On October 15th, 2020, PRSSA got to chat with Stu Opperman, the leader of Impact Players Strategic Communications. Stu shared advice and his career history with the chapter, giving insight to the broad world of his experience in communications and public relations.
The beginning of Stu’s story caught the attention of many PRSSA members, as he detailed his experience in the world of sports communication. Early in his career, Stu had the opportunity to work as an operations manager for the basketball team the Miami Heat. He expressed that working in sports was a very exciting yet very demanding occupation. It was his dream, similarly to some members in the chapter, to work in such a highly-competitive field.
While Stu acknowledged the difficulty of breaking into a career in the world of sports, he did offer some hope to people who aspire to work in sports PR. Stu said publicist jobs are continuing to open up for athletes, as some players have developed strong interests in speaking on social and political matters. It was also noted that with the ever-evolving world of social media, interested young professionals may want to look into social media jobs within the sports world. In the end, Stu commented that a career in sports communication is not particularly sufficient to support a family on account of fickle, late scheduling and travel. However, if one is ready for the commitment, then it is an excellent and exciting career opportunity to have.
After deciding his time in the sports world was at an end, Stu began a career at an advertising agency. A decade of work at the advertising agency passed before Stu made the move to begin his own agency, Impact Players Strategic Communications. This was a major career move which resulted in a very satisfying change in Stu’s life. Representing various healthcare providers and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Florida, Impact Players is an agency that is making strides.
Stu left some final words of advice with PRSSA which truly resonated with its members. He emphasized the importance of writing as a skill; he said, “If you can write, there is always a market for that.” Stu stressed even frequent writers should keep writing because one can only improve and it’s important to keep improving. He also hinted at the importance of telling a story in one’s resume, which is an excellent way to make one’s resume stand out.
Stu brought to light the importance of PRSSA and PRSA. As a member of PRSA himself, Stu testified that the organization has been very helpful in establishing connections and developing important career skills.
As Stu said in the beginning, sports is a competitive career field but there are also several other branches of PR and communications are equally as competitive, if not more-so.
If one has eyes on a career in a competitive field, then one must put the work in to make it happen. Keep dreaming, and keep working hard for that dream! It is the dream that encourages the drive.