In 1983, Amy Trask USC (So Cal) law student makes a cold-call to the LA Raiders looking for an internship. Dialogue goes like this:
LA Raiders switchboard operator: “What’s an internship?”
Trask quickly replies “I work for you, and you don’t pay me.”
The response: “C’mon down.”
After an internship in their legal department, she climbs the ladder of the LA Raiders. 25+ years at the organization, with 15+ as CEO. She talks about her NFL CEO experience in her 2016 book, You Negotiate Like a Girl (affiliate link). Yes, her nickname was the “Princess of Darkness” because of her dedication to the Raiders. Awesome story about grit here.
Pick up the phone. We are so used to email, and other lazy, non-committal ways to communicate.
Have a dream. Stand for something. Don’t be boring. Live a little.
Ditch the entitlement. Trask went to UC Berkeley undergrad, and USC Law. She has academic pedigree. Yet, she did not come in asking for special treatment. She started at the bottom and worked her way up. Within 10 years, she was the CEO.
Stick around. 25+ years in sports management is not trivial. Persistence is only called persistence if you stick around.
Train with the best. She notes that her relationship with Al Davies (LA Raiders GM) helped mold her approach and management style. Trail-blazers are good influences on each other.
“I did anything and everything I was asked to do. I also tried to do things that I anticipated would be of value to the organization, even if I wasn’t asked to. I worked as hard as I could. Then, when I thought I couldn’t work any harder, I worked some more. Hard work matters.”
Pass the test. People ask her a lot about her success and the role gender played. She is straight-forward about it.
I’m often asked if I believe I was tested because I was a woman. Maybe I was. I didn’t care. People are tested for different reasons all the time. What’s the best response when one is tested? Pass the test.