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December 2020

ELEVATE PERSPECTIVE: The Importance of Resilience

Q&A with Capture Sports Agency in Fort Wayne: How it’s charting its own path as a sports agency

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Q&A with Capture Sports Agency in Fort Wayne: How it’s charting its own path as a sports agency

| Input Fort Wayne

October 14, 2020

Capture Sports Agency is taking Fort Wayne by storm, led by the talented and effervescent Chauntiel Smith-Jones, whose heart for sports is exceeded only by her love of people.

Sports agent Chauntiel Smith-Jones is blazing a trail in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

A South Side High School graduate, Smith-Jones earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in sports management from Indiana Tech. She participated in the Sport Management Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Now, she is carving out a niche for herself as a young woman in a field dominated by men, staying true to her roots, and not taking shortcuts to success personally or professionally.

Input Fort Wayne’s partner, Fort Wayne Ink Spot, sat down with Smith-Jones for a Q&A about Capture Sports Agency. 


Smith-Jones

Q: How did you come up with the name Capture Sports?

A: During my senior year in college, my mom and I started listing possible names for my business. She wanted my initials to be part of it, but I didn’t want it to be centered around me. So we came up with Capture Sports Agency; it just fit. We wanted to capture athletes being entrepreneurs and business owners, or having a stake in a team or company. Something that was outside their daily role of being an athlete. Capture Sports seemed to encompass that.

Q: What are your goals for Capture Sports Agency? What are you trying to do that will set this company apart from other agencies?

A: I see the agency representing top players and negotiating deals with top leagues. I would love for it to become common to see women and diversity in agents and head coaches along with general managers at key negotiating tables. Race, gender, and sexuality are key components that should be a part, and that starts with us bringing them in.

Q: What was your motivation to get into this line of work?

A: When I played basketball at South Side High School, I thought I was going to be a WNBA athlete, but then realized that wasn’t going to happen (laughs). So I began to think about what I could do to stay in sports and make an impact. That’s when I decided to become a sports agent. When God confirmed it in my heart, I knew I’d chosen the right path. We have people making $100 million and they go broke; they’re misrepresented. That’s another reason I got into this business.

Q: What are some of your struggles to gain acceptance in a male-dominated business?

A: When people see me, their initial reaction is I am the marketing representative or girlfriend/wife of a player. You are always reminding people you require a seat at the table. It’s exciting to be a trailblazer in this profession for other women, but you have to deal with issues your male counterparts don’t encounter. I shouldn’t have to be concerned with clothing or how I will be perceived by wives and/or girlfriends. I am one of the youngest female sports agents in the country. Many of my clients are my peers. There are awkward moments when a mother or wife of a player walks in and sees me in the interview chair, but we work through it. I realize it will take time to begin seeing other faces that look like me in this business.

Q: Who has been most reluctant to offer you acceptance in this business?

A: Typically, it has been white men who are usually older. At times, it has been coaches and male personnel who are not quite sure why I’m in meetings or at events. It’s going to take them getting more comfortable with having conversations with people who don’t look like them.

I’m an agent, but this is just one side of the business. There are many more women on the executive side. We need to add more women as financial advisors, working for the brands, the teams, and the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) to look for ways to diversify all sections of sports. We need to be more welcoming in this business and be mentors for those coming in who don’t look like you, but have a heart for the profession.

Q: What types of players are you trying to attract to Capture Sports Agency at this point in your career?

 
Through Capture Sports Agency, Chauntiel Smith-Jones brings faith and integrity to the world of sports

A: At this time we have two lower-level players, but are looking primarily for male and female Division I athletes who are looking to give back to their communities. We feel this will help those athletes and this agency grow in recognition. We want athletes who set a high standard for themselves and have high moral standards in which they conduct their lifestyles, so we are particular who we represent here at Capture Sports.

Q: Walk me through a day in the life of a sports agent.

A: I am up by 6:30 or 7 a.m. Sometimes I don’t even eat, and it’s right to the laptop to begin finding places to send our players and discuss with our overseas clients which players “fit” their needs. I look for strategies to help me grow our agency (which is ongoing). I then line up what our interns need to be doing that day to market our players, put them in the right direction financially and make healthy living choices, which are vitally important. I try to attend games and camps, looking for players.

Q: How do you learn or improve in your craft? What areas do you need the most improvement in?

A: There are so many areas I need growth in! I have been to pro scouts school, agents school, and business school just to keep myself knowledgeable. I just completed my certification from Case Western Reserve University on how to become a sports agent, so I’m proud of that! I’m leaning toward getting my law degree, as well.

Q: When you look at other more established agencies, do you compare yourself to them and look at them as rivals, or do you say, “That’s where we’re trying to get to”?

