Yankees staffers speak at sports business club’s first event

by Joe Rapolla (FCRH ’13)

“Remember, somebody is always watching you.”

This was the advice that Jason Latimer, the assistant director of player and media relations for the New York Yankees, gave to 80 impressed, humored and horrified students at the Fordham Business Sports Society’s inaugural event last Thursday night.

Latimer was one of five guest speakers, each of whom preached the importance of being determined and persistent. Joining Latimer were three colleagues from the Yankees — Cedric Bess, supervisor of guest relations; Yao Williams, a premium sales and service consultant; and Chris Insolera, manager of corporate sales and sponsorship — and panel moderator John Flading (GSB ’82), owner and CEO of Swingaway Sports.

The four panelists from the Yankees spoke about their jobs, described the paths that led them there, and offered career advice. Flading, who made the switch from Wall Street to sports a few years back, spoke about changing fields and about owning a startup. He also, rather humorously, reminisced about his days as a Fordham student-athlete.

Speakers did not shy away from telling it like it was. Insolera recalled his senior year of college as an aspiring sports broadcaster, jealous of his friends in the engineering school who already had a defined career path. Williams recounted how everyone, including his mother and himself, assumed he would become a lawyer — and explained how he realized it was not the right career for him. Latimer reminded the audience of the importance of networking, openly admitting his bias toward students from his alma mater, the University of Florida.

Perhaps the panel’s crystallizing moment came when a student asked why the men push themselves so hard at work every day. Latimer quickly chimed in that he knows he is replaceable. “I know there are a ton of people who would line up to do my job, and for a lot less money,” he said. “I work as hard as I can every day to make sure that that doesn’t happen, and that I don’t become expendable.”

After the panel ended, the five presenters took the time to speak with students who stuck around. “I love doing this,” Insolera said. “I really wish I had someone talking to me when I was in school and giving me good advice, so I just try my best to do that now.”

 

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