Two-sport professional athlete and founder of Gameface Apparel, Brian Jordan, said commitment, discipline and a little luck were three factors that set leaders apart, during his speech at the Robins School of Business last Thursday.
Jordan, a University of Richmond graduate, said sports had always been a huge part of his life. He knew from a young age that he wanted to be a two-sport professional athlete, he said.
"I wanted to be different," Jordan said, regarding his childhood vision. "That was my goal: to dream just not small, but huge."
Despite a severe leg and ankle injury during his senior year at Richmond, Jordan reached his goal. He was drafted in the first round of the 1988 Major League Baseball draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was then drafted in the seventh round of the 1989 National Football League Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
In June 1992, Jordan ended his football career after signing a new contract with St. Louis to play baseball exclusively. Jordan officially retired after the 2006 baseball season. In addition to playing sports, Jordan founded Gameface Apparel.
"My father gave me really the idea of what Gameface is all about now," he said. "And that is being focused, being determined and being dedicated to the craft, you will be a winner, regardless of sports, business, just in life in general, and that has been my approach."
Since then, Jordan has also expanded his nonprofit organization called the Brian Jordan Foundation. The foundation was established in 1998 to support and reward children.
"My mom was an educator, so for me, I watched her pour her heart and soul into giving back to the kids," Jordan said. "I knew if I'd ever make it and reach my dreams, that I would do that."
The Brian Jordan Foundation began with awarding scholarships to teenagers who would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend college. Following the success of the scholarship program, Jordan added a health and fitness division and a literacy program, for which he has published three children's books.
Jordan also shared tips with the audience about how to achieve success. Find a source of self-motivation and do not fear failure, he said. Look for a role model or mentor for inspiration, and stay humble, Jordan advised.
"Brian Jordan gave a great talk focusing on key qualities of discipline and motivation, and how important they are to succeeding in every aspect of life," freshman Natalie Somerville said.
Nearly 100 students, faculty and community members met at 8 a.m. Thursday in the Robins School of Business' Ukrop Auditorium for the interview in the "C-Suite Conversations" series.
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Senior Associate Dean Richard Coughlan leads the "C-Suite Conversations" series. Coughlan conducts unscripted interviews with leading decision makers, giving students the opportunity to interact with them, he said.
"These events are meant to bring to life lessons from those who have had success in whatever field they're in," Coughlan said. "Every time that we identify a person we want to bring in, the thought is that they will be appealing both to our student body and to the business community."
Contact Collegian reporter Meghan Cummings at firstname.lastname@example.org
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