execution theories and consumer psychology, while translating it into tangible elements of our game theory strategy and tactics. 

Specific to Precor, I love that we have a truly dynamic business.  We have tough competitors, manufacture our own products, provide service and software in addition to our equipment, and compete globally.  I think you learn a lot more in dynamic businesses and the leaders who succeed in them are truly incredibly leaders.  In that regard, I thoroughly enjoy working with our leaders who are truly amazing in their capabilities and experiences. 

SFIAinsider: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Industry Leaders Summit?

Brian Kane: The proximity to the thought leaders and decision makers of the industry is an incredible appeal.  My approach is to be a sponge: ask a lot of questions and learn from the best. 

SFIAinsider: What is your favorite sports memory from your lifetime?

Brian Kane: For professional sports, the Seahawks beating the 49ers in the NFC Championship game was an all-time classic.  I have the game on iTunes and have watched it at least a dozen times.  Aside from the Seahawks winning, the level of skill and strategy was incredible. The play of the game of course was Richard Sherman deflecting a pass intended for Crabtree to Malcolm Smith’s awaiting arms; a play I’ve replayed in my head many times.    

For myself personally, I am an outdoor adventurer at heart.  I got the chance to do a 4-day backpacking trip along the Great Wall (between Beijing and Mutianyu), which was incredible. The sense of history and scale was humbling. We even got to sleep on the wall itself. 

SFIAinsider: Do you have a favorite sports movie?

Brian Kane: If I am looking for pure entertainment, I am a huge fan of Rocky movies.  While Rocky 1 may be the better movie, I prefer 3 and 4. The training montages in Rocky 4 are a true classic for me.

For more of a serious move, I think Hoop Dreams is one of the best documentaries ever made.  It tells a story of raw talent, family, adversity, and ultimately disappointment and failure.  Unlike a lot of modern documents, which are glorified stump speeches, I felt Hoop Dreams showed a very raw and authentic narrative about two aspiring athletes. 

Visit www.sfia.org/ilsscholarshipprogram to find out more about the SFIA’s Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program.

 

 

Future Industry Leaders Scholars Profile: Lindsey Maynes

Lindsey_Maynes_Headshot

This summer, the SFIA will acknowledge three young professionals in the sports and fitness industry who have been selected as the 2016 SFIA Future Industry Leaders Scholarship recipients. All three recipients will be present at the fourth annual SFIA Industry Leaders Summit this September 14-15 in Denver, CO.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the SFIAinsider blog, in collaboration with SFIA Weekly, will be highlighting exclusive interviews with each of our three winners, in order of participant’s response. We are honored to have the opportunity to put them in the spotlight in the lead up to this prestigious networking event.

This week, we meet Lindsey Maynes, a University of Colorado, Boulder grad and current Brand Marketing Manager for Gaiam:

SFIAinsider: Why did you apply to the Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program?

Lindsey Maynes: When the Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program email came through I knew that applying would be a great opportunity to meet with the brightest leaders in the sports and fitness industry. What an honor it will be to engage with and learn from the best in the business during the 2-day summit.

SFIAinsider: What was your very first job, can you tell us more about it?

Lindsey Maynes: My first job out of college was with Gaiam as the Production Coordinator for our Creative Department. Always involved with sports and fitness growing up, this position allowed me to take my personal passions and apply them to my professional aspirations. For the last 9 years, Gaiam has allowed me to continue cultivating my love for the sports and fitness industry.

SFIAinsider: What made you want to work in the sports and fitness industry?

Lindsey Maynes: Not many people can say that they work in an industry that they love and I am privileged that I have been able to do just that for the last 9 years. Sports and fitness has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember and there is no other industry that I would rather work in.

SFIAinsider: What exactly do you do in your current position?

Lindsey Maynes: In my current position as Brand Manager, I am responsible for managing our yoga, fitness and wellness brands from product conception to product launch for major sporting goods and national retailers throughout the country.

SFIAinsider: What do you find the most enjoyable part of your work?

Lindsey Maynes: The best part about my job is the people I get to work with everyday. Their passion for the sports and fitness industry and their desire to make the best products and programming available to consumers is a constant inspiration.

SFIAinsider: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Industry Leaders Summit?

Lindsey Maynes: This will be my first time attending the Industry Leaders Summit so I am excited for it all! The chance to attend and gain insight from thought provoking sessions while networking with the best in the business is an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

SFIAinsider: What is your favorite sports memory from your lifetime?

Lindsey Maynes: My favorite sports memory that I have personally witnessed was the 2012 “SnowClasico.” The USA men’s soccer team played against Costa Rica in the World Cup qualifying game in Denver while it snowed about a foot, ending in a 1-0 win for USA. I have never witnessed a more exciting sporting event under those conditions – it was unforgettable.

SFIAinsider: Do you have a favorite sports movie?

Lindsey Maynes: Best sports movie ever – Field of Dreams.

Visit www.sfia.org/ilsscholarshipprogram to find out more about the SFIA’s Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program.

 

 

SFIA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

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Partner: Hyperwear

Spotlight On: Dirk Buikema, CEO & Founder

Dirk
Dirk Buikema, Ceo & Founder

Who is Hyperwear?

