When you speak to Samantha, you realize she is driven to be a force to be reckoned with. She has downshifted, made decisions that will best suit the path she wished to pursue. That adaptability will make her a great sports agent. To be a female in this arena, you understand that there will be challenges above and beyond the normal grind of working in sports, and she is prepared to face those head on.
Sam’s route to becoming an agent did not follow the industry standard. It is important to show people that there are many different ways to achieving your dreams. Dedication, hard work, and making moves that create a little bit of luck can make all the difference. Sports Agent Blog is excited to bring you this interview with our very own Samantha Greenberg, one of our newest females in sports.
SAB: Who was your biggest inspiration in your life?
SG: My biggest inspiration outside of the industry has been my grandfather. “The Yankee Man” himself as he was called. My grandfather is the reason I love sports the way I do. Growing up every summer, I would head to the West Coast of Florida and spend the whole summer with my grandparents. As a kid in Largo, Florida, there were not a lot of things to do. However, every summer I wanted to go back and continue to go to sporting events. My grandfather never once said to me I could not participate in sports because I was a girl. If anything, he always encouraged me to do anything I wanted in life. He saw that I was passionate and actively watched the games, memorizing stats as we went every summer to them. I would jump at the opportunity to go to games, Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the Tampa Bay Rays were in town. I’ll always remember us going to Tampa Bay Rays games in 2008 when they went to the World Series. He was quite a character. He wore a Yankees hat every day and did not care about the occasion. In fact, he wore his Yankee hat even to Tampa Bay Rays games when they weren’t playing. He would buy 9-dollar seats and would sneak his way to sitting by third base. He made me realize how much I loved sports. When we would see each other, we would always talk about how the Rays were doing, or even how the Tampa Bay Lightning did. It was always sports talk and jokes with him. It was these moments that really made me want to pursue my passion of going to college and studying to become an agent. It even led me to leaving sunny South Florida and heading to Buffalo, New York to attend college at Canisius College enduring lake effect snow after never seeing snow before. In November of 2020, my grandfather passed away, but I know he continues to be my biggest motivator in continuing to chase my dreams. In May of this current year, I was officially certified to be a WNBA, FIBA, and Athlete Agent in the state of Florida. He never got to see this, but I do know he would have been proud of me.
SAB: Are there any specific women in sports you look up to?
SG: Within the sports agent industry, I definitely look up to Nicole Lynn, amongst others. She has definitely been a role model of success, enduring obstacles and becoming a household name is the dream I want to achieve one day. I follow her on social media and it has shown me that I can do my dream and overcome adversity. I have definitely always admired her success and seen what she has done and wanted to take that into my life. I also have a few brands on social media that I follow that I really think they do an amazing job of showing women in sports living their dreams. There is a company I follow on social media and buy a ton of their product that is called Play Like a Girl Apparel, and I just love the message that the brand delivers. While it is an entity, I think the message that company delivers offers a lot of motivation. They actually sell a sweatshirt that says “Future Women Sports Agent” and they sell a shirt that says “Women Sports Agent,” so I bought both on the same day because I knew one day, I’d be able to wear the shirt that said “Women Sports Agent” and actually mean it.
SAB: Women are still gaining ground in sports, but they are beginning to have such strong representation and a real voice within the sports community. What did you view as your biggest accomplishment and also your biggest hurdle along the way?
SB: When I started college in 2013, the majority of what I would see online was a male point of view. Starting out in college and hearing more stories from males in the industry instead of a female voice was challenging. I would take classes in college and the majority of the classroom was male. It really made me question my future goal in a sense. A major stigma in this industry is it is still a male-dominated industry. When you walk into something being the minority, you can feel a sense of nervousness. This is where my biggest accomplishment comes into place. My biggest accomplishment and my biggest hurdle have been the same thing. If someone were to have told me when I was 13 that I would become a sports agent during a worldwide pandemic, I probably would have laughed and then maybe became an accountant. But, even three months before our world was affected by a pandemic, I didn’t think the dream would happen within that time. In December of 2019, I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Canisius College. I was working for a marketing firm at the time and I was so pushed on “What’s next in my life?” After finishing my Master’s, I wanted to do so much, but needed to begin at step one. Being an agent isn’t just a job you can apply for on Indeed. It was something that needed a lot of research and being in the right room at the right time. For me, the biggest accomplishment and the biggest hurdle have been becoming a certified WNBA, FIBA and Athlete Agent in the State of Florida during a worldwide pandemic. The biggest hurdle of being a female in a male-dominated industry was already a hurdle, but now you throw in a worldwide pandemic, and to be able to overcome all of that and still begin to achieve my goal, it made me really proud of myself.
SAB: As a new agent, trying to build your roster, what advice do you have for people pursuing this career?
SB: As I enter my rookie year of being an agent, the biggest piece of advice I would give is to not give up. Some days may seem cloudy, but don’t let that stop you from chasing your dream. There is no one set path to becoming an agent. It’s not like becoming a doctor, where you have to attend medical school. That’s what makes this industry so unique is how there is not a straight line on how to get to the end goal. A valuable lesson I tell anyone who messages me is to network. Reach out to people in the industry and listen to their story. It’s a huge component. Don’t just send your resume and ask for an internship. Learn from them. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.
SAB: When did you realize you wanted to become an agent?
