How She Got There: Robin Bishow, WNBA Director of Corporate Development

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Name: Robin Bishow
Age: 31
Job Title: Director of Corporate Development, WNBA
College Name/Major: Undergrad: New York University, Finance and Accounting, Master of Business Administration: UCLA

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

As the Director of Corporate Development at the WNBA, my job is very broad in scope. No day is ever the same, which is what I love about my position. I work with almost every department across the larger NBA organization to drive the WNBA business forward, with the goal of introducing our product to new people and giving our fans an experience that goes beyond basketball, to inspire and empower the next generation. In my role, I oversee our events, including WNBA All-Star and WNBA Draft, and work our events team and our live production and entertainment team on the in-venue and on-air components. I work closely with our twelve teams to assist with ticket sales, sponsorship and marketing initiatives in their local markets.

I also partner with our marketing and public relations teams on our branding campaigns, paid and unpaid media, as well as our digital and social media teams on our content and voice across our various platforms and products. It can be a lot to juggl­e ­– but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is knowing that everyone who works for or with the WNBA has a shared value of believing our game makes an impact. Our players, front office staff, owners, coaches and referees are all working together to push beyond the world of sport to show young girls and boys what is truly possible. We stand for equality and diversity, inclusion and empowerment. Being a part of this vehicle for change, seeing the impact we have on the younger generation first hand, is unique in a career and pushes me forward each and every day.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

Right out of college I took a job with Turner Broadcasting in their ad sales finance department as a financial analyst. I was responsible for working closely with the sales team and inventory management team to forecast and budget monthly advertising sales for Turner’s twenty plus digital properties. There was no magic sauce to getting the job. I didn’t have any connections within the company, but I did my research, wore my best lady suit, and made sure to nail the interview.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

The first department head I worked for told me to never apologize. “Apologizes only put you in a weak position, and women can’t afford that in the corporate world.” Instead, make it clear that you have learned from the error and how you will modify your approach in the future. This has proved invaluable in my career and is something I employ daily.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

Early in my career I wanted to prove that I could work faster than anyone else in the group and thought that would lead to managers giving me additional, more complex assignments. But speed often comes at the cost of accuracy or worse, lack of innovation. Management wants to see that you are thinking about multiple ways to solve the presented problem. Taking the time to breakdown the problem and approach it from multiple vantages will prove you are ready thinking about the bigger picture and ready for greater challenges.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

For me, the most important quality in a candidate is a passion for the industry, a desire to learn and a demonstrated willingness to jump in on any task no matter how big or small. Working at the WNBA, we are always the underdog. I need individuals who are ready to roll up their selves and put in the sweat equity on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

Meaningfully network. Some people say it’s how many people you know, I think it’s more about how many people will advocate on your behalf. I have personally experienced greater success from making a strong impact on one or two people in the industry or position I was interested in versus meeting a hundred people who won’t remember your name after the evening’s event. While I think this is particularly important in the entertainment and sports industry since they are notably tight knit communities, I believe the same advice can be applied regardless of your specific career aspirations.

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

Everyone these days has a good education, has multiple stand out internships and leads ten plus clubs on campus. Candidates now really need to stand out by bringing their personality to life on their resume. One of my favorites was a woman who started a rugby team at her school. Another was an individual who took it upon herself to find and interview over 200 people in the sports industry to create her own sports blog. Whatever your passion is, make room for it on your resume (and maybe be deleting the laundry list of clubs).

Are you blown away by these #jobgoals? Visit the Her Campus Job Board to learn more about available positions at the WNBA and apply today!