Alumni Member Gets the Nod as Cubs Pitching Coach

How does someone go from little old Parkville, MO to being the Pitching Coach for the Chicago Cubs? Well, if you know anything about Pro Athlete alumni member Tommy Hottovy, you are not one bit surprised.

Tommy was a standout high school athlete in multiple sports and after graduating he took his baseball talents as a pitcher to Wichita State University. From there, Tommy was drafted in the 4th round of the MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox. Tommy spent 7 years in the minor leagues and during the off season, he would come back to Kansas City and work at Pro Athlete. It was mutually beneficial as he was just as sharp behind a desk as he was on the mound. He would come in and help us do special projects. He did several, but one of our favorites that any of you who have toured our facility will appreciate is the basketball court. We had extra warehouse space and said, “Tommy, go figure out how to put a basketball court in” and just like striking out the side, we had ourselves a gym.

In 2011, Tommy got called up to the big leagues as a relief pitcher for the Red Sox. He pitched in 8 big league games that year and then something crazy happened: he became a member of his hometown team the following year! He spent some time in the minors, but got the call to the Royals in April of 2012.

When his playing career ended, he wanted to stay in the game and ended up back with the man who drafted him back in 2004, Cubs GM Theo Epstein. Tommy was a former player so he understood that side of the game, but also had a knack for numbers and took an online Sabermetrics course to sharpen his knowledge even more. He would call himself a defensive coordinator for the team. He was an advanced scout and run prevention coordinator which meant he worked with the pitchers on strategy for how to pitch to each batter.

Can you think of a better mix of skills for someone to be a Major League pitching coach? Former big league pitcher, scout, Sabermetrics experience, and a baseball lifer. Oh and not to mention, he is one of the absolute best people you will ever meet. He was back in town earlier this year and made a point to walk around and say hi to every single member of our company. We couldn’t be happier for Tommy, Andrea, Cameron and Chloe! At Pro Athlete, we have a saying for our alumni members- “Once A Pro, Always A Pro!” That seems pretty fitting here! Congratulations, Tommy!

Pickers and Shippers

So you’ve just ordered your brand new bat or glove- Congrats! Maybe it's for you or maybe it's a special holiday gift for your favorite all-star. Either way, have you ever wondered what happens on our end in-between “From Click to Hit”?

After you “click”, our fulfillment center steps up to the plate to get your bat or glove to you ASAP. Once your order is submitted, a fulfillment specialist is alerted that there are orders needing to be picked and shipped by TV monitors displayed throughout the fulfillment center. Pickers then enter the shipping module and begin to pick the items in the most efficient route provided automatically by our enterprise resource planning system (ERP). Scan guns worn on the forearms of our pickers tell the employee exactly where to go, what barcode to scan, and what item to pick. All of the items are put into specific bins and then placed on a conveyor belt and sent to our shipping stations.

At the shipping stations, our shippers use a hand held scan gun to scan the specific bin and product barcode. A UPS barcode is scanned to automatically print a UPS shipping label and the program advises the shipper of the appropriate shipping box to use. Once the products are placed in the proper box and sealed, the shipping label is then applied. Finally, the box is placed on a pallet ready to be delivered to you by UPS on time, every time, exactly as promised!

Check out the video below to see what our fulfillment process looks like and remember, we're always there for you, FROM CLICK TO HIT!

Thankful Notes Pt. 2

At Pro Athlete we have many things to be thankful for: an awesome place to work, amazing employees (and their families), the best customers, vendors and partners in the world! We have so much to be thankful for that it would take us forever to include everything and everyone. Instead, we decided to ask a few employees to share with you what they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Cue Pro Athlete’s Thankful Notes!

What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

Chef Nathan's Keto Pumpkin Pie

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With Thanksgiving only a week away, we found it only appropriate to share one of Chef Nathan’s most delicious (and healthy!) recipes, perfect for the holidays: a keto, dairy free and gluten free pumpkin pie! We know what you’re thinking: how could it be this healthy AND taste good? Well, give this recipe a try and the proof will be in the pudding (or pie filling in this case)!

