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Make the time, by Dr. Ely Weinschneider and Vince Thompson

Making time; making sure that your children always know that they are the number one priority will. Make the child feel that you are their rock and are there for them, to back them up and support them no matter the circumstances. For that child to have that confidence, I believe, is tantamount to them […]


Making time; making sure that your children always know that they are the number one priority will. Make the child feel that you are their rock and are there for them, to back them up and support them no matter the circumstances. For that child to have that confidence, I believe, is tantamount to them building their own sense of security.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Vince Thompson.

Named one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2018 “Most Admired CEO’s,” Atlanta Magazine’s “Atlanta Top 500,” and Biz Bash’s Top 500 Event Producers in North America, Vince Thompson is an award-winning brand builder and one of the country’s leading sports marketers.

In 2000, Thompson founded MELT and has built it into one of the nation’s largest sports/culinary/entertaniment marketing agencies. The Coca-Cola Company has been a client for 19 years, and MELT has grown to produce the activation of 19 consecutive Final Four championships and six seasons of ESPN College Game Day. Other MELT clients include 404 Vodka, Avid Hotels, Body Armor, Cam Newton, Core Power, Corky’s, Georgia Crown, Holiday Inn Express, KIA, Mercedes-Benz, Powerade, Wingstop and many more.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I was born and raised in Chatom, Alabama, which I like to refer to as “Lower Alabama”, as it’s near Mobile. I led a Mayberry-esque childhood existence. I fished all the time and loved to watch and play sports. My hometown had one red light, my parents owned a grocery store and my dad was the mayor. Population 800.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

 Lots of hard work and lots of guardian angels. I like to think of myself as an “overnight success”, it was just a long, long night.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

In the world of sports marketing, no two hours are exactly alike. With a stable of nearly 50 clients, including major corporations, athletes and brands, as fast as things are moving right now, it’s never boring.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

Spending time, but quality time, is the most important thing that you can do for, and with, your child, especially in the early stages of growth and development. Helping lay that solid foundation of support and security, I believe, sets the stage for a child to become a successful, independent and confident adult. But it has to be “quality” of time, not “quantity” of time. I don’t believe living vicariously through your children or helicoptering ever sets your child up for future success.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is important to make time to spend with your children?

Making time; making sure that your children always know that they are the number one priority will. Make the child feel that you are their rock and are there for them, to back them up and support them no matter the circumstances. For that child to have that confidence, I believe, is tantamount to them building their own sense of security.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a story or example from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

Being in the sports marketing business, I’ve been blessed to have included my son in either the production or attendance of some of the biggest sporting events in the country. MELT has produced 17 Final Four activations, six seasons of ESPN College Game Day and other activities, and I’ve been able to bring and expose my son to many of these events. He’s also broken bread with many famous celebrities and athletes, including Cam Newton, Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas and many others, which has given him the confidence and insight into the world of business, media and sports. We’ve probably attended at least 500 events together.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

1. ALWAYS take their calls and texts.

2. Let everyone in your life, including clients, friends, family and co-workers, know that family always comes first and practice that value throughout your organization.

3. Don’t ever push your child into a sport or activity unless they have a love for it. Don’t make them live through you, or your childhood.

4. Don’t put too much pressure on your child academically, tests, college pursuits, etc. Let them be a kid, they’ve got a long time to be an adult.

5. Always tell them you love them!

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

There is no set definition of being a “good” or “bad” parent. My only definition is to always make sure they’re number one in your life; let them know they’re the priority, and support them unfailingly.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

Dream Big — My own story of building one of the largest sports marketing firms in the country has always been a way for me to encourage my son to “shoot for the stars,” and pursue your passion. Don’t be afraid to fail and get back in the saddle, not IF, but WHEN you’re thrown off of it.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success is defined by being unselfish with your time, money, energy and resources. Give back to those less fortunate; follow the golden rule and always be there providing love and confidence.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

While I don’t have a specific set of examples, I’ve always studied and admired any parents who included their kids in all activities, whether it’s a business dinner, social activity, etc. Give them a spot at the dinner table and encourage them to express and vocalize their opinion, albeit in a respectful way. Treat kids not as children, but as human beings.

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

My Old Man, (my dad), always taught me, “Son, the old ball (the sun) turns in a circle 24 hours a day, so make sure you treat folks right all the time”. Especially now with social media, you never know where it could come back around to bite you. Its simple, but the Golden Rule.

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. 🙂

To provide quality living conditions for all homeless folks and disadvantaged people, a quality education for all who desire it and expand our MELT University intern program to give all college kids a crack at real time work experience, that would be my dream and goal.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights!

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