Catching Up with Former Rep: Levi Brown
A former NFL offensive tackle, Brown played 7 seasons between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He graduated from Penn State University and was drafted in 2007. We recently caught up with the first-round draft pick and he gave us insight into his life during and after football.
What is your current career?
I am currently a financial coach with Surevest Wealth Management, here we provide highly customized asset management and planning services to high net worth individuals. These individuals include corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and recipients of sudden wealth such as lottery winners. We use a team based approach that improves the client experience by leveraging the skill sets of different professionals and allows me to focus on spending one on one time with clients to help them achieve financial freedom. On top of that, I have completed a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and am currently working on an MBA in Financial Psychology. With this degree, you can basically help people discover their cognitive biases and what keeps them from achieving their financial goals.
How would you describe your experience leaving the game?
So, no transition is seamless, mine was no different. At the time, my wife was pregnant with twins and I had not figured out what direction I wanted to go with my life. I was also battling feelings of still identifying as a football player, despite that part of my life having ended. For me, football was who I was instead of what I did. Luckily, I was able to take the time to find out my true passion, which is how I ended up in the financial services industry.
What are you most proud of during your time as a player rep?
I became of player rep during the lockout, so I am most proud of the work we did to secure a new CBA. We had an opportunity to travel to DC and lobby on Capitol Hill with various members of congress and really let our feelings be known. In the end, I believe we secured a deal that was beneficial to all parties involved. It was an honor to be chosen as one of the guys to represent us on that stage. It will now be interesting to see what comes of the next couple of years.
How has being a player rep impacted you personally & professionally?
Building off of my previous answer, during the lockout I was able to see more of the business side to the NFL. Specifically, the tactics that each side uses to secure the best deal for themselves and the effect that ultimately has on the relationships between players, owners, and fans. We also got to see how the media is used to apply pressure and spin messages with the hopes of getting one side to concede on the issue. These types of experiences served as a moment of clarity with regards to how the business operates and how I should best position myself to be successful moving forward.
What advice would you give yourself looking back?
I think the advice I would tell myself looking back would be to have been more definitive in the career path I would follow after the NFL. I mean obviously I knew at some point my football career would end and I would transition into a new career but I could have been more proactive and implemented more actions steps earlier. I would have told myself on day one to be ready for that second career instead of trying to do it all in retirement. Whether that’s building a network sooner or starting to work on the various certifications needed, more or less just planning ahead.
Have you taken advantage of any of the services of the PA since retirement?
Yes, I have attended various events that the PA has put on. Mostly the services I used have been education related. I finished my first Master’s Degree in Human Resources while I was still playing, I attended some business development courses at the University of Michigan and as I mentioned earlier I am currently working on my MBA in Behavioral Finance and Financial Psychology. I have always felt that we are meant to learn and develop overtime so I will continue using the education recourses available through the PA.
Obviously, I am a father first, I want to do all I can to take care of my family and kids. But if we are relating this to my career, there is a finite earning period as a player in the NFL and you have to be diligent in planning and preparing for the future. My goal now is help other athletes avoid those financial pitfalls that many face throughout their careers and in their retirement. Most of which I believe comes from the inability to correlate the amount of money that you can earn in the NFL with the type of lifestyle that money can provide when you start to use it as a primary source of income. I plan on doing this by working with younger players and athletes to educate and align them with a team of qualified advisors so that they can be in the best position to live the life they want to live the way they want to live it after their careers have ended.
Any other thoughts you would like to share?
We all sort of get down in the daily grind of things, I believe it is important to find a way to find the good things in our daily lives and just be thankful for them.