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Author Sarah Uhran on why sports can help you to live in the moment

I wish I could inspire everyone to live in the moment. I feel old when I say that, but truly we’ve lost ourselves in technology. Sports to me is about a moment, a moment in real time. It’s the last great thing we have that is meant to be done in real time and enjoyed […]


I wish I could inspire everyone to live in the moment. I feel old when I say that, but truly we’ve lost ourselves in technology. Sports to me is about a moment, a moment in real time. It’s the last great thing we have that is meant to be done in real time and enjoyed with others. We lose so much when our heads are down. How much could we gain from looking up and forward and at others that are physically there? I speak to my clients about living rather than sharing, and it’s become something we all try to do together. When we do charity events now, I hire a photographer so there is no need to have our phones out, and so there is no excuse to lose sight of our purpose for being there. Right before Christmas I left an amazing event and realized neither my client, nor I had taken any pictures. We both laughed and said “I guess the mental pictures will have to do”, and ironically I have a vivid memory of every moment from that night. Life happens in front of us all day, and I wish more people could embrace that and live in the moment! We all remember that one great game when we missed the key moment because we were on our phone. I’ve done it, we’ve all done it, and I wish for the sake of sports we could all opt to fully live in the moment.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Uhran, the founder and owner of The APC Agency, an exclusive management service providing one-of-a-kind solutions for professional athletes. In 2018, Sarah published her first book, The Athlete’s Playbook for Life — Things to Know when You Go Pro, which serves as a guide for young athletes navigating the often-challenging transition from amateur to professional. Based in Denver, Colo., Sarah’s agency provides personal brand development, community engagement, image consulting and comprehensive concierge services for clients across the country in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS and more.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

The story of how I ended up where I am today is a combination of several different stories. When I was in college at Notre Dame I was around a lot of our athletes and saw the challenges they faced day to day outside of their sport. It’s easy for me to look back now and think about how that inspired me, but I think it more prepared me for the moment I was thrust into what I do now. 
 
 I started The APC agency as a concierge business for high net worth individuals, and one of my first clients was an ESPN broadcaster. After working with him and his family he started to introduce me to more people in sports, particularly in Bristol (where ESPN is headquartered). Shortly after his first introduction, I was asked by ESPN to assist with several Denver Broncos players headed to Aspen for X Games. Specifically, they asked me to find them housing, make reservations, book parties to attend, and take care of all their other needs while they were there. It was hugely successful for me, career changing really — and the rest is history! I began to work directly with athletes as an on-call concierge/personal assistant for all off the field/court/ice needs.

Lastly, once you meet me you know right away that my true passion in life is people. There is no doubt in my mind that my passion for people has gotten me to this very moment in my career. I enjoy being able to see the true gifts in each person I meet, and it enables me to help each and every athlete I work with be the absolute best version of themselves. Every little detail of what The APC Agency provides athletes off the field I believe truly impacts their future, and I’m just grateful to be a part of it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Wow, I made lots of mistakes and every single one had lessons that came with it. I am grateful for all the missteps, truly each lesson I learn is valuable. When I first started, I was convinced I could be everything to everyone in sports. I had the grand plan that I would walk into an agent’s office and they would immediately realize they needed me. Turns out I was more of a bull in a china shop than a savvy executive. Fortunately, one agent I highly respected sat me down and told me how to be a true value in the sports world, and to “pick my lane”. I didn’t want to be an agent, that has never been my goal. I’ve only ever wanted to be a complementary service to an agent and provide added value to an athlete. That early advice immediately enabled me to focus on my passion and skill set, which consequently led to more clients. Thankfully I had several people looking out for me and helping ground me, but I did learn a lot from that one conversation and it has opened countless doors.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The APC agency is unique because of our goals and strategy for clients. From the beginning it has been about creating a valuable network, a network of athletes and successful executives that can all benefit from the one common thread — being a client of the APC agency. I have started to see that organically happen over the last year and it makes me smile like you wouldn’t believe. This past year, a client of mine was battling with sitting the bench, and it was not easy for him — it’s not easy for anyone. After one of his first games, visibly distraught from not playing, another client called me to let me know he had sent him a text just to say “keep your head up”. I was a proud “mom” at that moment that two of my guys who played different sports would support each other that way. Later that same week, one of my more veteran clients called to ask me if he should reach out and tell him that “it’ll get better”. Next thing you know the three of them are on a group text together sharing grievances and positive inspiration. The only thing these three had connecting them was The APC Agency, and it made me realize that what I do is greater than just a concierge service. And I truly believe THIS is what sets us apart.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

There are big plans to do a lot of collegiate speaking engagements in 2019. Talking to college athletes before they go pro is hugely important to me and the advice I offer is what my book is all about.. There is a lot that they can’t be taught in a classroom, and I hope to at least get them thinking before they are thrust into the spotlight. A business like mine won’t be able to work with everyone, but I hope that I can get my message out to as many young athletes as possible. I often call myself an advocate for athletes, and I am laser focused on that idea in the new year. There is a vital need for a better support system for young athletes who go pro and I hope I can play a bigger part in filling that gap in the coming year.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

