SBJ/March 25-31, 2013/People and Pop Culture
John Stephenson Jr., president and CEO, College Football Hall of Fame
Atlanta roots run deep for leader of College Football Hall of Fame
Published March 25, 2013, Page 27
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■ New title: President and chief executive officer, College Football Hall of Fame (Atlanta Hall Management)
■ Previous title: Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP
■ First job: Landscaping and maintenance for apartment complex during the summer after eighth grade
■ Education: Bachelor of science, University of Georgia (1997); Juris Doctor, University of Georgia (2000)
■ Resides: Atlanta
■ Grew up: Atlanta
■ Executive most admired: Roberto Goizueta, former Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive officer
■ Brand most admired: Disney
■ What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
To ensure that the new hall attraction exceeds expectations and is a worthy tribute to college football.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Focus on “industry,” not “sports.” First, be excellent at what you do (sales, accounting, law, finance, marketing, etc.), and then let the sports opportunities come to you.
■ What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Taking on the Hall of Fame project.
■ What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Making partner at Troutman Sanders at an early age.
■ What is your biggest professional disappointment?
Not playing first base for the Braves.
■ What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
Approvals for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.
■ What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Cost of attending some events live is prohibitive to some families.