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Brittany Hennessy opens up on how to define a personal brand, strategizing your content creation to reflect your value to brands, tips for using your social media bio to your advantage, knowing what trends to act on, and keys to leveraging your content creation skills for post-graduation opportunities. Brittany is the best-selling author of “INFLUENCER: Building Your Personal Brand In The Age Of Social Media”, and co-founder & Chief Relationship Officer of an influencer development platform serving creators, performers, and entrepreneurs, called CARBON AUGUST. She was the first Senior Director, Influencer Strategy & Talent Partnerships at Hearst Magazines Digital Media.
Ritesh Gupta, a highly sought-after and celebrated journalist-turned-filmmaker, is known for making big-brand short films, and helping them connect with their audiences, converting content into cultural moments (such as the groundbreaking Beats by Dre "You Love Me" Short Film). Winner of many major awards, Ritesh works with big-time athletes, top-shelf brands, and the biggest sports franchises, telling emotional stories which strike a chord in audiences across all platforms. He drops some true gems in this mesmerizing conversation about the true essence of effective storytelling, what will really get you in front of his lens, and the secret behind making your content, (on and off social media) actually worth doing.
Duke University D1 Track and Field athlete Emily Cole is known also from her viral TikTok video looking for a date for her formal (she shares the full behind the scenes story). Her social media following has rapidly grown since then, enabling her to go big on NIL opportunities. Much of her focus has been on utilizing her platform to benefit others. She’s gone from posting running videos and daily vlogs to writing the sports nutrition book AthlEATS. She has a true game plan on how she takes herself from NIL success to increasingly bigger opportunities after graduation, and covers how she plans content to connect with her audience, her thoughts on reusing TikTok videos on Instagram, and the one piece of advice she’d give every student athlete on making their personal brand work for them.
Middle-blocker volleyball athlete at Troy University, Caitlin Coops, has turned her love of fashion modeling into one NIL deal after another. Caitlin is in the zone with business opportunities, and it shows. She's a great example of why college athletes can catch the attention of brands before they’ve got hundreds of thousands of social media followers. Caitlin opens up on being misunderstood by audiences, tips to engage with brands, knowing your own brand and what you bring to the table, dealing with haters, and ways student athletes can position themselves to make sure it’s not over after graduation.
Founder of the NIL Network and the Name, Image, and Likeness Coordinator for San Diego State University, Michelle Meyer is definitely one of the go-to experts in the NIL space. She offers insights including: how NIL has changed the college sports experience, and the current opportunity for college athletes to gain life and entrepreneurial skills, a look into the NIL opportunities for athletes in Olympics sports, why it matters that you know what you want to get out of NIL opportunities, and the amazing path to networking it offers, the reality of teaching brands about NIL, and value of researching brands and platforms, figuring out the right marketplaces for you, and how many you should work with.
Why did this athlete decide to stay for another college season instead of potentially going pro, just to make the most of his NIL possibilities? It's end-to-end knowledge and wisdom from Ashland University track and field shining star Trevor Bassitt (9x National Champion and 16x All-American). In spite of a still relatively nascent social media following, Trevor’s business strategy and commitment, tenacity, and fearlessness have led to valuable NIL opportunities. Trevor also shares how you can identify your own personal brand, strategies for getting the attention of brands when you are being overlooked, important considerations as our own publicist, the need to educate some brands on NIL, and how looking at analytics helps him strategize decisions on what content to post, and the best times to do so.
College athlete Derrian Gobourne (2019 NCAA National Champion, 1st Team All- American and 3-time all-SEC gymnast) recently inked a groundbreaking NIL deal with Legacy League to launch an NFT collection called "Black Girl Magic". In this exclusive podcast interview, Derrian (also known as "Queen of the Floor") shares why the NFT series will feature other black female gymnasts who are breaking glass ceilings at their respective programs, and what the opportunity of NIL has meant to her -- being able to launch this both as a financial opportunity, and as a personally meaningful initiative.
Gymnastics phenom Leah Clapper, a senior at University of Florida and 2021 Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, has built a social following and found success with brand deals. She's done something very interesting with the opportunity offered by NIL by teaming up with her club coach to create and launch her own product: the first ever gymnastics board game Balance Palace, with the goal of creating experiences that ignite the athlete spirit within. She shares the importance of storytelling in marketing, taking a product from concept to launch,  and why keeping what your audience actually wants in mind is key for succeeding with anything  in brand-building and NIL.
