WSMI Visits NFL Network for Lunch-and-Learn With COO Kim Williams

On Tuesday morning, more than 50 members of SVG’s Women’s Sports Media Initiative convened for a lunch-and-learn at the National Football League’s facilities and studios in Culver City, CA, the operational home of the NFL Network, NFL RedZone, and

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NFL Network COO Kim Williams served as the event’s keynote speaker. Besides being responsible for the day-to-day management of the league’s cable-television assets, she played a role in the launch of the NFL Network-produced NFL RedZone channel in fall 2009, which earned a Sports Emmy nomination for Outstanding New Approaches, Coverage, in its debut season.

Speaking to the WSMI members in attendance, Williams offered opinions, advice, and anecdotes related to her central theme: succeeding in your career, regardless of the path life takes you.

Williams, a Japanese major in college, jokingly referred to herself as “the poster child for nonlinear career paths” but quickly noted that “the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line.”

Opportunities may arise in unexpected places, and so it is important to be present in every position and aware when they do. To grow and learn, she urged, attendees should seek out positions outside their comfort zone.

“Be aware of your learning curve, be aware of your comfort zone, and, when opportunities present themselves, jump at them,” said Williams. “Life has a strange way of taking you down paths you never intended, and, sometimes, life’s plans [do not] proceed as planned. So it’s important to be acutely aware of this.”

She also discussed what she termed “the what” vs. “the how”: the balance between individual competency and leadership style.

Speaking to “the what,” Williams urged, “Be smart about what it is that you do. Have an expertise, have technical depth and breadth. Have a point of view. Have an opinion. Be good at what you do.”

“The how,” on the other hand, is how you communicate with and have an effect on others.

“Be infectiously passionate about what you do,” Williams advised. “We’re at the office a lot; we should have fun and enjoy the people we work with.”

And when it comes to communicating ideas, her advice was simple and straightforward: “Don’t wait for other people to be that person. You be that person.”

The WSMI members in attendance were also given a tour of NFL Network’s Stage 1 and 2, where popular shows Total Access and GameDay are filmed. Kelly Schmidt, HR generalist for the NFL Network, pointed out a bank of televisions located in the corner of Stage 2 that serves as the nerve center for NFL RedZone.

WSMI’s next meeting will be held in conjunction with NAB in April. For more information on WSMI, contact [email protected].

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