by Michael Clapper, CSL graduate student
“Almost everything in leadership comes back to relationships.”
– Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Philip Brown has experienced the power of relationships first hand and has benefited from its impact. In fact, Brown, currently the advertising account manager for Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, has learned much about building relationships from the author of the above quote.
A 2006 graduate of the Center for Sport Leadership, Brown grew up with a front row seat to the incredibly successful Duke Men’s Basketball program. His mother, Gerry, has spent the better part of the last three decades working for the team, including the last 20 years as Coach K’s executive assistant. He recalls learning a great deal from the Hall of Fame coach.
Just like Coach K, Brown admits, “Relationships are the key in sports, as well as professionally.”
In fact, it was a close relationship with the then VCU head basketball coach Jeff Capel, a former Duke player and assistant coach, that ultimately led Brown to enroll in the Center for Sport Leadership, and join the men’s basketball staff as a graduate assistant. The global minded Brown was also intrigued by the CSL’s sport focused curriculum and the yearly European Model of Sport trip taken by students each spring.
“What really drove me to VCU was the idea of my master’s being geared towards sports marketing and management. And I really liked the idea of being able to go overseas and learn how professional teams over there actually market and manage. That was a huge driver for me as well. When you can broaden your knowledge and horizons that way, especially in the marketing realm, it really makes you very valuable across the board. I’m where I’m at right now because of VCU.”
After returning from the Europe trip in the spring of 2006, Brown began exploring marketing internship opportunities with several NBA teams, but finding the right fit was a challenge. A CSL administrator approached him about an opening with Disney. Brown remembers responding, “Well, I’ve always loved Disney. I didn’t even know this was an opportunity.”
He jumped at the opportunity and accepted a position as Marketing Associate for Premium Events at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. Before long, Brown was assigned a tremendous amount of responsibility within the organization. He managed the marketing and creative strategy for the Atlanta Braves spring training, the PGA’s FUNAI Classic, and the inaugural Old Spice Classic. In addition, he served as the lead editor for the Disney’s World Wide of Sports Magazine.
While he excelled at the World Wide of Sports, Brown had a strong desire to leave his mark on a global scale. In April of 2007, he got his chance. Brown was offered and accepted a job with Disney Destinations as the Brand Manager for Military Sales. Although the position was not sports related, he felt the change would be the best career move.
“I enjoyed my time in sports, but I also wanted to grow within the company and look for more of a global role. At that time, sports were only here at Walt Disney World in Florida so I came over to destination sales.”
He currently serves as the Advertising Account Manager for Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, the award winning in house advertising agency for Disney Parks and Resorts. In this role, he manages creative strategies worldwide for Disney Meetings and Conventions, Disney Institute, and Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings.
It’s certainly safe to say that Phillip Brown has achieved his global career aspirations. Today, his work can be found from Florida to Hawaii, and Paris to Hong Kong. It’s also safe to say he wouldn’t be where he is today without the relationships he cultivated at the world’s most famous entertainment company.