Hyperwear is the rising leader in product and program innovation in functional fitness, the fastest growing fitness segment. Our strategy is to focus on health and fitness inspired consumers by delivering proven results. Our focus is growing our direct B2B sales as a bridgehead into broad B2C sales by expanding our portfolio of products, educational content, and fitness programming. This strategy will leverage growing success in commercial club accounts where we have successfully introduced group exercise programs using our SandBell® free weights. Our Hyper Vest PRO weighted vest has been a great success starting with athletes and spreading to the fitness consumer. With a newly issued patents covering use of a cooling vest to burn calories, we are planning expansion or our product line into weight loss with a safe, proprietary, non-pharmaceutical, and research-backed solution. Hyperwear is a true innovator creating SIMPLE.POWERFUL.GEAR.

How long have you been around/where did you get this idea?

Our company started as a side business in a sports performance and adult fitness facility that I had opened after making a life change. I had an entrepreneurial urge after nineteen years of big company life, and became a franchisee of a sports performance and physical therapy business. It was youth focused and I had been very involved in youth sports in Austin as my children were growing. I had to purchase typical bulky, bouncy and hot weighted vests as part of my equipment set. Then an inventor came through the door with an incredibly thin and comfortable weight vest that needed a manufacturing source and funding. That was the start of Hyperwear. It was just going to be a website and side project, but we invented the SandBell® based on a need for a safe weight for youth and for something to replace slam medicine balls that constantly broke. Now we had a product line with a much bigger market opportunity and got to work on building the brand and company.

The fitness industry has become pretty fragmented, and your company fills a unique niche with its product – can you shed a little light on this?

As the fitness market has turned towards functional workouts, Hyperwear’s products have provided solutions that have been embraced by a wide range of customers like the world’s top fitness clubs (e.g., 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, Fitness First, Life Time Fitness, and Virgin Active), nation-wide bootcamps like Camp Gladiator, fitness studios, personal trainers, and fitness consumers. Our go to market consumer strategy has focused on the competitive amateur athletes who participate in CrossFit competitions, and in obstacle races such as Spartan Race. We have signed up athletes and ambassadors to spread the word about our products, training methods and brand.

Last year, our research highlighted fitness boutiques as being on the rise, has that helped or hurt your business at all? Where do you see the fitness industry going?

While there has been consolidation and M&A activity in the large health club space, we have seen an explosion of boutique fitness studios and outdoor bootcamps. These smaller footprint and outdoor space workouts find our products to be ideal solutions. Our SandBell and SteelBell free weights are great low-cost, versatile solutions for strength training that do not take up much space, work great outdoors, and are unstable and more effective. The 10 foot SandRope was created to enable battle rope and other exercises in far less space than standard long ropes. The market trend has been great for our business. The challenge is the cost of customer acquisition where you have many small sales. Specialty fitness retailers and dealers have been key partners to make it work.

Talk about any challenges in the industry (as a whole) or specific to Hyperwear.

Having a unique background as a technology attorney before becoming a fitness entrepreneur, I have seen the biggest challenge to the industry being widespread infringement of intellectual property by overseas manufacturers. Often instigated by major players in fitness equipment who would rather copy than create. There is a significant cost to innovating and protecting that innovation to build new products and lasting businesses. Hyperwear will continue to invest in aggressively protecting its innovation.

SFIA PARTNER SPOTLIGHT

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the ‘SFIA Partner Spotlight’. In this section we will spotlight a different partner or member of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. The spotlight will include and interview with a prominent member of the company, a short history and relevant content as it pertains to the Sports & Fitness Industry. With out further ado Let’s get started:
uproar-pr-logo-1

Partner: UPROAR PR

Spotlight On: Mike and Catriona Harris, Co-Founders of UPROAR PR

Mike Harris - Co - Founder
Mike Harris, Co-Founder
Catriona Harris
Catriona Harris, Co-Founder

Who is Uproar PR and what sets you apart from other PR agencies?

  • Uproar is a public relations and social media agency with a robust sports and fitness practice, in addition to representing other consumer-focused products and companies. We are relentless in our goal to generate results that not only raise the profile of our clients but also help you reach your sales goals. We have built close relationships with the top editors and producers in the sports and fitness space. We go far beyond most firms who just write a press release and see what sticks. We carefully craft a message to the industry based on trends and the stories we think will gain the most traction.

Sports/fitness tech is pretty niche – how did you get in the industry?

  • Uproar started with an emphasis on consumer products, including consumer technology. As the wearable space began to grow, sports and fitness gadgets worn on the body took off as well and we saw an increasing number of companies and products in need of PR. Our tech experience was attractive to sports and fitness brands, and now we work with a range of companies in the space; some with a tech focus, some not.

Specific challenges to this space? Or all the same challenges that most PR firms face?

  • Sports and fitness technology is growing quickly and the competition is fierce. We are seeing more and more products dedicated to a specific sport, so the opportunity to target your PR campaign is great, but it is becoming more challenging to stand out to a general health and fitness audience.

List of clients (in sports and fitness):

How has the sports/fitness tech landscape changed and how does that affect Uproar specifically?

  • With wearables playing a larger role in the space, we have access to billions of data points on training and performance that we’ve never had before. Uproar helps these companies identify ways to use this data to tell an impactful and unique story about the brand and industry. This positions the company as an innovator and thought leader, presenting new means to view, understand and experience a training program, a gym class or a game.

About Us/Mission statement you may want to share for the industry to know about you?

  • We do more than just talk the talk; we walk the walk. We are an extension of the company and work closely with clients to be fully ingrained in the areas of business important to successful PR. We also invest heavily in our people and company culture. Uproar’s product is its people so we believe happy, long-term employees allow us to have happy and long-term clients.