Women’s History Month Interview Series: Q&A with Kristi Dosh, Leading Sports Business Reporter
Kristi Dosh is one of the sports world’s leading authorities and reporters on the business of college and professional
sports. She has used her lifelong passion for sports and her extensive legal background to report on everything from labor issues in professional sports to the intricacies of intercollegiate financial matters.
Dosh appears regularly to share her expertise on such media outlets such as ESPN, Forbes, The Tim Brando Show, Sirius XM radio and the Comcast Sports Network.
In addition to her media duties, Dosh writes extensively on sports business and financial matters and serves as an adjunct instructor in the Sports Management program at the University of North Florida. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe University and a J.D. from the University of Florida.
Recently Dosh took time out of her busy workday to answer questions from Bob Whitney about her rise to the top
in what has traditionally been a male dominated industry.
1. What sports did you participate in/ most enjoy when you were growing up?
I tried a little bit of everything – softball, basketball (where I was the only girl in the league), gymnastics, cheerleading, dance. Softball was always my favorite, and I played from age 5 to 25, the last 12 years or so in fastpitch.
2. What attracted you to be so passionate about the sports industry?
I grew up watching sports with my dad while my mom worked at night. Baseball was my first love, and I always looked for ways to integrate it into projects or papers through middle school, high school, college and law school.
3. What were your biggest challenges when you first entered the sports world?
Finding an audience – I started out as a baseball blogger on a blog I created myself. Pretty sure not even my parents were reading it in the beginning.
4. How did your legal background help you succeed?
I was able to analyze and write about an aspect of sports not many others could – collective bargaining agreements. I could actually read the CBAs and understand the legal implications and then break them down for the average fan. In addition to the CBAs, I can read and analyze just about any contract, and sports are built around contracts, from broadcast to apparel deals to employment agreements. I also think a legal education gives you a solid background in research and writing, which is probably why you see so many novelists and other authors who are former attorneys.
5. What part of your work is most enjoyable and why? Business analysis, writing, teaching, consulting, speaking? What have you found to be most challenging for you?
Writing is my primary focus. I enjoy writing about almost anything, which is why I often write pieces for magazines on non-sports topics. I also blog about career advice, writing advice and a number of other topics. I simply love to write. A pretty close second behind that is speaking to groups, from students to professional organizations and booster clubs. I love public speaking. The most challenging thing is probably teaching, because I have no formal education aimed at teaching. I’ve had to learn how to develop and plan out a course, how to adapt course materials for students with learning disabilities and generally how to engage students.
6. What three/four things would you offer to other young women looking to pursue a career in a typically male-dominated industry like sports?
Stop focusing on being female. Yes, there are instances where women have been mistreated or passed over for jobs or paid less than their male peers – I’m not saying those things don’t happen. However, I meet an incredible number of young females who want to work in sports that have let those sort of stories completely destroy their confidence. Personally, I have never once felt that being a woman negatively impacted me in a professional situation. In fact, I think at times it’s helped me more than it’s hurt me. My advice for young women is to spend more time focusing on what you can do to improve your experience and skills and less time worrying about the fact that you’re a woman.
7. You are so busy, How do you balance your work and relaxation?
Honestly, I’m pretty terrible at relaxing. I definitely have a tough time completely stepping away from my computer or phone, even for just an hour or two. It’s something I’m trying to make a point to change. My fiancé is the exact same way, so at least we’re understanding of each other, but we both acknowledge we need to take on less and enjoy more downtime.
8. Who has been the most fascinating sports personality you have recently met in your travels?
I don’t meet the people in sports that most people would be interested in, like athletes. I meet athletic directors the most often, and sometimes bowl directors or professional team management – people I personally find fascinating, but who most fans probably wouldn’t even recognize on the street. Someone I haven’t met in person, but who really impressed me in a phone interview, was NFL player Jonathan Vilma. I interviewed him about his business ventures outside of football, and I was incredibly impressed with his business acumen. He’s a very intelligent guy, and he was very giving of his time for the piece I was writing.
9. If you were to host a dinner with three women in sports (past or present) who would they be and why?
I’m dying to meet Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer for WWE, so she’d definitely be on the list. She’s obviously a successful woman in a male-dominated industry, and I’m fascinated by the WWE in general. I’d also like to meet Billie Jean King. I interned at the WTA Tour, and I always heard great things about her. She was a true pioneer for female athletes. This one may not be a popular choice, but I think I’d put Danica Patrick on my list. I say it may not be a popular choice, because she’s very polarizing. When I write about her I get the same response I get when I write about Tim Tebow – people either love her or hate her. Again, she’s a woman trying to make her mark in a male-dominated industry. She’s had to figure out how to balance sex appeal with business acumen and raw talent in her sport. None of that is easy, and there’s no guidebook to tell you how to do it.
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