SB: I realized I wanted to be a sports agent when I turned 13. I had just seen the show Entourage and I wanted to be like Ari Gold, but of sports. I googled “How to be a sports agent” and had the vaguest responses I had ever seen in my life. “Schooling for sports agents” and of course it gave me a list of the top ten sports agents in the industry at the time. One by one, I went through the list and saw “Law school, law school, and law school.” Being 13 and having maybe seen Legally Blonde quite a few times, I was like “If Elle Woods can do it, I can do it.” Oh, how I was naive. High school came and went and I knew I wanted to study Sports Management. At the time of applying to colleges, a lot of schools actually didn’t have a set sports management program. I spent some time on Google again and looked up “Best sports management programs” and of course I applied to the top schools for it. My final decisions were between Xavier University, Canisius College, and UMass-Amherst (but for undecided). In the end, Canisius stood out to me. I had never been to Buffalo, ever. I had never seen snow, ever. So, I paid my deposit to go to school and didn’t see Buffalo until the first week of classes. I left sunny South Florida for a new experience in weather. But it was a great opportunity for me. I did two years at Canisius where I was given opportunities in the sports industry that were new to me. I did merchandise sales, promotional events, and I was even the college mascot at some points. I got to see the ins and outs of the MAAC Conference. After completing two years, I went back to University of Miami where I finished university. It was a very different experience in terms of an athletic department. During my time at the University of Miami, I had the opportunity my senior year to complete an internship with a football-based agency in Coral Gables. I was able to see what went into the recruiting process before the NFL Draft. It was all brand new to me, but I was also able to gain experience writing press releases and even doing some blog articles for the company blog.
Upon graduation, I knew I was set on law school. It was the only card in my agent path I thought. I applied to the top Sports Law programs on the list. I applied to University of Miami, Villanova, and Marquette University amongst many others. One by one the letters were small, which meant either rejection or waitlist…. As each rejection came in, I was starting to give up on law school altogether. I had actually applied for my Master’s as well and gotten accepted because of all of the rejections I received. One day I was sitting at home already having made up my mind, when I got an email that said I was taken off of the waitlist at Marquette University. I was bummed. I had already made up my mind that if law school didn’t want me, I didn’t want law school. But of course, come August, I moved to Milwaukee. I thought for three years I can do school and I’ll be a lawyer. Oh, how naive. My 1L came and second semester after winter break, I felt the energy decreasing in how I did not want to do this. There had to be another way to chase my dream without going to law school. I looked it up so many times. I even had a falling out with my parents because I wanted to come home. I was done with law school. I even spent time applying for jobs on Indeed to have something lined up when I “dropped out.” I had stopped wanting to go to class, and I had made up my mind. I reapplied for my Masters and got in. In May, I packed up my apartment in Milwaukee even though my lease wasn’t over until August and I left. I came home and honestly; it was the best decision I have ever made in my life.
SAB: I think a lot of people coming into this industry think you have to follow certain steps to becoming an agent. Can you tell me about your experience getting hired with an agency?
SB: After leaving law school, I completed my Masters at Canisius College. During my last semester of my Master’s, I needed to do an internship in order to graduate. I was on Twitter and saw an opportunity that the Sports Agent Blog had posted about GSE Worldwide looking for a Talent Marketing Intern for the summer. I applied immediately for the position and even did whatever was necessary. After the interview, they told me they weren’t able to offer me a position as a summer intern, but really wanted me for an intern in the Fall, which would guarantee more hours. I was so excited and very happy because I knew that would cover my credit hours I needed to graduate. At GSE Worldwide, I was able to learn a lot about the sports marketing aspect of being an agent. We were able to work on obtaining marketing deals for select NFL players. After this internship, I had graduated with my Master’s degree and was sitting at home thinking “what’s next for me?” I had the degree on the wall, and I was working a job to pay bills. I went on the NFLPA website and the NBPA website and went through the agent directory. I began to reach out to agents and find out more about how they got their start. I wanted to know how they prepared for the agency exams since that was the next step for me. I focused more on agents who didn’t go to law school because I knew that I wanted to see similar paths. It was during this time I received emails back and set up calls to speak to various agents. All of them had very different paths and a commonality in their ending. In one of these instances, I ended up networking with an agent based in Miami and he was looking for an intern for the year. I prepared my resume, cover letter, and even prepared some writing samples of press releases I had done in the past. I was like a kid on Christmas morning the day of the interview. This was not an everyday job posting. In fact, it was a rare instance. We had an interview and a few days later I got the call that I had been offered an internship with the agency. I immediately accepted and have been with the agency ever since and learning more every day. I have been able to see from recruiting to preparing for the NBA Draft to even the processes of getting ready to leave to a foreign country and what is involved. I am officially a certified WNBA, FIBA, and Athlete Agent in the State of Florida, all within the last few months. Everyone tells you, you need to network, but it’s true. I used to work in sales and I would make 100 calls a day, only to get a few meetings and hope one of those meetings would lead to a close. This has been the opportunity that I had always wanted. Two months into becoming an intern, COVID had changed the world. My first look into the sports agency industry and the world was turned upside down. March Madness had been cancelled, basketball had stopped playing, and players were not able to go to outside countries as easily. It has definitely been a learning experience and my journey is only just beginning.
For more information on Sam Greenberg, please follow go follow her on Twitter and Instagram.