Catching Up with Former Player Rep: Jordan Babineaux
A former NFL safety, Babineaux played 9 seasons in the league after graduating from Southern Arkansas University. We recently caught up with the former Seahawk and Titan and he gave us insight into his life during and after football.
What are you doing now in your career?
As of now I am working with the Seahawks organization on the broadcasting side. I am a part of their Gameday radio and television broadcast. I also help on the business side with corporate partners, marketing activations, communications, and player engagement. Outside of the Seahawks organization I have my own company. Last year I finished publishing my book which is called ‘Pivot to Win: Make the Big Plays in Life, Sports & Business’ which became an international best seller on Amazon. This book covers my childhood on growing up in Texas surrounded by drug abuse and violence, making it to the NFL as a division II athlete and being an undrafted free agent. Overall, talking about those big pivots that we all must take in our lives and being able to adjust and navigate that change when being put up to the challenge. After this accomplishment, I went back to get a coaching certification and help young professionals/organizations develop leadership solutions.
What is your favorite part about your job & why?
My favorite part about my job with the Seahawks organization is still being close to the game. Now I see the game from two different perspectives, which is the players being on the field and them being able to fulfill their dreams. Then there is the fan engagement part of it which is why I love the ambiance in gameday operations. My interests are on the business side. I have a passion for front office, sports leadership management, how sports teams generate revenue and connecting with partnerships/the community. It is mainly two parts, that on the field product, that really resonates with me but in terms of growth it is the business operations that has been most attractive then being able to learn and navigate all the different complexities associated with running an organization.
What has your experience been like as a player rep?
It has been unique to reconnect with folks inside the football community, even some that I have competed against but even now knowing them on a personal level has been really invigorating and fun. When it came time for me to reconnect with the football community and give in that role, I knew the NFLPA does an excellent job of providing resources for players. The reason these resources are so beneficial and saved lives is because of the player-to-player relationships and reconnection that is brought back to the football community by the NFLPA.
What was your transition like from football into your current career?
Honestly, it was a matter of figuring things out for me and redefining success. Success is not always making big plays or putting a jersey on all the time. When I say figuring things out it is the matter of knowing what I don't want to do. I went back to school and got my MBA then published my book and began expanding relationships beyond the sports world. In the Seattle community I recognize it as full of diamonds, in other terms I see it as opportunities outside of the football world. One of the things I share with young athletes and help them with is develop and cultivate strong relationships. Getting outside their comfort zone and attending these different networking events.
What is the biggest lesson you took away from the game and how did you apply it to your current career now?
I think that my story and my path to the NFL was quite different from others, those same attributes that got me there: the work ethic, continuous learning, understanding other positions and how it all molds together in terms of the big picture. No job is too small to step into, no moment is too big to always cherish and appreciate. These are transferable skills in business and entrepreneurship and life after football. It has always been continuous learning and competitive growth.
How big of an Impact did networking have on your career?
Networking is one of the things I teach my young professionals. I have a ten-week series of personal professional development in the Seattle University MBA program. What I share with them is more centered around their digital resume; their LinkedIn profile, how they engage on social media, posts they publish and language/content. All of this provides employers with a good indication of who you are as a person and whether sponsors or endorsements opportunities want to engage with you. I really try to help them grow their LinkedIn presence and profile. At the end of the day, it’s about the number of touch points and how you engage with the community you want to interact with and serve.
Do you have any advice for those currently playing trying to figure out their next career step or debating on retirement?
I would encourage current players to use the offseason as an opportunity to develop business skills. The NFLPA has various programs and teams creating a development of their own level of professional development programming outside of sports. I think this is where a lot of value for young football players is spotted specifically during their offseason. I fully believe that there needs to be some space away from the game and fun associated with it while having the right advisors around you which will tend to make your transition smoother. The transition from sports for me is whether you are prepared for it, you're never really prepared for it. This is because there is a physical and mental intertwine relationship that challenges dominant athletes to experience something new. Personally, I cannot tell you what those challenges will be but use that offseason as an opportunity to invest in yourself beyond the game which is more essential now than one would realize after sports is over.