Sade Ayodele knew from a young age she wanted a career in sports. She was a daddy’s girl who loved to watch football with her father on Sunday’s. Her high school in Houston was reminiscent of the show “Friday Night Lights,” with their football team going to state her senior year. And while attending the University of Texas at Austin, she proudly cheered on the famous Longhorns.
Then at twenty-two years old, with her Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Communications and her passion for sports in tow, she set out on her job search. Interview, after interview, after interview, after interview. No job. Sade went on fifty interviews over the course of ten months. But like a pro, when Sade gets knocked down, she gets right back up. Most people would consider themselves failures and give up, but she decided to use it as a learning experience. With each interview, she tried a new approach. She experimented by printing her resume in different colors, and thought of new ways to answer standard questions, all the while building her confidence and getting closer and closer. She finally landed her first job, at Google no less, and never looked back.
Almost eight years later, Sade is living her dream. She is the Director of Digital Sports for Taylor, a top sports and entertainment firm. She represents brands that sponsor big name athletes, travels all over the world, and recently attended Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta for work. But that’s not all. She is also the founder of “The B is for Boss,” a blog she started in 2017 where she shares her knowledge of job-hunting, resume-building, salary-negotiating, and more. With it, she is redefining the B word and is inspiring and empowering women to get the job they want. And Sade’s just getting started.
What brought you to New York City?
I wanted to work in sports PR and knew there were a lot of opportunities in New York. At the time, I was working with Google out of their remote office in Houston, but I knew my end goal was New York. I was on a contract position essentially and when it was coming to an end, I spent the last 30 days of my contract here so I could already be in the city and start interviewing.
What do you do as a sports PR director?
Essentially I help clients bring their sport sponsorships to life. We’re responsible for coming up with PR campaigns and working with their advertising agencies to create innovative ways to garner press coverage and social media buzz. A lot of times the way you do that is by integrating athletes into campaigns that align with the brand’s identity. So, while I do work with , they’re not my clients. The funny thing is, when I tell people I work in sports PR they say “Oh, are your clients Lebron James?”And I’m like no, my clients are actually like Tide or Hershey’s for example.
Where all has PR taken you?
I have been to Germany, Spain, and Toronto as far as out of the country. Super Bowls in Minneapolis, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta. Three NFL drafts, in Chicago, Philly, and Dallas. I’ve also traveled to Los Angeles, San Diego, and other cities across the U.S. for content shoots. Pretty much, if there is a big game and a reason for my clients to be there, I’m there.
Tell me about “The B is for Boss”…
So “The B is for Boss” is a blog I created out of my own career journey. I’m really big on faith and believe everything happens for a reason. Every time I got a “no,” I’d think “Why don’t I try this?” or “How about I try that?” and it really helped me improve my interview skills and try different resumes. I had a black and white resume, and I had a creative resume. I just tried different things and through that process it really helped me refine how I communicated about myself.
When you go on 50 interviews you learn how to sell yourself better. So ever since then, if I’m looking for a new job, I usually don’t have to go on more than three interviews before I land it. I didn’t even realize it, but it was a crash course, at 22, on how to communicate my skillset in a way that’s appealing to companies. Subsequently, I’ve been able to take those skills and use them in negotiations for pay and ask for promotions and things of that sort.
Over time, I had a lot of friends that would ask me to help them with their resume and then they’d get the job. Or someone would say “I really feel like I’m up for a promotion but I don’t know what to say.” So I’d coach them on that, and then my friends started getting raises and started getting jobs and they said “You should really help more women with this.” So thus came “The B is for Boss.”
Similarly, I also wanted to highlight women that were killing it in their own right in their respected careers. And that’s how it came to fruition. And it’s since evolved but it’s a work in progress. I actually had to stop because I wanted to focus on my career but I have a lot of plans for it this year. I want to start doing more videos and content so that I can reach more women without having to work with them one on one. I’m working on changing the model which has been a journey.
It’s really amazing that you took something that most people would get depressed about and used it as a learning experience…
Well, it was depressing. It was a dark time. I was 22 and all of a sudden done with fun college parties and being carefree to back at home with my parents. But every great thing that’s happened to me has happened after I failed at something else. I usually take rejection and think “Okay, something better is around the corner.” If I had gotten that Google interview six months prior, I probably would’ve bombed it. I needed to go through those 50 interviews to nail that one.
How soon after the string of interviews did you start “The B is for Boss”?
Six years later. And I sat on that domain name thebisforboss.com for a year and a half before I started writing on it. I thought “Who would want to listen to me?” It wasn’t until two years ago when I became a Director at my firm that I felt like I had the credentials. I felt that I was finally in a place in my career where I had something to say and I had the credentials to back it up.
What has the response been like?
It’s been really amazing and overwhelming at times. Sometimes, I’ve felt like it was almost too much to take on, but I truly believe in my mission. I’m planning my next retreat and I’m in the process of changing my model so that I can reach more women. It’s definitely an entrepreneurial journey. Sometimes business is good and I can make a lot of money and pay for a bigger team and then I hit speed bumps where everything is coming out of my own pocket. My goal is to get it into a place where it can sustain itself and I can continue to have more writers, career consultants, and connect with more women. I have so many ideas for it so I’m really excited about the future.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. Hopefully I can move closer to my parents. Not back to Texas but I was thinking either Atlanta or Charlotte. At that point, hopefully I am a VP in my career, if not an SVP. I really want to focus on growing “The B is for Boss.” I do think it has the potential to be a bigger platform. Not necessarily something I do full time, but that it is its own entity, because I am really passionate about helping women in their careers. There is a lot of conversation about the pay gap and how having women in your company can really increase your bottom line.
I think the issue is that we don’t have the skillset negotiate and navigate in Corporate America and I feel that’s something I’ve done really well at a young age. I want to help women be comfortable with asking for what they’re worth. I think there is a big education gap. We leave college, we get these degrees, but we aren’t taught tangible skills about how to navigate or even transition into corporate America. So, things like how to create a resume and how to negotiate pay, we aren’t taught. I’d like to help close that education gap for women because I think it’s especially harder for us.
What is your favorite neighborhood?
Harlem. It’s so rich in history. It’s a gem and it kind of has a Southern charm that reminds me of home. It’s where I live, where my church is, and where a lot of my friends are.
What’s something you’ve gotten to do that only living in New York could offer?
I recently got to meet Alexandria Ocasio Cortez at the Woman’s March in New York, while doing press for the President of the New York Chapter. Literally a friend called me and asked if I could do her a favor, and it was literally to fill in and help out with the PR around the Women’s March here. I happily obliged and it was an amazing experience. It’s not the first time that a friend has called with some last minute opportunity. I feel that in general just being in New York, you naturally can come across some pretty amazing people doing phenomenal work in their respective fields, so I always stay ready, as you never know where these opportunities can lead.
What advice would you give to someone who is moving to New York?
Pack light! And, understand that New York is the only city in the country, or maybe the world, where you can get certain experiences. So, every trade off that you have: like space, cost of living, no laundry or dishwasher in unit, is substituted by experiences you can’t get anywhere else – so enjoy them! Living here, I’ve met people from all walks of life and it’s opened my mind. It’s a one of a kind of experience. Still to this day things happen and I think “Only in New York.”
Photos by Kate Ryan