Keto Pie Crust

Ingredients

2 1/2 cup Blanched Almond Flour
1/3 cup Erythritol (or any sweetener of choice; omit for savory pie crust)
1/4 tsp Sea Salt (or 1/2 tsp for savory pie crust)
1/4 cup Ghee (measured solid, then melted)
1 large Egg (or ~2 tbsp additional ghee)
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch round pie pan with parchment paper, or grease well.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, erythritol (if using), and sea salt.

  3. Stir in the melted ghee and egg, until well combined. (If using vanilla, stir that into the melted ghee before adding to the dry ingredients.) The "dough" will be dry and crumbly. Just keep mixing, pressing and stirring until it's uniform and there is no almond flour powder left. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor to mix it all together.)

  4. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. You can flute the edges if desired; if it crumbles when doing this, just press it back together. Carefully poke holes in the surface using a fork to prevent bubbling.

  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. (Add fillings only after pre-baking.)

Keto Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients

1 15-oz can Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Coconut Cream
2 large Egg
2/3 cup Powdered Erythritol
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Blackstrap Molasses

  1. Beat together all ingredients until smooth.

  2. Pour the filling into the crust. Gently tap on the counter to release air bubbles.

  3. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the pie is almost set but still slightly jiggly in the center. (Check on it occasionally, and if you see the crust start to brown, cover the crust edge with foil and return to the oven until the filling is done. It should still jiggle a bit in the center, like a custard before it sets.)

  4. Cool completely on the counter, then refrigerate at least an hour before slicing. Pie can be refrigerated overnight.


Another Year, Another Company Baseball Game

For the past 6 years, we’ve taken over T-Bones Stadium for a friendly, company baseball game- Team Pro Athlete vs. Team JustBats. Once a year, employees get the chance to live out their glory days with a full-fledged game complete with uniforms, batting practice and walk up music. This year, with the help of top-notch videographers David Sosna and Kevin Berg from Creators Group, we were able to capture what exactly this ballgame means to our employees and why we continue to make this not-so-average tradition happen. Take a look!

The Importance of Systems in a Business

As a company that offers unlimited paid time off (PTO), we find it super important to have systems in place that ensures we do not miss a beat when employees are out. However, having systems in place goes much deeper than making sure tasks are still fulfilled when people are away. Systems ensure that when an employee takes another position within the company, at another company or has unforeseen things come up, we are able to keep moving forward no matter their role.

One of our core values is “Build a Systems Dependent Company” and we feel like we have done just that. Every position at Pro Athlete has an Accountability Chart that is filled with System Action Plans (SAPs) that take every daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks and maps out each process step by step to ensure that we will never miss a beat. By creating these systems, we feel like we are not only doing the business a favor, but also making the lives of our employees easier. While the initial process of creating all of our systems was a task and the upkeep can sometimes seem overwhelming, by having very specific systems in place we, as a company, are able to run like a well oiled machine. And because we are able to run like a well oiled machine, employees can take two week vacations if they want (we just had someone take an unbelievable trip to India and Sri Lanka) and not worry about a single thing while they’re gone!

Benefits of a company having systems in place:

  • Systems ensure that no one holds the keys to the castle. All tasks are mapped out and can easily be picked up by the next person.

  • Stress free vacations or sick days for employees- there is no need to worry about being present as you know a backup is in place! Employees will never have to worry about a teammate calling in sick either as their tasks can be picked up by reviewing their accountability chart for that day.

  • Adding new members to the team or losing members will be a much easier process.

  • Systems may lead to potential franchise opportunities to grow your business. With systems in place, anyone can carry on your business model.

What systems are in place at your company? Leave us a comment or email us at contact@proathleteinc.com!

5 Tools to Win at the Game of Culture

Creating a culture is never easy, and maintaining it is no walk-in-the-park either. We have found that the following five tools were instrumental in helping us build and maintain our culture. Check them out!

