The soon-to-be senior spent what he characterizes as a “life changing” 10 days at a National Students Leadership Conference (NSLC) on the campus of Fordham University in New York City, studying sports and entertainment management. Woodard was afforded the unique opportunity by virtue of an anonymous nomination and recommendation.
“We still don’t know who nominated me for NSLC, but whoever it was, I am so glad they did,” says Woodard. “When my parents (John and Deanna Woodard) and I got the information and started checking out NSLC, it just looked like too good an opportunity to pass up.”
NSLC is a well-regarded and established leadership conference for high-achieving students offering them a blend of classroom activities; hands-on, real world simulations; field trips; and motivational speakers related to a variety of career interests. In Woodard’s case it was sports management, but other areas of concentration included biotechnology; business and financial careers; education and the classroom; journalism, film, and media arts; intelligence and national security; international diplomacy; law and advocacy; engineering; forensic science; culinary arts and restaurant management; medicine and health care; and theatre.
And so on July 8, 2014 Woodard flew from Indianapolis to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, arriving to attend a welcoming barbecue and opening ceremonies. Then it was nine days of morning-to-night immersion in the world of sports/entertainment management and leadership principles. Leadership series lecturers included professors Jay Caputo and Rob Romano.
“They were cool dudes, and offered really great perspectives on things like contract information, the ins and outs of being a sports agent, the kind of issues that arise in dealing with athletes and entertainment figures. I gained a lot of insight I wouldn’t have had any idea about before,” says Woodard.
Romano, in particular, piqued Woodard’s interest. He is a former NFL player, now an attorney with his own agency (RISE), representing athletes and coaches on a national and international level. Guest speakers to which the students were also exposed included nationally acclaimed sports business/news names like Aaron Cohen ad Matt Stroup.
Classes on campus were divided into three categories. Client management simulations—Woodard’s favorite–had the attendees drafting letters to potential clients trying to earn their “business,” learning about the negotiation process, public relations hurdles and how to handle them, and contract issues.
A second focus was management labs, offering tips on public speaking, interviewing techniques, and other necessary skills in the job-seeking world.
The third category was doing an event management simulation. Conference attendees were divided into teams and assigned different tasks related to the planning and hosting of a major sporting competition called the Fordham Games—an Olympic-like competition that included tug-of-war, dodge ball, touch football and more.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal July 30, 2014 edition