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Volume 21 No. 1
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Spotlight: Lorene King, NASCAR Foundation

Lessons of for-profit world serve NASCAR Foundation chief well

Lorene King was recently named executive director of the NASCAR Foundation. King joins the nonprofit after seven years as senior director of corporate alliances at ALSAC/St. Jude, the fundraising organization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. She spoke with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Anna Hrushka.

New title: Executive director, NASCAR Foundation.
Previous title: Senior director of corporate alliances, ALSAC/St. Jude.
First job: Part-time office clerk at a library.
Education: Bachelor of arts in marketing, University of South Alabama; master’s in business administration, University of Memphis; certificate from the American Bar Association, paralegal studies, Louisiana State University.
Resides: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Grew up: DeFuniak Springs, Fla.
Executive most admired: Richard Shadyac Sr., former chief executive officer of ALSAC.
Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii.
Last book read: I’m currently reading “Water for Elephants.”
Last movie seen: “Act of Valor.”
Favorite movie: “Gone With the Wind.”
Favorite musician/band: Josh Turner.

What will be your biggest challenge?
With NASCAR and everyone involved — organizations, owners, teams, drivers and fans — there is a long history of philanthropic support. … My challenge, I believe, will be to learn the many ways that all of these entities work together.

What is the biggest career risk you've taken?
It was a risk and a blessing to shift careers from for-profit to nonprofit. … There’s a strong connection between the success that you have in the for-profit world and the ability to make the shift into nonprofit. In our world of doing good, you have to have the ability to do more with less.

Biggest professional accomplishment?
I had the opportunity to be part of a team that created the very first corporate campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, “Thanks and Giving.” In just eight years, that campaign garnered support from more than 60 national brands and now raises nearly $70 million annually.

Biggest disappointment?
Up to this point, I’ve not had the opportunity to work internationally.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Focus your efforts on what you do best. … It’s almost like the 80/20 rule. A lot of people try to focus on their weaknesses and improve those, but you can achieve more by focusing your attention on your strengths and leveraging the 80 percent that you have in that realm 

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
Right now I’m becoming immersed in NASCAR, so I’m watching the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.