  1. North Star - Instead of a mission or purpose statement, we have a North Star. Our North Star is something that keeps us pointed in the right direction. We landed on the idea after our mission (to be an admired ecommerce company) was continuously scrutinized due to a lack of way to measure achievement. So, we decided that a North Star made more sense for us. From there, we would come up with a mission that we wanted to achieve in the upcoming year. We wanted that mission to be measurable while still pointing towards our North Star.

  2. Core Values - We believe a clearly defined set of values is the most important key to a winning culture. Maybe you have 4, maybe you have 8, maybe you have 20. A lot of “consultants” will tell you that you shouldn’t have more than 5. In our opinion, you can have as many or as few as you want- the key is that they are easy to understand and are actually put to use. Don’t just put the values up in the lobby because someone told you that you needed values. Create them and use them in every single decision you make in your business.

  3. Personality Profiles - For 5 years, we have used a personality profile (Culture Index) to help us hire and get to know each other better. Each employee fills out the survey and then gets a unique profile with 4 plotted points. The profile measures autonomy, sociability, pace and detail. Knowing how social or patient your coworkers are can really help with working relationships. If you know someone is an introvert, you might not invite them to a networking event or keep them in long meetings. If someone has little detail, you might not hire them to be an accountant or an auditor. We believe in it so much that we put employee profiles on the outside of office doors and on our company intranet.

  4. Cheers for Peers - We use a tool called TINYpulse that allows us to send employe engagement surveys to our employees as often as we want. In addition to that, TINYpulse has a platform that allows employees to give props to their coworkers. It’s super simple and is sent directly to the person who is receiving the props. We then take those and put them on a feed on our intranet and our internal video boards so everyone can see them. It’s easy to do and really makes people feel appreciated.

  5. All-Staff Meeting - It’s hard for everyone in your organization to be in the loop on what is going on with the big items in the business. We get together quarterly with the whole company and talk about the business. We make it fun with a few games and awards for the employees, but also talk about important business matters. We used to do it for around four hours, then it went to two hours and now we are able to get it done in an hour. We do it in our cafe and have some snacks and drinks during the meeting. It’s a great way to communicate to everyone as a whole in a very relaxed and comfortable setting.

Instead of talking about methods that work, these are 5 things that you can actually implement yourself. If you have suggestions for other tools or want some more information on these tools, please comment or email us at contact@proathleteinc.com.

Customer Highlight - Jon Pritikin

In last week’s blog article, we hit on our 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions. One of those included, “Who are your biggest customers?” In answering that question, we hit on all of our obvious baseball and softball related customers. After writing that blog, though, it came to mind that there is another very special customer of ours who is not a baseball or softball player at all, nor is he a parent or coach buying for a young player. Instead, he uses our bats to change the lives of those around him.

Meet Jon Pritikin. Jon faced a great amount of adversity as a victim of bullying at an early age through his teen years and even as a young adult. Fortunately, Jon eventually met a few key people in his life that believed in him and provided him with the confidence to change his life. Since then, he has overcome incredible challenges and has made it his mission to better the lives of those around him.

Jon founded Feel the Power, a nonprofit organization that empowers and inspires students to believe in their own strength, in 1994 with his wife Rhonda. He now travels the world making a huge impact on the lives of others through his message of internal strength (while also providing entertainment for the audience with his extreme external strength). Since then, he has been able to impact the lives of 8 million students around the planet!

So, how does Pro Athlete fit into the picture? Well, Jon is a regular customer of JustBats.com, one of the eCommerce sites that we power. Although Jon does not play or coach baseball or softball, he is a regular buyer of wood bats. One of the “feats of strength” that Jon presents during his shows is breaking wood bats over his legs (we’re not kidding- check it out). JustBats.com is the proud provider of the bats that Jon happily breaks.

Back in 2015, we were able to personally meet Jon when he visited our office in Kansas City. We got to see first-hand how impactful and motivating his presentations are. Our employees were left feeling inspired and had a great time. We are extremely fortunate to have Jon as a very valued customer and love that Jon embraces stewardship just as much as we do. We are extremely proud of what Jon, his wife Rhonda, and daughter Jaden do on a daily basis to help others around the world.

If you are an educator, PTA parent, or know someone who is interested in hosting a Feel the Power event, please get in touch with Jon by booking an event here.


