SBD/October 5, 2016/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group Partner Harrie Bakst

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Bakst manages WCPG's sports talent, which includes James Blake and Victor Cruz
Name: Harrie Bakst

Position: Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group Partner

Age: 31

Where I’m from: Bronx

Where I call home: Riverdale, N.Y.

Focusing on right now
: Cause-based partnerships around the ’16 TCS N.Y. Marathon for adidas, Tiffany Co. and Kohler.

Best advice: I was 22 when I was diagnosed with a rare salivary gland cancer. With the snap of a finger, I didn’t know if I was going to live until I was even 25. Some of the best advice that I received during that time was to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and not to sweat the small things. When you’re running your own business, a lot of things are uncomfortable. I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable, which has allowed me to focus on what’s necessary to grow the business and find things we do really well that other companies can’t do as well. 

A must for a new hire: We’re focused on a very specific area in sports, so when we’re interviewing or looking for a new hire, we want people to not treat us like we do the same thing as other agencies. I want to see them do their homework. I want to know why they’re interested in this specific area in the industry and why they can bring value to us.

Exec I admire most: JOE FAVORITO took me under his wing when I was first starting out. He’s a really decorated and experienced person in the industry. He’ll forget more than I ever know, and I’m forever grateful for everything he’s done for me. 

Best book I’ve read this year: I’m re-reading “THE LAST LECTURE” by RANDY PAUSCH, who was a Carnegie-Mellon professor who passed away from pancreatic cancer. He taught his students about the meaning of life and what to focus on. It’s a book that puts things in perspective. It’s good to always remind ourselves of that. 

First thing in the morning: I have a 3-month-old, so my mornings tend to start pretty early when she wakes up. I’m a big fan of breakfast meetings. We’re in a business that’s very socially oriented, so it’s really good to do face-to-face meetings, and it’s nice to get one in before the day starts.

Talking tech: There are all these platforms out there that are trying to create new drivers for causes by leveraging sports talent and experiences. It’s a really competitive landscape, and we are always on the edge of our seats to see how these platforms are creating opportunities for our clients and the sports world in general, and how we can get ahead of the next big idea. We need to keep tabs on who’s succeeding, who’s in the lead and where new dollars in value are being put forth.

Must have music: I’m a big fan of OASIS and THE NATIONAL. Still to this day, Oasis is the best band I’ve seen live.

Food for thought
: I love sushi, and I swear by one place in New York: Yama on 17th and Irving. It’s nothing fancy, but I’d put it up against any top sushi spot in the world.

How I unwind: I’m a big runner and cyclist. I also love walking with our puppy Goldendoodle. It’s nice to take the dog out, take the baby out and clear my head.

Day in the life: My job is to manage and grow our sports portfolio and clientele, as well as oversee the team we have servicing clients. The sports talent we work with includes VICTOR CRUZ, JAMES BLAKE and their respective foundations and all their philanthropic work. We also work with a lot of brands in helping them get involved with causes. It’s where the worlds of sports marketing and cause marketing come together.
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