Block out the nay-sayers… the people who like to tell you what you aren’t capable of instead of what you are. I’ve had many of those (as I’m sure we all have). Those people who told you to set your sights a little lower will be the same people saying they always knew ‘you’d make it’.
I had the pleasure to interview Andy Adler — Sports Anchor for Channel 11 in NY where she is also the host of the Yankees pre-game shows, and host of ‘One on One with Andy Adler’. Previously, Andy was a morning news anchor at NBC in Los Angeles and the host of the Lakers pre and post game shows. Prior to that, she was the sports anchor for FOX in New York and the host of the New York Giants pre and post game shows. Subsequently, Andy has made appearances on MSNBC, FOX Business News and NBC Nightly News.
Thank you so much for joining us! What is your “backstory”?
First of all, I have to say it’s weird being on this end of an interview. I’m much more comfortable asking the questions than talking about myself. So thanks for baring with me here. As far as my ‘backstory’, I grew up in San Diego, CA. Both of my parents are Mexican-Jews, which is why my first language was Spanish and also why I can (poorly attempt) to speak Hebrew. I grew up with two brothers who are both about 6’5. Sports was BIG in my family. My Dad is obsessed with baseball and in fact, he always taught us life lessons using sports metaphors. Now I do the same! But really, it was my mom who was the biggest sports fan. She looked at the games differently, from a personal perspective and she was always leaving me newspaper cut-outs of stories about players (both high school and professional). My mom liked the back-story of the player and soon, I too, was fascinated by what helped them achieve greatness, what drives them and what they had to overcome..
At an early age, I liked watching the news (I was a weird kid; makes for weird adults. ;)) and I can remember watching Kimberly Hunt (she’s still an anchor in SD) and my mom said, you would be great at her job. I couldn’t have been older than nine and I remember thinking, “yeah, I could do that.” My mom is my best friend, my toughest critic and my inspiration and her words set things in motion.
At Stanford, senior year, I anchored and ran the college television station and did an internship for the CBS sports department in San Francisco. Stanford’s campus has gotta be my happy place… it’s paradise.. I also made my closest friends there.
In 2001, instead of graduating early (nerd), I took some time from school and went to NY to intern for the David Letterman Show. The year was 2001 and on September 11th, I can remember walking those New York streets after the terrorist attack. I remember it like I remember my dreams. Weird and surreal, but clearly. Letterman was the first late night show back on the air after 9/11. He was authentic and informed, but himself, he made the audience laugh. I was impressed. I wanted to speak to the NY audience in the way David did.
A few days after graduation, I started as a Page at NBC. I gave tours and wore a uniform (which is the reason I can tie a tie like a champ). While I was a Page, I would call Lawton Dodd (the news director at NBC in Monterey) every couple weeks. I had met with him before graduations and auditioned. Finally my stalking paid off and Lawton gave me my first shot as an on-air reporter at the age of 20 and I will be forever grateful. The rest as they say is herstory!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Oh boy! Several come to mind and the thing about this industry, is you see A LOT. Much of which probably bares not repeating.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now, my focus is on continuing to do what I love which is getting to know the person beyond just the athlete. These interviews (or as I call them ‘taped conversations’) are my passion. I’m also working on a new project that I’m excited to share more about once there’s more to share. 🙂
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I feel incredibly grateful to have met some truly fascinating and brilliant people along the way. Sounds a little cliché, but it’s something I never take for granted.
Certain relationships will always stay in my head. Mariano Rivera is a stellar human being. First met Mo in 2007 and in 2008, he taught me how to throw the cutter. In 2009, he threw champagne on my head after clinching the playoffs (gently of course), now I have had the pleasure of seeing him thrive post baseball. I remember asking him recently who he admires and he said Pelè so when I interviewed Pelè, I told him what Mariano said and it was just so cool to see an icon get genuinely excited by a ‘fan’ (who also happens to be an icon).