10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

We are extremely fortunate to share what we do with several interested visitors from other businesses and organizations. As a part of that, we give thousands of tours each year and talk about how we do business and the purpose behind what we do. In doing so, our tour guides are often asked several questions on every tour. To give you a glimpse of what those questions are and potentially answer some of your questions, we threw together a list of our most frequently asked questions.

Are you a sports agency or workout facility?

Nope! We’re actually an eCommerce company who specializes in creating game-winning experiences for everyone we meet while selling baseball and softball bats and gloves on the side through JustBats.com and JustBallGloves.com!

Why do you only sell bats and gloves?

At one point, we sold everything under the sun sports related. Back when Pro Athlete first started as a brick and mortar store in the northern part of Kansas City, MO, equipment and gear for all sports could be found. After going completely online in 1999, we decided to stick with what we knew and were good at- baseball and softball. At that point, our niche in bats and gloves was created.

Do you have to play baseball or softball to work there?

Absolutely not! While we do have some employees who used to play (or still do in old man’s league), several of our employees have never played baseball or softball. It is great to have a wide array of employees with different backgrounds.

Why do you have so many Core Values?

With a total of twelve, a lot of people think we have too many Core Values. We, however, believe we have just the right amount. Our Core Values are the foundation for how we do everything, personally and professionally, at Pro Athlete. We stand behind and continuously live out all twelve. If you are ever interested in working here, review our core values and make sure that your personal values and beliefs align with those core values. If you agree, we might be the place for you!

How do employees get their work done with all of the fun stuff they are offered?

Many think our perks would be distracting to employees and disrupt their work. However, we chose to focus on results instead of the work. When, where or how our employees complete their tasks isn’t our top focus- we’re much more concerned with the quality and results of their work. Our employees are encouraged to get a massage, work out or take a nap as long as they’re producing results!

How do you measure if all of your perks are working?

One of the best ways we measure the influence of our perks and culture is through employee engagement. Seeing our employees engaged, hungry and proud to work at Pro Athlete is a key indicator that we’re doing something right.

How much do all of your perks cost?

We could definitely answer this question, but we actually just put out a blog post at the end of September answering this question in more detail. Check it out, “It Doesn’t Cost...It Pays

Can I just come to your office and buy a bat or glove?

While we love visitors at the office, our fulfillment specialists take great pride in getting our customers’ dream bats or gloves shipped to them as soon as possible. Plus, wouldn’t you rather just order a bat from your phone while watching the MLB playoffs instead?! We know we would! With a no hassle returns policy, all of this is possible!

Who are your biggest customers?

Our most popular customers are those playing youth to high school baseball and softball. We do outfit several high school and collegiate teams as well. In addition, we have a great relationship with several current and former Major League Baseball players, coaches, and GM’s who use us as their go to for their kids’ equipment. Our customers range from the early ages of tee ball all the way up to a few Minor League Baseball players.

How can I get a job there?

We are fortunate to have a very high retention rate so we don’t lose a ton of employees and therefore, don’t have a ton of job openings come available. However, we are always coming up with new ideas that require new skill sets to be added to the team. The best way to learn about those opportunities and stay connected to what is happening at Pro Athlete is to sign up for our Fan Club. Before wanting to work here, make sure our core values align with your core values. If there is a match, sign up for our Fan Club and really set yourself apart from the rest!


Have a different question for us? Leave it in the comments or send us an email at Contact@ProAthleteInc.com.

Chef Nathan's Wellness Journey

Along with our wellness coordinator, Pro Athlete Chef, Nathan Decaro, sets the foundation for creating a healthy work environment. He plays a huge role in the wellness of all of our employees by serving a healthy, creative menu on a daily basis. Recently, he chose to not only focus on the health and wellness of his Pro Athlete family, but to start a health and wellness journey of his own. Through important changes and tons of determination, he has been able to drastically change his life all while inspiring those around him.

To date, Chef Nathan has lost 77 pounds and is down 23% body fat per our on premise InBody test. He says, though, that those are just numbers to him and the bigger key is constantly working on his mindset. By taking control of his mindset, he has been able to take control of his body. Setting daily goals, meditating and getting in the right headspace has allowed him to hold himself accountable and persevere.

