July 11, 2017
Name: Tami Breymeyer
Position/Institution: Director of Licensing, Kansas State University
Number of years in your position: 12
Hometown: Wamego, KS
1. Why did you become involved in ICLA?
I began attending ICLA conferences when I became Director at K-State. The association is helpful for networking, education, and the wealth of information and ideas. There are many great people to learn from.
2. What is your favorite part about being a member of ICLA?
The people. The relationships and knowledge that is exchanged is invaluable.
3. What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
Turnover. From students to staff, the education about our brand guidelines is a constant. With that comes the challenge of getting to the right person who needs to know the information.
4. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
I have worked hard to accomplish many things in my life, and I’m proud of balancing a career while raising my son.
5. What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
Probably the 24-hour cool down. When I encounter a situation that is highly emotional and upsetting, if tempers are rising and time allows, I will take 24 hours before addressing that person and the issue. This ensures that I approach with a level head and have had some additional time to think through the best course of action.
6. Who has been the most influential person in your career?
My parents. They are my biggest cheerleaders and, the first to bring me back to reality when needed. They are also a huge support when it comes to helping with my son, when I need to work late or travel.
7. What is one item you cannot live without?
Soda. Specifically, Diet Mountain Dew.
8. What is your favorite place to visit?
Walt Disney World/Disneyland. Love them both.
9. What is your favorite sporting event you have ever attended?
January 1, 2001. K-State played Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl. It was cold and had snowed the night before, the parking lot was like an ice rink, and the game kicked-off at 10am. Not very appealing. K-State had a great showing and we won the game. The coolest part was watching our side of the stadium, fans of all ages, all rocking to the Wabash Cannonball. It was truly an awesome sight.
10. Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate licensing?
I never sought a career in collegiate licensing. Like many of us I sort of fell into licensing, accepting a position to work for the director of licensing and upon his retirement, I was hired to replace him. Funny thing about the mark I protect, when I was in high school touring the K-State football facility I stood at the 50 yard line after the Powercat logo had first been put on the turf. I looked at it and thought it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen! Little did I know … as a “know it all” high school kid, my future would take me to protect the mark. I have been with K-State for 18 years now. The Powercat logo as we call it has been around for 28 years.
11. In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
Those who have been in the industry, and served as leaders on the ICLA Board are the best to help those coming into licensing and share their wealth of experience and knowledge. I’m quite jealous of the mentorship program, because I wish it had been in place when I joined ICLA. Thankfully, I was blessed with many who reached out and welcomed me. It was clear they were a phone call away at any time. More proof of a great Association.
12. How has your involvement with ICLA influenced your career?
Being involved with the Association I’ve learned just how much is possible in licensing, and the great people and mentors I have found through being a member.
13. What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career in licensing?
I learned from my predecessor and ICLA Hall of Fame member, John Fairman. I have great support within athletics and from the university.
14. What challenges do you face when working with students or vendors?
Communication. With students the hardest part is getting connected to educate them about the brand. Vendors, our artwork system is great as it offers a mechanism to send messages. Many times, I try to pick up the phone for a quick conversation. It comes down to relationships, always working to improve and build more relationships.
15. Would you please explain a professional success and how you implemented it?
When we released our rebrand for the university a few years ago, it was working with athletics and the university administration to make the change. It was met with some loud opposition from some. From speaking at brown bag lunches, to the individual conversations discussing the needs of the specific departments and colleges, was challenging and rewarding. When I look back to where we were, and how far we have come, I’m proud to have been an influential part of the team to make it all happen.
16. In your opinion, where is collegiate licensing headed in the future?
Solid branding in place, and being strategic for what best suites your institution. Change is inevitable, and with social media it can be hard to keep up.
17. 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?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” which is so true. Not every situation is a battle worth taking. As for getting into athletics, interning is great. It is also extremely important to be reliable and a positive attitude helps a lot.
18. What was your biggest professional failure/mistake and how did you learned from it?
Licensing bottled water several years ago. It was a large ordeal, that along with agency assistance I believe we found the best resolve. The result is better communication with media rights and being aware of the exclusive sponsorships they have written to prevent such an error again.
19. What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office?
Varies, average is 85-90 percent.
20. What are you most looking forward to at the next Winter Symposium?
Connecting with colleagues, and our first time co-located with the Sports Licensing and Tailgate show. I always look forward to the educational opportunities we’ll have as well.