What I Like…With MSG Promotions Inc. President Mimi Griffin
SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal asks top sports execs for their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and likes.
An insight that I like: Managers would do well to understand their own work less as decision-making and bossing and more as teaching and learning. As the Chinese proverb goes, “Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.” Investing the time to teach employees how to gather information, achieve goals and make good decisions makes a manager’s burden much lighter in the long run. And learning about conditions and concerns from employees and clients insures the integrity of the decisions that managers do make.
What I like in a timeless idea: Treat everyone with respect whatever his or her status or station in life.
A sports facility: The Palestra in Philadelphia. It’s a mecca for college basketball. The walls whisper the history of the game every time you walk in the building.
A sports promo: Bringing the athletes to the fans. Many colleges have student athletes involved in community-service projects to help them connect with their fans and understand a world they might not otherwise know.
An ad: Nike’s “Let Me Play.”
A business decision: I appreciate any corporate decision that keeps employees on the job and happy. Wegmans (Food Markets) is an example of an organization that systematically takes account of employees’ quality of life in corporate decision-making. It pays off long-term in the quality of their product and in their bottom line.
A marketing idea: Kids get in free. It doesn’t really matter what the event or product is. Any effort to provide more family-affordable entertainment in tough economic times will pay off.
A TV ad campaign: The Gatorade “Is it in you?” series.
A print ad campaign: Cingular’s “Raising the Bar.”
A hire: ABC-TV selecting sports broadcaster ROBIN ROBERTS to co-host “Good Morning America.” Robin and DIANE SAWYER are the only all-female host team on a daily national morning TV news show, so ABC took a chance. But it has proved to be a very good move.
Brands: Apple, Keurig.
A trend: Business casual.
An innovation: Bluetooth. It helps prevent cramps in my neck muscles from cradling the phone.
A decision-maker: BARACK OBAMA because he is secure enough to be inclusive, to have diverse thinkers as part of his team.
A competitor’s idea: Vertical marketing of an event. IMG perfected this concept.
Influential people in my career: CHARLIE MCCABE and BARBARA PADDOCK, at Manufacturers Hanover Trust, now JP Morgan Chase. They were on the cutting edge of sports event marketing and management in the early ’80s and set me on the right path. I learned early to think big, to attend to relationships and to take care of the details that make an event successful.
An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: E-Z Pass.
A fantasy job: My own.
A story that bears watching: “Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S Women’s Soccer Team.”
What I like about my job: I work like crazy and then I get to see something happen. I get to see the fruits of my labor.
Sports: The competition that allows you to test yourself and your own limits.
My sport: Basketball was my first sports love. I still appreciate basketball as the quintessential team sport. I also like basketball because it helps me get through winter.
Sports business: It allows me to combine passion with a paycheck.
Sports media: They help promote our events.
Pro sports: At their best, professional sports provide a stage for the highest levels of athletic performance.
College sports: Purity. The integrity of the game and the focus on athletic skill are more evident at the college level, especially on the women’s side.
The future (or direction) of sports business: In this time of economic uncertainty, shifting our focus to more affordable family entertainment.
Sports fans: Their passion.
What I’d like to change: The perception that golf is not a sport for everyone.
See: Greater financial viability for women’s sporting events.
See more of: Women in decision-making roles.
See different: People in all industries to emphasize life balance instead of workload obsession. I think it is silly that people brag about having “no life.” We — myself included — should be embarrassed to say that we are workaholics.
See less of: I’d like to see less guilt from people who try to have balance in their lives.
Refresh: Down time.
Reinvent: Our obsession with electronic communication.
Reintroduce: Face-to-face conversations.
Eliminate: My inbox. I have 3,500 e-mails in my inbox and I want to get rid of them.
Continue: Having the opportunity to work with young graduates to help them break into the business.
What I don’t like in general: Insecurity. It seems to me to be the source of so much destructive behavior.
Pet peeve: People who bring a sense of entitlement to their interactions with others.
In sports: The sense of entitlement seems to run rampant.
In my sport: The disparity in purses and paychecks between men’s and women’s sporting events.
About college sports: When coaches use players as a means to their end. They think the games and the success are about them instead of about the team and the players.
In business: There is too much posturing instead of honest communication. Often this posturing is a result of insecurity.
In sports business: This posturing goes on publicly, in the media, as well as in personal interaction.
About the direction of sports business: That it seems to be moving more toward business and less toward sport.
In media: When the focus is on the extreme or sensational side of a story rather than on the human interest and the quality of performance.
In sports facilities: When there are not enough stalls in the women’s restrooms.
In sports journalism: The emphasis on all things football, that football trumps other sports.
About sports fans: When passion outweighs perspective.
What I like about people: Those who are secure enough to value the qualities and contributions of others.
That would surprise those who know me: I need and enjoy time alone.
Above all else: Being in a warm, sunny place, preferably with the ocean in view.
About myself: I’m comfortable in my own skin.
Hero: My sister Barb. With quiet grace and dignity she has established herself as one of the top in her field (Professor of Education, Millersville University).
Players: Hall of Fame golfer BETSY RAWLS, WNBA standout KATIE SMITH and Davidson basketball player STEPHEN CURRY.
Teams: JODY CONRADT‘s Univ. of Texas ’86 national championship team played basketball the way it was meant to be played.
Cities: Austin and San Francisco.
Possession: A blanket that I made for my mother when I was in high school that I claimed back when she passed away. It is the only existing evidence of my domestic skills and, more important, it ties me physically and emotionally to my much-loved and well-respected mother.
Memento: The medal from our ’74 Pennsylvania state high school basketball championship at Lancaster Catholic High School.
Time of year: Summer.
Book: “Warriors Don’t Cry,” by MELBA PATTILLO BEALS.
Authors: JOHN GRISHAM, KELLY CORRIGAN, JOHN FEINSTEIN.
Magazines: Forbes, Sports Illustrated.
Web sites: Pandora.com. I love music, but I’m too busy to manage my own music collection. Pandora Radio does it for me. My new favorite Web site is SienaSaints.com, the college [Siena] where my son, Kyle, will be playing basketball next season.
Gadgets: My GPS and flash drives.
Chores: I prefer paying someone else to do them right.
Hobbies: Watching my kids compete, working out myself.
Trip: Key West.
Movies: “Awakenings,” “The Hours,” “Whale Rider.”
TV: “The West Wing,” “Good Morning America” and “Dallas.”
Artist: THOMAS MCKNIGHT.
Food: Swedish fish and lemons.
Drink: Anything fruity and frozen with an umbrella hanging out of the glass.
Scent: Dolce & Gabbana.
Vacation spot: The Jersey shore.
Car: Lexus RX400 Hybrid.
Musicians: Indigo Girls, LUTHER VANDROSS, JAMES TAYLOR, JONI MITCHELL andINDIA.ARIE.
Quote: “There’s a place in hell reserved for women who don’t help other women” — former Secretary of State MADELEINE ALBRIGHT.
Published February 12, 2009