Aside from improving his mindset, Nathan has persistently eaten right and added physical activity into his lifestyle. He loves to run, play racquetball and spend time in the weight room often doing several body weight exercises. Because of his “can-do” attitude, others around the office have taken notice and joined in. Chef Nathan formed a weekly, after lunch running group that meets two times a week and runs at least 5 miles per outing. He is a person people can go to for questions, resources and motivation.

One of his main motivators throughout his wellness journey has been his family, specifically his two daughters. He strives to show them that anything can be accomplished with hard work and perseverance. He also attributes much of his success in his journey by being the company chef. He says that his position has allowed him to talk to others about the foods they are putting in their bodies and that has helped him keep himself accountable.

Last weekend, Chef Nathan, his wife and their two daughters took a trip to Independence, KS where he accomplished a bucket-list goal and completed the Flatrock 50K Ultra Trail Race equaling out to 31 miles! Over the course of 7 hours and 40 minutes, he ran through rugged terrain and did so with pride and a positive attitude. This is just one of many goals he continues to achieve and says he looks forward to the next 50K Ultra.

We look forward to the progression of his journey and are all so proud of how far he has come! Thank you, Chef Nathan, for continuing to make Pro Athlete a motivating and healthy work environment!

It Doesn’t Cost...It Pays

One of the most common questions we get around here from people who take a tour or reach out to us is, “How much does it cost to provide all these perks?” While it seems like a valid question on the surface, to us, it tells us we didn’t do a very good job of explaining what we are all about to the person who asked the question. Because, if someone truly understood what we were all about, they would know that we don’t look at how we run our business in that way. We always say, “it doesn’t cost to offer these things, it pays.” Right now, you’re thinking that sounds like a kumbaya, pie in the sky answer, right?  It might be, but what do we really mean by it? We mean that if you do what’s right for your employees and invest in things that are meaningful to them and their families, the financial cost will always be outweighed by the payback you get from those employees. You gain employees who trust in your organization, who are proud to dawn the company name, who will have the back of the other employees and the company and who will work hard to help the company and the employees of the company grow.

So many people ask us why we don’t cut all the perks and just make more money to the bottom line. Again, if you would ask us that question, you haven’t been listening to our story and why we do things the way we do. We believe in this way of running a business, but it doesn’t work for every company out there, and that’s ok. We aren’t saying our way is better than yours, but it is better for us. And quite frankly, we wouldn’t know how to do it any other way, and even if we did, we wouldn’t want to.

In the long run, we think our way will pay. We sure hope it will pay financially, that would be awesome, but we also hope it pays by seeing an employee buy their first house, and by an employee getting promoted to that position they had always been hoping for, and by being covered through health insurance during a tough medical scare, or even by seeing an employee leave the company and start their own business. Some might ask, “what would it cost to help employees achieve all that, sounds expensive?” We say, “no idea what the financial cost was, but whatever it was, it sure seems worth it.”


Using Technology to Enhance the Customer Experience

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In a technology driven world, things change at a rapid pace for an eCommerce company. This is especially true with the way customers research, navigate, compare, and ultimately purchase items online. Over time, there has been a steady shift in the amount of people shopping on their phones and tablets rather than computers. To accommodate this, eCommerce retailers have had to adapt to those changing trends to continue to provide a great online shopping experience. This reason is exactly why we made the decision to overhaul JustBats.com and JustBallGloves.com by using responsive design.

What is Responsive Design?

Traditionally, most eCommerce sites, including us, used two separate versions for their website;

  • A desktop version that had the best content and was optimized for people to make a purchase

  • A mobile version with less content and different layout from the desktop site

With responsive design, the user is always getting the same, full featured version of the site optimized for whatever device they are using. A responsive site will automatically detect the screen size of the device they are using and show them the content appropriately for that space. For example, some things will stack, font sizes will change, and spacing will adjust to make sure they have a great, consistent experience regardless of how they choose to browse.

How Did We Do It?

