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20 Questions with Candace Stimmel

Oct. 3, 2016

Name: Candace Stimmel
Position/Institution: Licensing Director / The University of Oklahoma
Number of years in your position: 1
Alma Mater(s): Bethany College (B.A.) & Witchita State University (M.Ed.)
HometownRandolph, KS

1. Why did you become involved in ICLA?
I initially joined as a way to learn more about the collegiate licensing profession after spending the first five years of my career in athletics marketing.

2. What is your favorite part about being a member of ICLA?
All of the people. Everyone is willing to share their experiences which helps tremendously when we're all working toward similar goals.

3. What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
Our office is housed in athletics even though we service the entire university including three campuses. We have to fight the misconception that athletics gets to tell everyone how they can and can't use the logo.

4. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
My son. Hopefully I can still say that in 18 years.

5. What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?

6. Who has been the most influential person in your career?
My husband. He's stuck by me through career moves that have taken us from Kansas to Florida to Arkansas and now to Oklahoma all within the span of seven years.

7. What is one item you cannot live without?
As much as it pains me to admit it, my iPhone.

8. Who would you choose to switch places with for a day?
Joanna Gains from the HGTV show, Fixer Upper.

9. What is your favorite sporting event that you have ever attended?
It's so hard to pick a favorite! This past March the NCAA tournament first and second round games came to Oklahoma City so I got to take my family. Our son even made his first videoboard debut, so that was fun!

10. Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate licensing?
After working in a dual role at Arkansas (marketing/licensing), I decided to move into licensing full time in 2013. I saw it as an opportunity to grow professionally while also having the personal benefit of a more “normal” work schedule.

11. In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
I truly believe everyone has something significant to offer based on each of us having unique experiences in our various organizations.

12. How has your involvement with ICLA influenced your career?
Without the network of colleagues I’ve met through ICLA I would have never felt confident enough to pursue my current position at OU. Their support and encouragement has meant the world to me!

13. What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career in licensing?
During my time at the University of Arkansas I spent a year overseeing the daily operations of our independently operated team store. That year gave me a great look into the world of retail and all the considerations that need to be made on that side of our industry.

14. What challenges do you face when working with students or vendors?
With students it’s a constant need to educate them on brand standards and what is or isn’t acceptable.

15. Explain a professional success and how you implemented it. 
While at Arkansas we unveiled a brand refresh and I got to play a large role in what the unveiling looked like. Getting the student-athletes involved was the best part. Once the fans saw how excited they were about the new look it was easy for them to get on board.

16. In your opinion, where is collegiate licensing headed in the future?
 As more strategic partnerships emerge, I think we’ll see a trend of schools reducing their overall number of licensees pretty dramatically.

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? 
“Believe in yourself and trust your gut.” There are going to be numerous instances where the answer may not be black or white. You have to be able to navigate the gray area in our industry and the best way to do that is by trusting your instincts and staying true to what your institution stands for.

18. What was your biggest professional failure/mistake and how did you learn from it?
I had several failed in-game promotions back in my marketing days. But you know what they say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

19. What percentage of your work week is spent in your office?
Probably 80-90%, which is way too much. I need to do a better job of getting out in the marketplace more frequently.

20. What are you most looking forward to at the next ICLA Convention or Winter Symposium?
Reconnecting with colleagues and gathering ideas we can implement at OU.