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Volume 23 No. 13
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What I Like: Deborah Stroman, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


What I like …

Before becoming a professor, Stroman played and coached college basketball.

An insight: Everybody has a story. Most people don’t take the time to listen.

An influential person in my career: Dr. Joseph DeSimone, innovative scientist and diversity champion.

An out-of-the-box idea: One game a year each pro team provides lower-level seating at a significant discount to mentors who bring their mentee.

A timeless idea: Giving thanks to those who have helped you along the way.

A business deal: Venus Williams negotiates for pay equity at Wimbledon.

Deborah Stroman
Director, Center of Sport Business, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School

What I Do: Director, Center of Sport Business, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Where I’m From: I grew up in suburban Philadelphia (aka Main Line), but now call Chapel Hill, N.C., home.
Where I Went to School: B.S., history and social studies education, University of Virginia; M.A., sport administration, University of North Carolina; Ph.D., business, Capella University.
My First Job: Cleaning offices in corporate buildings during high school. First industry position: National director of the NCAA’s Volunteers for Youth program.

A sports facility: AT&T Stadium.

A sports event: College Football Playoff National Championship.

A strategy: Invest in students. The return in loyalty, kindness and brain power is priceless.

A trend: Athletic departments’ extreme interest in analytics to improve poor game attendance, marketing tactics, and team performance.

An innovation: Professional sport teams developing their own sport business education programs.

A pro league or team business initiative: NBA D-League.

A story that bears watching: Athletes

with their own venture funds.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: New York Yankees logo.

A fantasy job: All powerful czar of professional, collegiate, and interscholastic girls/women’s basketball.

A Thing I teach: “It’s not what you know. It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you on a favorable basis.” Relationships count.

Stroman and Bill Rhoden with group at CFP title game

What I like about …

My job: I can be innovative while working on a variety of exciting projects on campus and beyond.

Sports: Competition is character revealing. Can’t hide who you are.

Sports business: Titles don’t matter; what value can you add to the team or project?

Sports technology: Gives nerds a legitimate and respected place in the industry.

Competing: Opportunity to weed out the do-nothing talkers or haters.

The future of sports business: Provides a major assist to foster more cultural understanding.

Joseph DiSimone with President Barack Obama
Venus Williams

What I would like to …

Change in what I do: Increased time to help more students and alumni advance in their career.

See: Less polarization of U.S. citizens in our democracy.

See more of in sports business: More African-Americans with control over a budget.

See less of in sports: Broadcasters who think they are more important than the players or the game.

See less of in sports business: Championship athletes refusing to go to the White House.

See different: More universities valuing sport business curricula.

Eliminate: NCAA DI WBB Final Four on the same weekend of MBB Final Four


What I Like …

That would surprise those who know me: I own a luxury massage chair.

Above all else: People who look out for the underrepresented who lack access and voice.

About myself: I state daily affirmations to stay positive and bolster my creative nature.

Heroes/Heroines: God.

Players: LeBron James, Serena Williams, Walt Frazier, and Wilma Rudolph.

Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Charlotte Hornets, N.Y. Yankees.

City: Athens, Greece.

Possession: Cross given to me by my mother.

Memento: Refrigerator magnets from trips.

Music: Gospel and jazz.

Books: Leadership, positivity, and history genres.

Authors: Maya Angelou, John Maxwell, James Baldwin, Daniel Goleman, Seth Godin, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker.

Websites: ESPN, SBJ, SportTechie, ESPN The Undefeated, and Reuters.

Chores: Vacuuming and washing dishes.

Hobbies: Playing basketball (National Senior Games), reading, and traveling.

Trips: Greece, South Africa, Dominican Republic and Hong Kong.

Movies: “E.T.,” “Remember the Titans,” “42,” “12 Angry Men,” “Crash,” “Midnight Express,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Spotlight” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Artist (musical): Bob Marley; John Legend; Earth, Wind and Fire; Jill Scott; and Adele.

Food: Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, vegetarian dishes, green vegetables.

Dessert: Cookies and Cream ice cream.

Vacation spots: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic; Virgin Islands; Tampa.

Cars: Lexus SUV and Mazda Miata.

Quote: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,” Aristotle.