Never Stop Networking: When Passion Leads to Business Opportunities

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Chris McCullough and I at TopSpinNY taking a selfie

One of the things I’ve learned throughout my career [and I have to add, a concept that women fail to do as well as their male counterparts] is to continuously network, even after we’ve landed the job of our dreams.

During my time at NYU as a Cinema Studies grad student, I wrote a short thesis on education reform and the documentary Waiting for Superman. If you know me personally, you know that I LOVE DOCUMENTARIES, but most importantly, that I’m quite passionate about closing the achievement gap, abolishing school zoning laws that continue to marginalize communities of color, and of course the prison industrial complex pipeline: the closing of public schools in urban areas and the proliferation of privatized prisons. [If you’re interested, here’s a link to my essay].

Waiting For Superman 

I mention this tidbit of information because my passion in education reform helped bridge a life long business associate, Peter Farnsworth, and client, TOPSPIN CHARITY.

Jimmy Craft, Peter Farnsworth, Me

About 3 years ago, while I was working at Bleacher Report, the NBA team was tasked to cover an event where we’d get access to New York City’s major sports teams: Brooklyn Nets; NY Jets; NY Giants; as well as promote a great cause.

While I was interviewing Deron Williams, at the time the point guard of the Brooklyn Nets, I bumped into the founder of the organization, Peter Farnsworth. We instantly connected on our passion for education and the mission of his company.

Because of Peter’s extensive experience as an executive of the National Basketball Association and general sports background, he leveraged his contacts to create an organization that commences biannually for their Ping Pong tournament where socialites, community members, athletes, and non-profit organizations in education come together to raise money for a great cause while bringing their A-Game (Learn more about TopSPin)!

I knew right away after meeting Peter that I wanted to align myself with his organization. So of course, I brainstormed ways to add value to his organization as a volunteer. So here I am, 3 years later after we met working with TopSpin to optimize growth as their marketing/branding strategist with the help of my good friend (who is also partnering up with me to grow the TopSpin brand),  Chelsea.

Our goal for this year is to double down on their bottom line through brand recognition, sponsorships, branded content (including video), and hosting informative yet fun events to raise funds for their partners.

So…although networking can be a drag,  you shouldn’t be discouraged- passion often leads to business opportunities. When it comes to networking it is important that you don’t downplay your interests and hobbies outside of your employer. I still work in production management for Turner Broadcasting (truTV) but my work outside of my employer never stops.

You never know who you’ll meet and who you’ll connect with. I’m a huge advocate of having some kind of autonomy outside of your employer so you’re never beholden or identified by a single entity.

So ladies and gentleman, your network is your net worth, never stop connecting!


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Follow Topspin @TopSPinCharity on FB, Instagram, and Twitter

Pictures credited by SoBoh Consulting, The Branding Cannon, & TopSpin Charity

With love!


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