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20 Questions with Hannah Robles

April 17, 2018

Name:  Hannah Robles
Position/Institution: Assistant Director of Licensing & Branding, The University of Oklahoma
Number of years in your position: 5 Months
Alma Mater(s): Oklahoma State University
Hometown: Norman, OK

Why did you become involved in ICLA?
To be completely honest, I was not aware of ICLA before starting in the licensing industry. One of the first things I did in my first week on the jab was join the association. Little did I know it was going to be one of the best assets for networking, knowledge and transition as I learned about this industry.

How has your involvement with ICLA influenced your career?
Being so new to the group, I have already sensed an amazing feeling of community. Everyone has been so welcoming and ready to help me jumpstart my career in licensing. Although I do not have a ton to contribute just yet to the discussion board, I am learning a lot with that asset.

If you could choose one (1) amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?
I just got a standing desk and I feel like a new person at work. I feel like I engage better and mundane tasks don’t seem as boring when I am standing. I highly recommend a standing desk in the workplace!

What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
OU is a very large campus. A lot of students/staff are aware of our office but do not understand what protecting a brand entails. Being responsible for educating campus is a big challenge, but one that I am tackling one day at a time. In the end, we are all on the same team!

What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
One of the most important skills I have developed in my career has been my ability to wear multiple hats at once. In this role, we are being pulled in so many directions and from all different types of individuals. This skill has taught me how to use my many different talents to provide more than one single contribution at a time to the company I am working for.

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
Flipping houses. I like seeing potential in something that no one else can see. My mom is an interior designer and my dad is an architect so it seems to be in my blood.

When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
My phone is the point of contact for our office so I get questions mostly about internal requests from departments. We have been working really hard on standardizing our internal departmental/institutional logos which has come with lots of questions.

Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate licensing?
Coming from a corporate buying office, I thought corporate was the only path for me. When the position opened up at OU, I was excited to get back home and to take on a whole new role where I could infuse some of my previous retail knowledge. This role is the perfect balance of creativity and business. I feel like I was meant for licensing, or licensing could have been meant for me. Either way, I cannot imagine being anywhere else!

Who has been the most influential person in your career?
This only being my second job out of college I would still have to say Candace Stimmel. I am so lucky to have become a part of such an established program with an established LD. I admire Candace so much for how she does her job with such grace. I look forward to learning as much as I can from her. It did not take long for me to respect Candace as a friend and as my boss. She set the bar high and my career will never be the same.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
This is a very fitting question for me because I honestly wish I didn’t have to sleep! As I know most people enjoy waking up early because there is some type of calm in the morning, I feel the same way about staying up late. It is my time alone to do some of the things I love. I love doing calligraphy, crafting, reflecting, catching up on shows and I love writing loved ones hand written letters (writing hand written letters are a lost art).

Who’s your role model? Why?
My mom. She is the hardest working person I know and she has instilled in me the value of loving others and working hard. She lives her life in a way that drives me to be the best person I can be. Everyone who knows her loves her because she truly has a heart of GOLD. She is the mom of dreams and I want to be just like her.

What’s your favorite quote?
“If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet”- Rachel Wolchin. This applies to so many different aspects of life and work. In an ever changing world and industry we have to be ready and willing to anticipate change.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Poor concert etiquette. Being a professional concert-goer, it really bothers me when people are present and talking about anything OTHER than the music!

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal a for?
Queso eating. I am seriously obsessed with that amazing golden dip! If there is ever queso on a menu, I have to try it. Not sure what the goal would be of the queso event, but if I was timed I can sure eat it fast too! J

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field of collegiate licensing? The best advice I ever received was that my career is a marathon, not a sprint. My generation is always looking for the next step, the next move and never really focusing on the now. I have the rest of my life to accomplish small goals, which will eventually bring me to the finish line. I would advise someone entering into the licensing world not to chase the head chair, work hard and that chair will come to you when you are prepared and ready.

In your opinion, where is collegiate licensing headed in the future?
As we all learned at the Winter Symposium, retail isn’t hurting as bad as we thought. Although this is a wonderful shift, I still think we have to be creative in providing our fans with unique products that keep them excited. In the coming months, OU will be switching to Jordan Brand. This is going to be an exciting and telling year for us. The new branding will be one way to test what newness can do to refresh and excite! Stay tuned.

What is your favorite family tradition?
Lake Trips. Multiple times throughout the year, my mom’s whole side of the family travels to one of the many lakes in Oklahoma to partake in a long weekend on the water. It is so special getting to spend that quality time with everyone while soaking in some much needed R&R. FUN FACT: No other state has as many manmade lakes as Oklahoma (200 lakes).

What are you really good at, but kind of embarrassed that you are good at it?
Playing the banjo. I can’t believe I just typed that! I was inspired in the 5th grade after going to my very first bluegrass festival. Can’t say that I am GOOD, but I definitely know how to play!

What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office?
I would say about 90%. Right now that desk time is being spent by digging deep into the business, understanding how our campus operates and soaking in as much of Candace’s working knowledge as possible.

What are you most looking forward to at the next ICLA Convention or Winter Symposium?
Although we just got back from the Winter Symposium, I was very excited to put some more faces to names. It is a wonderful way to create some lasting relationships as well as get everyone in one place to learn about the industry. I had a blast and learned a lot!

About ICLA: ICLA provides educational and networking opportunities, enhancement of acceptable operating standards and ethics, and establishment of the overall prestige and understanding of the profession of collegiate licensing. For more information on ICLA, please visit www.iclanet.com. ICLA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com