Meet Allison Waymyers Owner & Founder of Spry Players Group, LLC, athlete development and career management firm that empowers collegiate and professional athletes. She worked at NFL, NBA, Augusta National Golf Club, Gamecock Football, and Clemson Football, she was awarded: Phenomenal Woman on The Move Finalist, Top 20 Under 40 Living the Legacy Award.
Who is Allison Waymyers? Define yourself
Allison Waymyers is a good woman who worked hard to position herself to be a blessing to others as she climbs.
How were you as a kid?
I was always the “good girl”. Great grades, involved in multiple activities, scared to do the wrong thing, and loved to learn!
You hold a B.S- Marketing with International Business Specialization and Spanish and Master of Arts (M.A.) Organizational Change & Leadership at Columbia College (SC). why did you choose those courses of study?
I initially wanted to be an attorney focused on corporate affairs or civil rights, and I wanted to travel globally to represent people of all backgrounds. I didn’t want to get my Masters in anything similar to business. I enjoy strategic planning, so I figured I would learn how to transform organizations. I went to a big school in the SEC for undergrad, so I desired something different for grad school. I enjoyed going to a small women’s college where my Aunt and Grandmother had attended. If I ever pursue my doctoral degree, I’ll go to a HBCU or Ivy League institution. I want my education to be diverse like my work experience.
You have worked in higher education in development, as a professor, and as a career director. You have five years of experience in the energy procurement sector. You managed two one-billion-dollar facilities and negotiated multimillion-dollar projects for nuclear, gas, and fossil hydro facilities. You were the youngest President for theS.C. chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. How did you jump from that point to work in sports?
As I climbed the “corporate ranks”, I always had my hands in sports simultaneously. When I worked in procurement, I worked for the Charlotte Hornets. So, I would leave my full-time job, drive to Charlotte an hour away, and get back home sometimes at 2 a.m. or later. I would also speak to various teams, and help former athletes find employment. When I was 16 as a freshman, I was fortunate enough to land a job working for Lou Holtz. I had an idea then that I could run my own company assisting athletes. After I left Clemson, I realized it was the perfect time to follow my heart and bet on myself.
“I’m very intentional about thinking out of the box. Several of my roles have been inaugural, so I’ve not only been the first female, first African – American, but the first period”
You made history as the first female hired in a leadership role as director of Career & Professional Development for the Clemson Football team. You have worked at NFL, NBA, Augusta National Golf Club, Gamecock Football, and Clemson Football, you were awarded: Phenomenal Woman on The Move Finalist, Top 20 Under 40 Living the Legacy Award. What´s the recipe for your success?
I made history before my Clemson role, and continue to do so. I’m very intentional about thinking out of the box. Several of my roles have been inaugural, so I’ve not only been the first female, first African – American, but the first period. If you’re genuine, innovative, and not afraid of hard work – God will open the right doors for you.
What inspired you to found your own company Spry Players Group, LLC, and what services does it provide?
I realized I was working harder and more effective than those individuals I reported to. I have a knack for establishing solid relationships, and I have a minimal learning curve. I was tired of seeing athletes be used on the field, and not empowered. People want their autographs, but don’t want to give them a job. So, I decided I would create a firm that would treat clients the way I wanted people to treat my brother when he played football, and the way I hope someone would treat my husband and sons. We provide career and professional development for athletes so our clients can maximize their brand. We develop relationships, strategies, and branding so our clients’ grandchildren will benefit of decisions made now.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?
I’ve learned to bet myself every time. I wasted years putting in unnecessary hours, going above and beyond, just for people to treat you like nothing. The sports sector is tricky, because most people in it have only worked in that sector. Professionalism, confidentiality, and diversity are afterthoughts. So now, I’m okay with teaching people how to treat them and understanding they’re not priority, my family and peace of mind are.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I typically work my full-time job and assist students from all over the globe with finding positions during the day. I’m preparing to teach two courses this fall, so I’ll now also be teaching during the week. Due to the pandemic, I’m home, also raising my two sons. I have a rising first grader and a five-month-old, so I ensure they learn throughout the day too. After work we spend time with my husband, who works and is an entrepreneur too. I usually take a few calls with clients, and often have speeches I conduct virtually at night. After I put the boys to bed, and finish speaking with clients – I strategize. I am typically up until one or two each morning crafting proposals, brainstorming with my V.P.’s, and then I pray and get ready for my youngest to awaken.
