CULTURE

January 5, 2017

My Christmas Gift To You – “Angel and Founder” ESPN’S Own Keri Potts Merry Christmas

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Written by: Henry Clopton
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Five unknowing students (Henry Clopton, Autumn Johnson, Darveon Hyde, Racquel Yeedia and Jordan Frank) with aspirations to become sports analyst, sports reporter, sports agent, public relations and sports marketing, received the greatest gift from an angel which was Keri Potts.

She envisioned and created the idea of giving students who attended different colleges and universities in the Metro Atlanta area an opportunity to be a part of the live event at the College Football Awards.

Making dreams come to reality. As a result, the ESPN Ambassador program was founded.

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An angel is a person whose actions and thoughts are consistently virtuous; an individual who is kind-hearted and have the ability to put others before themselves. 

Potts,  A strong woman who understands how hard it is to get help in this particular field is always willing to listen and respond to student needs. Even with a busy schedule, she finds time to respond and give back to her community.

Potts can relate to people in need through her own personal experiences. She was attacked in Italy by a deranged man but rather than keep it a secret, she uses that reality as a tool to help others. She volunteers her time as a rape crisis counselor at Grady Memorial Hospital and as the national speaker on victims advocacy and anti-sexual violence.

Not only does this demonstrate how incredible a woman Potts is, but it teaches me that no matter what obstacles you face in life, never to give up on the end goal.

Meeting Ms. Potts, the current Senior Director of Communications for College Sports at ESPN, for the first time was quite interesting, a little intimidating at first because of her serious demeanor. Spending more time together revealed to us with the Syracuse graduate’s serious demeanor came great success. The best advice I received from the Smithstown, NY native was “You have to have tough skin in this profession.”I took that advice and applied it to my regimen that day. Because you can’t be afraid to say or do something wrong and get constructively criticized; it’s a part of learning and growing.

During the two-day event at the College Football Hall of Fame, Potts allowed us to meet and shadow individuals in our prospective careers such as Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit. The College Football Awards was our live learning lab. Those conversations prepared us for what we aspire to do with reputable media organizations. I remember the Soladay award honoree giving us our duties and saying “Hey, go do your thing, be proactive. Just don’t be a fan and star struck.

There was point where I was caught being star struck from funny guy and star quarterback of Oklahoma Baker Mayfield. The Orange Plus Woman of the year award recipient looked at me firm and said. “Do you know what you look like?”

I replied, “No Mam.”

She pulled me to the side and said, “I don’t need fans, Henry!” The eye-opening moment was embarrassing, but it was the best advice she could have given me.

Lights. Cameras. Future NFL players and coaches. It was almost impossible to focus when you’re in the company of such prominent people. Having the opportunity to be in the same space as Coaches Nick Saben and Urban Meyer was a dream many don’t get to live. But I did.

Potts allowed us to use her resources, credentials, time and space for our own educational benefits. We also got the chance to meet respected ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi, an interesting individual to say the least. During this interaction he asked us, “Could we take a pen and paper and write down what we want to do in life?”

Rinaldi continues, “If so, then you are ahead of most Americans. Keep working as hard as possible no matter what.” We also got a chance to meet former Georgia Bulldogs LB and current College Football Sports Analyst David Pollack. His comments were direct and concise. “You better know your stuff. If you don’t know your stuff, nobody will listen to you period,” Pollack advises.

Either you got it or you don’t is what I got from Pollacks advice.

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It was an essential night to remember filled with great talent and exposure for us. We were removed from the quintessential classroom setting and brought into a fast paced environment where we all aspire to be. We could not have asked for a better liaison for those two amazing days, than Potts. She is the Lebron James of Public Relations.

Saying thank you just wasn’t enough, but I hope you take this small token of appreciation as my way of saying you are amazing at what you do. I am grateful for what you did for all of us! Happy

Holidays from me to you!

 



About the Author

Henry Clopton
Henry Clopton, a senior journalism major and speech minor at Georgia State University. A native Atlantan with aspirations to become a Sports Analyst. Currently, he serves as an ESPN Ambassador while being a member of the student media broadcast team at Georgia State and the Collegiate 100 of Atlanta. His favorite quote is "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth" spoken by Muhammed Ali.




 
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