A: Any business trying to become viable will look at other agencies doing the same thing and see what they did to become successful. We want to create a foundation in our business that gives back to the community. I pay attention to a Christian hip-hop label that is running their business in a way I’d like to duplicate because of the values they’ve instilled.

Q: What is the mission statement of Capture Sports Agency that you would like to leave our readers with?

A: Our mission is to help athletes become more than athletes. We are looking out for them in a multitude of ways that will help them in their professional as well as post-professional life. Faith, (in God), Passion (in the process), and Grit (knowing that what you’re working for is going to come to pass) is what we stand on and stand for at Capture Sports Agency.

My number one goal is to keep the door open for other women. I hope I’m known as someone who brought as many people along for the ride as I could and gave back to our community and profession as much as possible, especially for women and minorities.

This story was originally published in Fort Wayne Ink Spot.

What can a Bay Area job get you in Fort Wayne? A remote worker for Netflix shares his experience

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What can a Bay Area job get you in Fort Wayne? A remote worker for Netflix shares his experience

| Input Fort Wayne

October 28, 2020

If the COVID pandemic has an upside, it could be the realization of how easy it is for employees to work remotely. And if they can work remotely, that often means they can work anywhere, keeping jobs with high salary potential, but living where costs are cheaper.

Tim Harvey brought his Netflix job with him to Fort Wayne two years ago. He continues working remotely for the Silicon Valley-based employer.

Such an opportunity presented itself to Tim Harvey about two years ago. He had been working in Silicon Valley when his aging parents needed him to move back home to Fort Wayne where he and his wife grew up. Since then, he has been able to relocate his family while continuing to work from home.

Harvey is a Senior Site Reliability Engineer for Netflix. His team is responsible for ensuring the reliability, uptime, and innovation side of operations for the streaming media service provider.

“When there’s an issue with the Netflix service—the streaming side of things—we get paged in to do instant management, coordination, and communication for those kinds of situations,” he says.

He and his team then follow up on the issue, and report back with any lessons learned, creating a feedback loop to help engineers understand ways they, “can continue to move fast and continue to innovate, but also do that in a way that keeps our service reliable.”

Two years into his remote work, Harvey says working from home has been great for him and his family.

“I miss the face-to-face time (of being in an office),” he says, “but I find that working remotely has been a nice balance generally where there’s some time face-to-face. Mostly I can put my head down and work, avoid commute, spend more time with my family, and appreciate all of those things. I’m a person who enjoys quiet.”

It’s also helped his family save money. He and his wife have three school-aged daughters. Bringing them to Fort Wayne gave the family an opportunity to have a higher standard of living and be closer to extended family.

“We love the folks—friends and neighbors—we had in California,” Harvey says, “but there’s always a sense of uncertainty in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area where the rent is incredibly high, so you may not be able to renew your lease. You might be moving, which means changing schools. Coming to Fort Wayne was definitely a choice for some stability.”

Moving to Northeast Indiana means more space for the family to stretch out, too. Each of Harvey’s daughters now has her own bedroom—and her own pet.

“Those sorts of little tangible things, as well as intangible things like being close to family, seeing folks that they missed (are great),” he says. “They’ve really enjoyed the schools and the friends that they’ve made here. It’s felt really comfortable.”

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, in collaboration with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, offers a Cost of Living Calculator on the Partnership’s website. Users enter their base salaries in the first field, then select where they’re moving from and where in Indiana they are moving to. If someone living in San Jose, Calif., is making $50,000 and keeps that salary, but moves to the Fort Wayne–Allen County area, that person can save 72.76 percent in housing, 28.74 percent in groceries, and 15.73 percent on healthcare.

These are the types of benefits that can tip the scales for families and individuals on the coasts to relocate to Fort Wayne, says Rachel Blakeman, Director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“Realistically, this change in the work dynamic and the opportunity to work from home all of the time—especially for these large Bay Area companies—is really going to be a great opportunity to bring people back to Northeast Indiana who already have connections here,” Blakeman says. “It could be an opportunity for people who have a lake cottage in Kosciusko, Noble, Steuben, or LaGrange counties. You might then decide you want to live in your lake cottage year-round. Or if you have a situation where you’ve been thinking about moving back to Wells County or Allen County because you have family there, but you’ve got a great job in the Bay Area, Seattle, or Portland, and now that company is allowing you to work from home permanently, then you may decide to come back home.”

Blakeman says it will be a year or so before the data comes in telling just how many people have migrated to Northeast Indiana from other locales since the onset of COVID-19. The data is not tracked in real-time. She advises people to have realistic expectations, though, about any type of mass migration to the area.

“While there’s a possibility of us receiving folks who are now given the opportunity to move to wherever they would like,” she says, “I think the actual number is actually going to be marginal in terms of scale of what we’re looking at. I think your best bet is going to be to recruit back local talent to live here.”