The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk:

Episode 245: Maria Taylor – ESPN Gameday, Embracing The Grind, The Value Of Versatility

Maria Taylor is in her sixth season as a host analyst & reporter. In the fall of 2017 Taylor will enter a new role as co-host on ESPN’s College Gameday and sideline reporter for ABC’s Saturday Night Football.  

Show Notes:

  • How to quickly build rapport with the people you interview?
    • Be prepared with a purpose, truly try to learn about them as a person (quickly), it’s not just about their sport or their job.  Care about them as a person
    • Being viewed as an athlete — “It’s helpful working in the sports world that they know I played sports”
  • “As an athlete I was always a perfectionist, I always over prepare.”  — Maria sending her producers a copious amount of notes — thoughts on situations/games/ideas
  • How to earn promotions quickly? “I never said no to anything.  I was never too big for any game.”
    • Maria did high school football games, ACC digital.  She’s traveled everywhere, stayed in bad hotels, etc.
      • “You have to be comfortable in the grind, you can’t get discouraged.”
      • “If I’m not doing something (work wise), I feel wrong.”
  • Why Kirk Herbstreit is the best in the business — “He’s the most invested person I’ve ever seen.  He’s always the most prepared person.”
  • Adnan Virk “Always show up.” — “They remember how you made them feel.”  Be conscious of that
  • Balance?  It will never be perfectly balanced.  Think of it as a stew – vegetable and beef… Certain bites are vegetables and other times it’s beef.  That’s work-life balance.  There are moments where it is all work, all day, every day.  There are other times where you can relax at home.  It’s never a perfect 50 50 balance.
  • The story of Maria making the decision to be a sports broadcaster as a junior in college at Georgia… And then also earning her MBA as a backup plan!
    • She grew up loving sports.  Her dad played college sports.
  • Maria was recruited to play both volleyball and basketball at Georgia.
  • Our mutual feeling about the structure of being “in season” and how the routine helped us get better grades.
  • The first 90 minutes of Maria’s day:
    • Start the day with gospel music (worship/faith)
    • New York Times daily podcast
    • Joyce Meyer podcast
  • Why do multiple jobs? (Gameday, sideline reporter, women’s basketball studio host)
    • To diversify — “I don’t want to just be one thing.  It’s an opportunity to flex different muscles.”
    • “I try to investigate to find the best answer”
    • “I like challenges”
  • Person most enjoy interviewing?
    • Nick Saban.  “I try to steer him off the line he’s trying to stay on.”
    • Receiving coaching as a broadcaster… Who provides it?
      • SEC network producers
      • Feedback is just as important to what you put into your body.  It needs to be healthy and helpful — “What are we filling our minds with?”
  • How to handle “Twitter haters?”
    • “Sometimes I’ll put them on blast…”
  • What is an ESPN Gameday production meeting like?
    • A cast of characters – (listen around the 43:00 minute mark to hear the inside scoop)
  • Winning Edge Leadership Academy
    • Helping young women and minorities in broadcasting
    • Focused on student athletes
    • Doing a retreat in Miami
  • The sense of responsibility Maria feels as an African American woman
    • “Being black…. Half time spent assimilating and half time spent helping your people.”
    • The Jemele Hill story at ESPN… Maria’s reactions

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Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

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