At Pro Athlete, we are fortunate to have a world class team of developers. They were issued a challenge to do a complete platform change from scratch and have it done before the holiday season. Challenge Accepted. The team worked tirelessly for 10 straight months to make this dream become a reality. Knowing the importance of getting this out to our customers before the holiday season, the team worked until 9:00 p.m. every Tuesday night without hesitation and without sacrificing quality for time. Our development team believes perfection is in the details. Any opportunity to save our customers a click or help them find their perfect bat or glove was taken.

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Was it easy? Nope. There were several roadblocks along the way the team had to figure out how to work around. There were disagreements about how things should be built. There was only one controller to play Donkey Kong and Mega Man. But, in the end, the team showed why they are an elite group of individuals who can accomplish great things when working as a team. Their alignment with our Core Values and how we play the game was on full display; Be Resourceful, Embrace Innovation, No Surprises, We Have Each Other’s Backs (just to name a few).

The Takeaway

All of our decisions at Pro Athlete are made with our customers in mind. This was no different and we will continue to leverage technology to provide a world-class experience to our fans. The talents of our employees are really able to shine on a project of this magnitude and we hope you enjoy the new sites. Let us know what you think!

If you have feedback regarding our new websites, please email us at Contact@ProAthleteInc.com.

How To: Take Product Photos and Videos

We receive hundreds of bats and gloves at our fulfillment center everyday. In order for the products to become live on our websites (so our customers can buy them and hit homers), product photos and videos need to be taken of items in our inventory (we don’t mean every single item, but at least one item from every bat or glove model). We’re lucky to be able to do that in-house and have found a pretty seamless system for getting it done. Here’s an in-depth look from employee, Kyle G., on just how he and his fellow rockstars here take our product photos and videos:

  1. A new item is received in our fulfillment center.

  2. It is transferred from our receivers to a specific location in our fulfillment center specifically made for holding these items that need photos and videos. Then our system will send an email notification notifying that pictures need to be taken for this item.

  3. Once the email has been sent, our photographers remove the new item from the location and take it to our photo booth.

  4. For bats, seven different pictures are taken: four of each angle of the barrel and handle, one of the certification of what leagues the bat is allowed for and one of the end and knob.

  5. For gloves, six different pictures are taken: two pictures of the inside of the glove, one of the glove’s web, one of the back and two of each side of the glove.

  6. Once all of pictures of the item have been shot, they are then off for editing and will be live on our sites within a 24 hour period.

  7. The final step is to deliver the bat or glove to our media room..

Now that the item has been delivered to the media room, it’s time for product videos!

  1. Once the lighting, microphones and cameras are set up, we grab the product number from our system to pull up the item and start recording the video. We have developed a set up that allows the video production process to be only a one person job.

  2. Our videos range from 1-3 minutes and give our customers an in depth summary of the features the item has to offer.

  3. Once the product video has been recorded and completed, it is then downloaded to our software and is made live to our site for that product under the product page. It is also downloaded to our YouTube sites for our customers to view and get an insight of what product suits their game the best.

Product videos are the most nerve wracking part. We aren’t actors or performers here and being in-front of the camera can be an intimidating place to be. Here are some tips from employee, Dan P., to make the experience better for yourself and your customers:

  • Do 2 or 3 practice takes before going live.

  • Write down the highlights of each product. This helps organize your thoughts.

  • Give the most accurate information you can. It’s ok if your delivery isn’t the best but it’s vital that the information is correct.

  • Remember to smile and have fun! (It can always be reshot!)

If you currently run an eCommerce website or one day plan to start selling products online, we hope that our tips may help you out!  If you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to us at Contact@ProAthleteInc.com and we will get you in touch with our experts!

Credit to employees Kyle G. and Dan P. for providing the information for this week’s version of our blog.

Pro Athlete’s Speaker Series featuring US Army Major Chad Agustin

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We pride ourselves on creating a university setting (Core Value alert!) at Pro Athlete. We believe that if our company is growing and learning, our employees should be too! Because of this, we strive to provide top-notch resources to our employees in order to promote continuous education. With that goal in mind, we recently introduced to employees the Pro Athlete, Inc. Speaker Series.

