The Sports Manager turned Graphic Designer | 40 Under 40 Class of 2020
GET TO KNOW SAMI
Sami Sadler is dynamic, creative and reliable. After college, she become one of the youngest general managers of any professional sports teams. She recently traded in her clipboard and headset for a stylus, as Sami is now pursuing graphic design. Learn more about Sami in her extended interview.
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Can't Live Without
My dog, Griff.
What inspired you to go into the field you used to work in?
When I was in 9th grade, my dad took me to a basketball tryout where I met a man named Bruce Price. The program he built and ran was to empower women through basketball. He wasn’t empowering women not to become the next WNBA star but instead to be the next CEO, president, etc. During my time with Peak Performance Sports and Development Inc., I found myself to be a stronger, more outgoing and confident person. When I went to college, I decided that I wanted to give back like Coach Bruce and the only way I knew how was through sports.
What challenge did you overcome to get where you are today?
The main challenge I think I overcame to get where I am today is that I am a woman in a space where women are not respected. The sports industry has largely been run by men to empower men, so to be stepping into an industry where men run teams and play sports not widely offered to women was a challenge. This became obvious to me early in my college career. Professors would ask me what I wanted to do with my degree. I was told that in order to compete for jobs with men in my field I would need twice the education. I saw this, not so much as a challenge, but more as motivation to prove my classmates and professors wrong.
Did someone help you get to where you are today, like a mentor?
I have had a few mentors along the way, but they more so helped to inspire me to get to where I am today. They helped me find my passions and supported me mentally.
What did you love most about your former job?
What I loved most about being the general manager of the Jacksonville Giants, a professional minor league basketball team, is that I got to give back to my community.
Staycation or Vacation
Physical Book or Audiobook
Cats or Dogs
Stripes or Polka Dots
Mountains or Beach
Describe yourself in three words.
Dynamic, creative and reliable.
Your life philosophy is…
Never too young to start an empire. Never too old to chase a dream.
What is the best piece of advice you received?
I think the best piece of advice I have ever received is to go above and beyond.
If someone handed you an airline ticket to a place of your choosing, where would you go and why?
I would go to Greece. It is so pretty, and I have always wanted to see it in person.
What’s something you cannot live without?
Name a book you read that positively shaped you.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” by Mark Manson is a book that really helped me to look at my life and my decisions. It helped me to get a new perspective on how I can live my life to the fullest and be happier.
How do you unwind or relax after a long day?
Usually by hanging out with my dog. We will go to the park, take a walk or just hang out on the couch.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why?
If I could put up a giant billboard with anything on it, it would have to be the classic Ellen DeGeneres quote “Be kind to one another.” We could all use a reminder to be kinder.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
In the last five years, I think I have really learned to not let anything stand in my way.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
When I am feeling overwhelmed or unfocused, I will turn my phone off and go on a walk or run.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be money, time, energy, etc.)
Honestly, joining Gamma Phi Beta was one of the best investments I have ever made. My time at the Zeta Omega Chapter helped me to be more outgoing and how to manage work and play. Additionally, my time in Gamma Phi helped me to expand my creative side into new mediums.
Name a confident woman of character who you look up to? Why her?
Two women I look up to are Holly Rowe and Yolett McPhee-McCuin. Holly is a sports journalist and Yolett is a collegiate basketball coach. Both women are upbeat, humble and genuine. They give back to their communities, and I aspire to be like them.