Chanelle Reynolds is making her mark in the male-dominated industry of sports. As a brand strategist, she has worked with several teams, from the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, to the NFL’s Washington Football Team. For Washington, she also works as the team’s NFL executive. Aside from that, she is also a “speaker, author, and minister.” Previously, she worked as account executive for the 76ers in the NBA’s G League. As she acquainted herself with the sports industry, she began to fall in love with ticket sales.
At the Washington Football Team, Chanelle Reynolds is also the co-chair of the team’s Black Engagement Network (BEN). This network was “designed to assist Black employees through professional development and career management.” Throughout her career, she has received various awards and recognitions, including a feature in Delaware Today Magazine’s Top Women in Business in 2016, and the Delaware Business Times’ 40 Under 40 in 2017.
Her strong faith also shows in her business endeavors. Chanelle Reynolds also started Double Portion with her twin sister. This brand is faith-based, and “dedicated to encouraging youth and young adults to build a relationship with God and grow stronger in their faith.”
As an author, Chanelle Reynolds also wrote “The Success Playbook,” a revealing look into her secrets to success, and her path to success as a woman working in a male-dominated industry.
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Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Chanelle Reynolds: Sure! I’ve been in the sports industry for six years now. I started as an account executive, selling tickets and eventually moved up into a leadership role where I now teach others the methodology of ticket sales and the art of sports selling.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Chanelle Reynolds: When I first started working in sports, I was a part of a start-up department for the G-League. The team I worked for had only been around for one season and was still in the early development stages. It was a fun experience because me and my coworkers built the team from the ground up. Some challenges that we faced included educating the buyers on our role within the organization, product offerings and developing a plan of action for ticket sales.
I’ve never considered giving up. My mentality is, “if it’s easy, let someone else do it. I’m here for the challenge, I’m here to be a change agent, I’m here to change the game.” I thrive from self-motivation and also have outside factors that contribute to my “why” or my drive. My parents are hard workers and having them as an example motivates me even more. Also, knowing that I’m one of few women in this industry and one of even fewer black women in this industry, gives me the drive to maintain my hustle.
Lastly, I want to be an example to HBCU students. Oftentimes, if you attend an HBCU (especially a small HBCU), you get caught up in thinking that you have less opportunities than those that attended larger schools. In most cases, that is true, but I’m here to break that way of thinking and change the narrative.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Chanelle Reynolds: It was my first week starting my job and we had an important event to attend with big clients. In the midst of me preparing for the event, I was also in the process of moving and didn’t have access to my full wardrobe. The night of the event, I decided to wear a bright colored skirt I got from Zara. The problem was that the skirt was the same color as our rival sports team. I was so embarrassed! One of my colleagues called me out for it, we laughed about it and moved past it. An important lesson I learned from that situation is to be intentional with my outfit color choices, especially for special occasions and events!
Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
Chanelle Reynolds: Based on my experience, I learned that you don’t necessarily have to be in a leadership role like the company’s president or CEO, to lead a company. Leadership comes from your actions. With the right mindset, you can lead a company from good to great.
- Morale — The company must constantly make an effort to measure the morale of the employees and evaluate how to keep everyone engaged. When you treat your employees great, they will treat your clients even greater.
- Diversity & Inclusion — It is important for a company to make a conscious effort towards recruiting from a diverse talent pool. I strongly advise that companies take a good look into HBCUs and utilize their career services offices to recruit the best talent. As previously mentioned, diverse companies perform better. Your company should reflect the world that we live in.
- Attitude — A positive attitude is needed in the work environment. In my latest book, The Success Playbook, I talk about the power of positivity. Your attitude determines your altitude and reflects how far you’ll go in life. Additionally, as an employer you should strive to maintain positivity. How can that be accomplished you ask? Through morale!
- CSR — Having a presence in the betterment and advancement of your community and in social issues will make a positive impact on your company. Making the issues of your consumer your issues will positively distinguish your company from its competitors.
- Development — Make a conscious effort to develop your existing talent. Investing in your employees can improve their value and promote a positive attitude in the workplace. Employees that have a great attitude is what helps create a great culture in a company.
Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Chanelle Reynolds: Tying your company with a purpose is what gives your employees and consumers even more reason to support your business. I would advise that it is best for all companies to have a purpose attached to it.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Chanelle Reynolds: Increase conversion rates by actually asking for the sale! I tell aspiring entrepreneurs all the time, don’t be afraid to ask for money. Also, obtain as many referrals as you can.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Chanelle Reynolds: Paint the picture of your brand. Tell the story of how and why your brand exists. If you show your consumers the behind the scenes on how you run your business, you’ll be more personable and relatable.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Chanelle Reynolds: Readers can visit my website atwww.chanellesreynolds.comand follow my social platforms @ChanelleSReynolds on Instagram and @ChanelleSpeaks on Twitter.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!