Charles Conroy The Switch VP gaming
What do you do? I lead esports initiatives at The Switch, driving the expansion of our business in the gaming sector. The Switch is a global leader in live video production and delivery, working with most of the major esports leagues and organisations around the world. My ultimate goal is to have every game on the planet using our services! Who has been a mentor in your career? I’ve had two great mentors throughout my life. Before I joined The Switch, I was a gamer-turned-team-manager and then owner, so I ran my own businesses and didn’t have a particular boss or supervisor to guide me. As such, my father, Alexius, was a first real mentor. In the early stages of my career, he taught me invaluable lessons in business and entrepreneurship. As a businessman himself, he showed me how to run and grow a successful business, as well as how to develop employees. The second mentor I’ve had is Joe Cohen, who is The Switch’s president, sports – and who also happens to be a Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame member. He has worked with the NBA, NHL, MLB, and just about every other sports organisation worth talking about. Joe taught me everything I know about broadcast and really took me under his wing when I started at The Switch in 2019. He understood the opportunity we had to bring esports into the broadcast sphere, and the insights and guidance he gave me about broadcasting were invaluable. What did they teach you? My mentors were quite different, in that one taught me how to run a business, while the other taught me all about broadcast and how it works. But I would say both taught me the importance of cultivating and maintaining honest relationships. My biggest takeaway from business is to treat people honestly and fairly– if you do that, you’re giving yourself a big advantage. Treating people in the right way will ultimately give you a leg-up on competition. People that don’t operate with these principles tend to be remembered in a negative way. What have you learned that you would most like to pass on? The importance of tenacity and not being discouraged when you hear your first “no”. Because you will hear a lot of them! Secondly, remember that relationships are the most important part of business. Who would you like to mentor? There are several I have mentored over the past decade, people I’ve met both within and outside of the broadcast industry – including employees at Complexity Gaming, where I was chief development officer. I like to mentor those with ambition, drive, a willingness to learn – that embody the principles of honesty, ambition and integrity. Those are the people that I get excited about helping and guiding.
Sadie Groom Bubble Agency/ Rise F ounder
What do you do? I am the MD of Bubble Agency and founder of Rise, an advocacy group for women in the broadcast technology sector. Rise has four main programmes: (i) The Rise Awards, celebrating global female superstars in our industry; (ii) Rise Up, our educational programme for schools; (iii) Rise Events – currently virtual with our In Conversation With series; (iv) our award-winning Rise Mentoring programme, which in 2020 mentored 28 women from the UK and Singapore. Who has been a mentor in your career? My Dad always owned his own business and told me I could do it and start anything I wanted to, whether that was Bubble or Rise – to this day we still talk business at least once a week. Next was Sallie Ryle, head of communications for ITV – being in-house, she taught me why I should stay running an agency. Last, but not least, my current mentor/ coach who I do pay for, but is worth every penny. He never gives me the answer, but I get there a lot quicker with him and sometimes come up with some real off-the-wall ones which have worked brilliantly. What did they teach you? A mixture of things: y y You can do anything you want in this life and if at least you have tried, no one can criticise you y y Do what makes you happy y y To set goals, plan for achieving those goals on a quarterly basis, and be accountable to someone What have you learned that you’d most like to pass on? y y Make sure that you are having a good laugh y y Being part of a community is important – be part of as many as you can that work for you and make you happy y y Write things down with a pen – it is one hundred times more likely to go in Who would you like to mentor? [United States vice-president] Kamala Harris – yes, I know she would probably mentor me, but I just want to be in her company at this time right now.
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