SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Jill Smoller

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COURTESY OF JILL SMOLLER
Smoller’s list of big clients includes Serena Williams.
Jill Smoller
William Morris Endeavor
Senior Vice President

There have been many female sports agents through the years, but few have represented the level of male sports athletes that Jill Smoller has. Since 1997, Smoller has worked with Rick Fox, Dennis Rodman and Pete Sampras. This year, she negotiated a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal for Kevin Garnett with Chinese shoe company Anta rather than him renewing a deal with his longtime sponsor Adidas.

Smoller, who started in the mailroom at ICM but now is senior vice president of William Morris Endeavor, is the longtime agent of Serena Williams and has represented Michelle Wie, as well. In addition, she represents Olympic gold-medal-winning track star Allyson Felix, who is expected to again compete for the U.S. in London next year.

Smoller keeps her list of athlete clients short, and when sports and entertainment grew together, Smoller was one of the first agents to take her athletes into the entertainment space, including negotiating film and television deals for Rodman and Fox.

— Liz Mullen
  • Crowning professional achievement: My involvement with client Serena Williams in opening two secondary schools in Africa with HP, and representing superstar athletes across a multitude of sports.
  • Biggest professional disappointment: Waking up to a 6 a.m. phone call and learning that my first client, Florence Griffith-Joyner, had passed away.
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: It’s OK to listen and not contribute if you have nothing important to add.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Mark McCormack.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Jill Smoller goes beyond the call of duty when it comes to being an agent. … When I was hospitalized earlier this year, Jill was one of the first people I called. She was there for me throughout that entire ordeal that shook up my life.”

  • Serena Williams, 13-time Grand Slam tournament champion
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