Bre Socker has concluded a storied student athlete career in field hockey by making the most of the opportunities offered by NIL in her final semester. She shares how she reached out to brands and why the relationships she’s developed over time led to deals, why knowledge is power in determining pricing, the often-overlooked advantage in being a D3 athlete when being considered by brands, the value of creating merchandise, where schools can do even more to support their athletes with the emerging realities created by NIL, and why she’s such an advocate of talking about mental health. A Barstool athlete, Bre finished her college athletic career in Division 3 field hockey at St John Fisher College with the National Field Hockey Coaches Association naming her an All-American for the second time.
The Hockey Guys are a popular group of student hockey players who make content for people of all different walks of life to consume, showing what happens on and off the ice. Three members, David Kaplan, Austin Friesen, and Will Blake, reveal how with more than a million followers on TikTok, a popular podcast, and much more, 10 friends have turned sharing their lives on and off the ice into story of NIL success that’s also setting them up for life after college, as well as how they have faced challenge of international students with NIL.
Eric Jacks of Collab

Eric Jacks of Collab


To get a brand’s attention and succeed with that brand, a student athlete's video content is key. Eric Jacks, Chief Strategy Officer for Collab (big deal digital talent network and entertainment studio with a mission to “help  creators win at life”), opens up about what catches the eye of agencies and brands beyond the number of followers, how “produced” a video content needs to be (particularly for those student athletes who without equipment or skills for professional-level content), what types of videos do the best, and how to leverage one's position as a student athlete to create unique or compelling content and make a judgment call if that content is even a good fit.
Ryan Detert (CEO at Influential, the world's largest influencer marketing company) and Anthony Zaccaria (Co-founder/Chief Commercial Officer at Linktree) offer a look at InfluentialU, which is leading the charge to help NCAA athletes monetize name, image and likeness. They share powerful insights on how to attract and approach brands and what prep work is needed to do so, how to negotiate a deal, and some real world examples of other college athletes who found a path to successful dealmaking.
University of Kentucky track and field star, and Team USA member, Masai Russell has secured valuable NIL deals, including a new partnership with Spring and Linktree. She shares how that deal went down, how she makes sure she’s got time for brand building and also school and athletic obligations, advice for pricing brand deals and making the most of NIL, and why it’s so important to pay attention to when a deal with a brand is right for you  (and also when it  isn't). 
An expert in college athletics including NIL ins/outs and how they intersect with higher education management, media, and policy, Dr. Karen Weaver brings wisdom and perspective from a wide ranging 3-decade career, as a contributor and with the podcast “Trustees and Presidents.”  She brings meaningful intel on why NIL opportunities exist at every level, and why knowing NIL rules and school policies and codes, and understanding your own brand, are all crucial to your success.  
Quarterback at University of Southern California, and founder of the world’s first student-athlete run hunger-relief non-profit , Second Spoon, Anthony "Mo" Hasan has worked hard building his personal brand, including as cohost of the first active college football podcast “Momentum” with former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley, featuring talk with teammates and athletic personalities, frequently focusing on NIL before it even became an active opportunity. Mo reveals why diversifying his brand activities has been key to keep him relevant during a season in which he’s been sidelined with an injury, and why keeping athletics as a priority can actually strengthen your brand building efforts.
College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk, a fast growing US brand with 150 franchises, was one of a few brands that capitalized on NIL  on Day 1 with 2 individual college players. They’ve since grabbed deals with the entire UCF women's basketball team and recently the San Diego State football team. Co-Founder Nick Friedman offers insights on the massive opportunity ahead for female student athletes, the surprising social media channels that most student athletes don't (but should) take advantage of to grow their brands, and how remarkably easy it can be to approach a brand for partnership.  
Accomplished Clemson Tigers running back Darien Rencher has been highly dedicated to building his brand smartly and strategically. His excellent podcast The Players Club with Darien Rencher has gained quick traction, and with more than 100k TikTok followers he’s already struck deals with impressive brands like Raising Cane's and Allstate.  Darien shares his keen sense of why every student athlete must protect their good name, and what name, image, and likeness (NIL) offers for a truly amplifying  opportunity.
Drew Butler, former NFL punter for the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers, was twice First-Team Academic All-American as a UGA student athlete. Host of the highly popular “Punt & Pass" podcast , he speaks from personal experience. VP of Collegiate at leading sports marketplace for student athletes Icon Source, Drew shares a wealth of valuable intel including red flags to watch for when dealing with brands, tips for building the right profile bio, the opportunity for athletes without big social followings to capitalize on NIL, and the one thing too many student athletes don't (but should) do to close a deal with a brand.
NAIA volleyball student athlete Chloe Mitchell, a sophomore at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI, is already a powerhouse. She started Playbooked, a platform which connects college athletes with fans and brands, has built a formidable following of 2.5M on TikTok, and has partnered with big deal brands. She knows NIL inside out, and shares the importance of setting boundaries with brands, tips for getting traction on social media and insights into business strategy in succeeding with brands.
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