I’ve worked for and with some genuinely remarkable human beings and it’s a very long list. It’s pretty special when your colleagues can become some of your most loyal and trustworthy friends.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in journalism?
I’m not a big fan of generic advice. I would start with a question before giving any guidance to someone considering a career in journalism: “Why do you want to do this?” I can give advice based on that answer. I think the best suggestion I can give is do things your way and never try and be like someone else. Be humble, stay hungry and don’t let the ‘noise’ get to you. If you want to become famous, choose another profession. If you want to connect with your viewers and tell impactful stories, stay focused and don’t let distraction or nay-sayers take you off course.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As corny as it sounds, that is my true wish to use my voice to bring a little goodness into this world (and hopefully a lot of goodness). My passion is and always has been children. ‘The World of Children’ is an amazing cause. Kay and Harry Leibowitz have given their lives to help thousands and I feel fortunate to be able to work with them. I have the privilege of working with various different charities (including Children’s Health Fund, P.E.N.C.I.L, NAMI-NYC, to name a few ) and am in the process of solidifying a trip to go work at an orphanage in Israel for Migdal Ohr (an amazing organization. Please look it up!).
I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?
Passion. I’m grateful to be able to do what I love for a living. Also, I’m naturally a competitive person (it’s the tennis player in me) but I don’t compete with others. I compete with myself, which can be exhausting, but makes for a fun match!
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
I like to read a lot. I’ve been inspired by several books but more so, by quotes.
Mark Twain’s words: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” I try and follow that advice… from both sides of the coin.
Also Jay Z “A wise man once told me don’t argue with fools. Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who.” True
And Maya Angelo “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forger what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Me gusta!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂
Kindness is everything. Be kind. Period. There’s a big difference between being nice and being kind. Be kind to strangers, be kind to those you’re close to. Treat the owner of the building the same way you would treat the person cleaning it. KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING. If more people would take a moment and choose to be kind every day, well that would be pretty awesome. So how about the ‘kindness movement’, or the “Do the Right Thing When No One’s Looking Movement”!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1) Enjoy this moment! Slow down and don’t be in such a rush to get to the number one market. Enjoy the perfection of Palm Springs and Monterey. And once you get to New York, slow down and enjoy it. Enjoy doing the on field interview right after the Yankees won the World Series and the Giants won the Super Bowl. Enjoy getting drenched in the Mets clubhouse when they clinched the World Series. Enjoy those big moments and the small moments. I think I’ve always been so afraid of taking my ‘eye off the ball’ and focusing on the job that even though it’s the funnest job in the world, I’ve never stopped looking it as a job. Maybe that’s not all bad, but there’s a happy medium out there that maybe I’m still looking for.
2) Trust you gut above all else! Don’t listen to people who ‘know better’ when it comes to making career moves.*Always* trust your instincts above anything else. I started young in this industry and it’s easy to let people with more experience guide you, but you know best. The biggest mistakes I’ve made in my career occurred when I was not listening to my instincts.
3) You can’t connect the dots looking forward — There have been so many disappointments, so many strange encounters, so many ‘coincidences’ that make no sense at the time. As Steve Jobs says best, you gotta ‘trust in something’. I choose to trust in being able to connect the dots later.
4) Block out the nay-sayers… the people who like to tell you what you aren’t capable of instead of what you are. I’ve had many of those (as I’m sure we all have). Those people who told you to set your sights a little lower will be the same people saying they always knew ‘you’d make it’.
5) Save that interview you did with Donald Trump in 2012! Yeah, he’s the guy from the ‘Apprentice’ now but believe me, you’re going to want to hang on to a copy of that. (Can’t find it anywhere now!)
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 whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Jeff Bezos. I have enormous respect for what he’s created but equally as important, I like the way he’s handled his success. He is incredibly generous, he’s a family man, doesn’t seek the limelight and is the ultimate entrepreneur (and that spirit excites me). So yeah, Jeff, lunch on me 😉