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Our Speaker Series consists of three main areas of topic: Get Inspired, Get Involved and Get Well. Within the series, we connect our employees with impactful people and missions in order to get them feeling motivated both mentally and physically. Get Inspired speakers speak on inspirational and motivational topics. Get Well speakers include health and wellness professionals that talk about the latest and greatest trends in the health world. Get Involved speakers come from various charitable organizations around our community that bring awareness to their causes and provide our employees with new ideas and ways to get involved. What better way to learn than from the experiences of others!

Last week we were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to host current United States Army Major Chad Agustin as the first installment of “Get Inspired”. He spoke about his journey as a former NCAA Division I baseball player at the University of Hawaii at Hilo to becoming a Major in the United States Army. Major Agustin is also a Louisville Slugger Slowpitch Global Ambassador in the military and police communities so it was natural that we hit it off!

While at Pro Athlete, Major Agustin hit on five key takeaways that he found to be important to his successes throughout his personal and professional life and shared them with all of our employees in attendance.

Major Agustin’s Five Key Takeaways:

  1. Have an open mindset.
  2. Be goal oriented.
  3. Be honorable.
  4. Be transparent.
  5. Have compassion.

… and remember, you can’t do it alone. Everyone is important and plays a huge role!

We look forward to having a continued relationship with Major Agustin and are extremely thankful for not only his message to our company, but also his service to our country and community.

If you are interested in being a future guest speaker at one of our Speaker Series events, please send an email to Contact@ProAthleteInc.com. We would love to consider you for a future spot!

What is Culture?

Culture is a popular buzzword going among businesses these days. We are one of the biggest users of the word, no doubt! Our culture is something we hold high and have worked hard to cultivate. So what is culture and how do you create it?

A good company culture isn’t just a group of people who come to the same building every day, work towards the same goals, and “mostly” like each other- it’s much deeper than that. Culture is created through core beliefs and behaviors that those who work for and with the company believe in. We call them our Core Values, and we have twelve (12) that really describe our culture to its fullest. Those who believe in those values and live them out every single day make the best employees. Those who don’t usually vote themselves off the island. When you have a strong culture, it runs deep through the veins of your employees and they don’t “mostly” like their coworkers, they love them.

We are involved in sports, so we use that to help describe a lot of things in business. Sports are perfect when describing cultures. Think of all the organizations out there that have created a losing culture. Each year they are at the bottom of the season-ending rankings and often, they are the ones with high turnover, lack of cohesion, players airing out dirty laundry with the press or on social media, etc. While this is a culture, it’s not the one you want. When you don’t have values that you all believe in and losing starts to become the norm, the players, coaches, front office and fans start to accept losing. Players start not caring that they just got blown out by 10 runs and go on to the next game like it’s no big deal. Front office personnel start losing sight of the fan experience. When losing is the most cohesive part of your culture, you aren’t left with much.

On the flip side, think of all the teams that are always in the hunt for a championship. They have the same faces year-after-year and seemingly have fun doing their job. They don’t go to the media when they have an issue. They, instead, talk about it among teammates and staff. These are the same teams that rely on a set of values to draft players, cut players, create a fan experience, and to put a winning product on the field. We’ve seen it happen so many times when a team brings in someone who isn’t an exact culture fit; it almost never fails that we soon see that player cut from the team. One bad hire can ruin the culture you have spent so much time creating.

There isn’t one type of culture that is right for everyone. Each business needs to create values that will lead to the creation of the culture they want. Each company has their own culture that they create, but the ones who have strong cultures have a few things in common. Next time you are at a company, check for a few of these things to test the strength of the culture:

  • Energetic employees

  • Lots of smiles

  • Consistency (using the same lingo or giving the same facts about the company)

     

There will be stumbling blocks along the way but cultivating a culture is a long play. You aren’t going to do it overnight, but when you do, you have the chance to not only make your business a success but to also positively impact the lives of so many employees and families along the way!

 

 

Learn more about the 12 Core Values that make up Pro Athlete here!