“People will always take credit for your work; desperation comes with the territory. But the lives you changed, and people you impacted will always open doors for you”
What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part?
I love the fact that I call the shots as an Owner. I can dictate what’s the best move, and how to make the most impact. I really enjoy how community – oriented we are. So, summers are great because we issue our $1,000 scholarships in honor of our Dad, and speak at summer camps for athletes we’ve known for years. The most difficult part is juggling my time, and getting to decision makers. A lot of people want free advice and give us leads, but I need to speak with people at the top. Athletes and execs have a lot of people around them, and I don’t like wasting my time.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
I am not afraid to pitch ideas and share. My ultimate goal is to empower athletes, so even if another firm is selected over mine, as long as I know my ideas helped someone – I won. My strategies are intact in many institutions I previously worked at. People will always take credit for your work; desperation comes with the territory. But the lives you changed, and people you impacted will always open doors for you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else does?
I highly recommend promoting your service within your network. Believe it or not, most people want to see you succeed and are willing to help you. But you have to help them understand what you need, and how they can be part of the equation. The world is small, and everyone knows someone – so I enjoy updating people with what we’re doing and the small waves turn into big ones.
What are the do and don’ts for women in order to succeed in the sports industry?
- Do not think people who look like you are always for you. I have had awful experiences with people who had the same color skin as myself, and also with women. Some people think there can only be one minority of power, so they’ll be petty and attempt to block you.
- Do realize that everyone does not share your standards and ethics. Be okay with that.
- Don’t care what people think. They will talk about you, not invite you….be okay without the invitation.
My Mom always told me “To be a leader, sometimes you must stand alone.”
“Do not think people who look like you are always for you. I have had awful experiences with people who had the same color skin like myself, and also with women. Some people think there can only be one minority of power, so they’ll be petty and attempt to block you”
Everybody has had dark moments in their lives, what have you done to get out of that phase?
I have prayed and had to learn to sit still. The higher you climb, the more you become the target. I don’t like to hurt people, because I believe in karma. But a lot of people have no problem spending their entire life abusing people, and they sleep well at night. That’s why I am private, and put my faith in God. One or two monkeys don’t stop my show…
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel, (so the pandemic is trying me). I love to spend time with my family and enjoy the simple things.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, you are married to William and have sons Trey & Carter, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
I believe you can have it all! But everything is a trade off, and you may not have it all at the same time.
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented with the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
Yes, and I have the bruises and scars to prove it; but they’ve healed. The hardest part has never been attaining a high salary, or receiving the perks. A huge challenge for me has been attaining the power and respect. All that can change with who you report to. I need to report to someone at the highest level, not mid-level management. Eliminate the middle man, or start your own! I’m very humble, but being in the South – I’ve put up with a lot. Two things are non-negotiable – respect and appreciation. I let employers know that upfront. Once either dissipates, I know it’s time to go.
“Two things are non-negotiable – respect and appreciation. I let employers know that upfront. Once either dissipates, I know it’s time to go”
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become an entrepreneur like you?
Focus on being the best period. Not the best girl, or the best Black. Your only competition is you.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally) with this idea in mind, what is being Allison and what´s not?
Being Allison means I earned what I have, and didn’t use my husband’s name or someone to open doors myself. I prayed about it, and doors were opened. I didn’t sleep my way to the top, in fact, I was okay with taking a longer time to ascend by doing it the right way.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
I admire my Grandmother. She’s my last living Grandparent. She didn’t attend high school because she was working. She reads the Bible and paper daily, and watches Jeopardy daily. She picked cotton, worked in the fields, and raised five children who went on to become top of their class. She doesn’t speak badly about anyone, and has always been a positive staple in my life.
Something else do you want to add or share with us?
Never stop. The smartest people aren’t at the top…you can overtake them. Be willing to be different, and be unapologetic about who you are. When you do that my dear, you have arrived.
Name: Allison Waymyers
Company: Spry Players Group, LLC Designation: Owner & Founder Country: USA
FB: Spry Players Group, LLC