Michelle Andres, SVP of Digital Media & Broadcasting for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, Florida Native, and Wine Enthusiast
Working as a woman for the NFL likely has its challenges. The initial thought of any member of the public upon seeing the first part of that sentence would probably be “hmm, that’s got to be demanding; it’s probably the most male-oriented sports league around” – given that there is no real female division of the league, as there is in tennis and basketball.
But Michelle Andres, the SVP of Digital Media and Broadcasting for the NFL team of the Baltimore Ravens, takes it all in stride with a no-nonsense attitude (her brief, to-the-point answers below bear that out!). She’s got academic savvy as well: she is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at Georgetown University, teaching Sports Digital Media, plus Marketing & Communications,at its Sports Information Management graduate school. She also has undergrad and graduate degrees in political science.
A Florida native, she caught the sports bug when she took a job with the Orlando Magic to handle the digital side of their business, and was eventually wooed away by the Baltmore Ravens to do the same. She is also a member of the Community Leadership Board member of the “Y” of Central Maryland (the combined YMCA/YWCA), and extends her helping hand even further by being an advisory board member for the Higher Achievement organization.
She is a devotee of listening to NPR in the mornings and a big fan of Brene Brown (read about the extent of that devotion in her last sentence!). She comes across as someone who knows herself well, loves her job, and is very committed to progress and forward movement — as well as the virtues of being a straight talker.
Can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Gainesville, Florida and received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science. I “fell into” pro sports when I was hired by the NBA’s Orlando Magic. After eight seasons in Orlando, I was recruited by the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens to run their digital strategy. I’ve now been in Baltimore going on nine seasons.
What does a day in your shoes typically look like?
Moving quickly from meeting to meeting, huddling with my staff to solve problems, and making decisions and strategizing.
What 2-3 things do you do to prepare yourself before work and is there anything you try to accomplish everyday?
To prepare, I listen to NPR, I drink my cup of coffee, and I clear out my emails!
What is your breakfast of choice?
Protein. And coffee.
What are your rituals or tips for staying energized and motivated?
Taking on new challenges. When it gets to the point where my team in a certain subject area (say digital) is a well-oiled machine, I am ready for a new challenge (say broadcasting)!
What is the favorite part about your job?
Working with my staff, helping them grow; strategizing about how we get better; and breaking news situations, where it’s all hands on deck!
What and who inspires you at work?
My passion for my work is what inspires me.
What is your favorite leisure activity after a stressful work week?
Drinking a glass of wine!
How does your culture/background influence your work?
My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me and my siblings, and that definitely shows in my job and how my staff operates.
How many times have you changed your career direction?
Once, from politics to pro sports.
What was your very first job?
Cashier at Hardee’s fast food chain.
What has been the biggest obstacle in your career, and how did you overcome it?
I suppose my answer would be “being a woman in an almost completely male-dominated field,” and I wouldn’t say it’s something that can be overcome. There are very few females in leadership positions in the NFL. Being good at what you do, being trusted, and taken seriously is important. Being respected is super-important. So, I’ve worked hard to make sure I am all of those things.
What are your most steadfast ‘don’ts’ rules regarding work and the workplace, and what are your most cherished ‘do’s’?
- Don’t come to me with problems. Don’t say “good enough.” Don’t take it too seriously.
- Do come to me with solutions. Do have fun. Do hold yourself to a high standard. Do work to get better.
What are the most important qualities of a good leader?
Genuinely wanting to hear different points of view, caring about the growth of your employees, and mastering the art of having difficult conversations.
How have mentors impacted your personal and professional development?
I don’t know that I’ve had mentors. What I have done is create Women’s Networks at both the Magic and the Ravens to talk with peers about similar challenges we share.
What are three questions you like to ask during an interview to know if the candidate (or job) is the right fit?
Gosh, I ask all sorts of questions! It’s more a vibe I get.
What advice would you give to women starting their careers?
Take being taken seriously, seriously. Act professionally, work hard, and be great at what you do. Be willing to learn, and be reliable. Also, be kind to everyone. It matters.
What book would you recommend for women just starting their career?
Daring Greatly by Brene´Brown.
What is your favorite quote you try and live by?
“Be patient. Dare greatly.” It’s tattooed on my wrists!