My advice to other female leaders is to empower and not to micromanage. We’ve all spent too much time trying to control or predict outcomes, but that only hinders performance. Instead, let’s find team members with true skills and passions and empower those to enable them to succeed. I’ve read Simon Sinek’s book “It Starts with Why” several times. It’s been inspirational with how I manage people. Finding a person’s “why” is important, in fact, it’s crucial to their success. For my employees, their “why” has to involve a passion for people, and I’ve found that investing in helping them find their “why” creates a stronger team.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

The best way to manage a team is to set goals together. I treat my team like a sports team, we are in a year-long season and need to hit our milestones to make the playoffs and win it all. Good or bad, I am extremely competitive and the team that works with me embraces that competitive spirit and jumps right in. It’s fitting though because our clients are athletes, the most competitive people you could ever be around, so we are well-equipped to play their game.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Absolutely, Faust Capobianco III was an incredible mentor to me when I first started and continues to be one for me today. He spoke at an event when I lived in NYC and I was still working in advertising. I was not invited to the event, but managed to find a way in and thank goodness I did! After the event, I was able to speak with him and get his contact info, which led to huge opportunity. Faust introduced me to two of the agents in sports that I am closest to today. He also put me in a great position to be a valuable asset in college sports. Each introduction he made resulted in huge gains back to my business. I am so grateful for him taking an interest in what I envisioned and believing in what he knew I could achieve. I truly hope that one day I can do the same for someone else.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’ve always been big on giving back. The blessing of what I do for a living is that I get to give back with my clients all the time. I have some clients that want to give back on their own, so I get to tag along, but I also have clients that are lost as to where and how to give, so together we explore what makes sense for them. In an average year, we do about 15 children’s hospital visits, 10 boys and girls club visits and work in some capacity with between 5–10 other organizations. For me, personally I support causes specifically related to veterans and cancer. I have connections to both, so that’s always been where I want to create as much as help as possible whenever I have the opportunity.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I wish I could inspire everyone to live in the moment. I feel old when I say that, but truly we’ve lost ourselves in technology. Sports to me is about a moment, a moment in real time. It’s the last great thing we have that is meant to be done in real time and enjoyed with others. We lose so much when our heads are down. How much could we gain from looking up and forward and at others that are physically there? I speak to my clients about living rather than sharing, and it’s become something we all try to do together. When we do charity events now, I hire a photographer so there is no need to have our phones out, and so there is no excuse to lose sight of our purpose for being there. Right before Christmas I left an amazing event and realized neither my client, nor I had taken any pictures. We both laughed and said “I guess the mental pictures will have to do”, and ironically I have a vivid memory of every moment from that night. Life happens in front of us all day, and I wish more people could embrace that and live in the moment! We all remember that one great game when we missed the key moment because we were on our phone. I’ve done it, we’ve all done it, and I wish for the sake of sports we could all opt to fully live in the moment.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Lou Holtz said, “You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be. ” My dad always loved Lou Holtz and so from a young age, we were taught through Lou Holtz quotes. This one in particular hung in my room for more than 12 years. I believe strongly that you are what you make of your own life and I truly believe we can be anything we want in life. It’s about finding our purpose and then doing everything we can to achieve our purpose. I suffer from middle child syndrome, so I was constantly trying to compete with my siblings to be the best child in every aspect of life. I realized as I got older that it wasn’t anyone but myself — the only person I was competing with was ME. I spent time learning my purpose, which is to help people achieve their dreams and be the best they can be. And once I found my purpose, I became more focused on being the most successful version of me. Only in my head was I winning or losing, but in life, now I know I am on track to achieve greatness.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I have been fortunate to spend time with some amazing people in my life, but there have always been two athletes I’ve wanted to meet, one is Derek Jeter and the other is Tiger Woods.

Derek Jeter was so much more than an athlete in NYC, he was an icon and he knew how to live it up, perform, give back to the community, and handle the media like no one else has ever been able to do. NYC will eat you alive, but Jeter thrived. He fascinates me on every level, but most importantly, he is such an amazing role model for other young athletes. I also don’t take lightly how much work he has done with his foundation. It’s a tremendous accomplishment and one that I truly hope inspires others in his position.

Tiger Woods is simply Tiger Woods. He is one of the most elite athletes of his time and one that fell victim to us building him up, only to cheer his fall from grace. I have read a lot on Tiger Woods because he fascinates me. His background, his grit, his passion, there is so much to admire about Tiger Woods. I know people will never forgive him for his past, but no matter what, you cannot take away the fact that what he did for the game of golf was tremendous. He changed the entire game. One of my very first golf tournaments, I was lucky enough to walk inside the ropes to follow Tiger. To say the experience was tremendous is an understatement. Forget the amazing golf, the CROWD was insane! Just a herd of people flocking to watch every shot, every first pump, every moment of this man on the course. He created a true movement. People can say what they want about Tiger, but I believe him to be truly great and one person I’d love to learn more about.

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