By Jodie Valade
When Stephanie Ready first was trying to break into the world of sports broadcasting, she asked for a favor. Ready asked her friend Michael Wilbon, the former Washington Post columnist and current ESPN commentator, if he could help her.
Wilbon suggested Ready send her highlight reel to an ESPN colleague, who eventually passed it along to someone at the network who hired Ready for her first big break.
She couldn’t stop thanking Wilbon every time they spoke. Finally, Wilbon offered one more piece of advice.
“Don’t thank me,” Wilbon told her. “Just help someone else when it’s your turn.”
“I really took that to heart,” Ready said.
Ready, a groundbreaker in the worlds of both broadcast and coaching, spoke about that experience and more at an AWSM regional event February 8 at Google Fiber in Charlotte.
She shared what she’s learned from her experiences as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at her alma mater, Coppin State University, as the first female coach for a men’s pro team when she was an assistant for the NBADL’s Greenville Groove and now, as the NBA’s first full-time female analyst for Fox Sports on the Charlotte Hornets.
Ready learned how to be a broadcaster on the job after deciding she wanted to break into the industry when the NBADL team she was coaching folded. A natural talent in front of the camera and with unquestioned basketball knowledge, Ready quickly advanced. She joined the Hornets’ broadcast team in 2004, and in 2015, became the NBA’s first full-time female analyst. She works in a three-person booth alongside fellow analyst Dell Curry and play-by-play announcer Eric Collins.
Along the way, she’s learned how to navigate social media — she opts to not post anything too personal; how to manage being a mother to two elementary school children while traveling frequently — she is an avid user of FaceTime; and how to respond to trolls on Twitter — she often just retweets rude comments with her own two-word commentary: “Be nice.”
And Ready said she’s learned to be always willing to give advice or help to anyone who asks — just like Wilbon did for her at the start of her career.
AWSM partnered with Vanderbilt University’s College Media Institute on its student sports workshop February 10-11 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Students from 53 colleges and universities attended the workshop, including representatives from six AWSM student chapters.
AWSM was represented on multiple panels by board members Lydia Craver, Jenny Dial Creech and Stacie Shain as well as professional members Joanne Gerstner, Dave Goren, Rhiannon Potkey and Teresa Walker.
AWSM is partnering with Golf Channel for a regional event March 1 at the network’s headquarters in Orlando.
Molly Solomon, a 10-time Emmy winner who is senior vice president of production, operations and digital at Golf Channel, is the event’s featured speaker. Also speaking are senior vice president of marketing Regina O’Brien, senior director of digital product operations Laura Harrington and customer loyalty manager Charlotte Daughan — all with Golf Channel. There will be studio tours and a networking reception, as well.
For more details or to RSVP: http://bit.ly/2la5sRb