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20 Questions with Tami Breymeyer

Oct. 8, 2013

Name: Tami Breymeyer

Position/Institution: Director of Licensing

Kansas State University

Number of years in your position: 8

Hometown: Wamego, KS

1)      Why you became involved in ICLA? When I became Director at K-State, I began attending ICLA conferences.  I found the organization to be helpful for networking, and a wealth of information and ideas from all walks of life.  So much to learn, and there are so many great people to learn from.

2)      Favorite part about being in ICLA? The people.  The friendships and knowledge that is exchanged.

3)      Biggest challenge to working in a university environment?  I believe it is not being able to always please everyone, which is truly impossible in such a diverse environment.  I've heard I'm referred to as "1-800-NO".  I try to share with folks what they can do, rather than simply saying no and hanging up the phone.

4)      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)      Most important skill you have developed in your career? Probably the 24 hour cool down.  I actually learned this initially being a fraternity house mom over a decade ago.  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)      Most influential person in your career? My parents.  They are my biggest cheerleaders and also, the first to bring me back to reality when needed.  They are also a huge support when it comes to helping out with my son when I need to work late or travel.

7)      One item you cannot live without? Not so much an item, as I need my family.  They are everything to me.

8)      Who would you chose to switch places with for a day? This is a hard one; I'm pretty content at this point. If I could take one day and do anything I wanted, I'd say it would be a day at the beach for some calm, peaceful serenity.

9)      What was your favorite sporting event you ever attended?   January 1, 2001 when K-State played Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl.  It was cold and it had snowed the night before.  The game was at 10 a.m. and I've never probably had a hot dog smell so appetizing before!  We did win the game.  But the coolest thing was watching our side of the stadium, fans of all ages, all doing 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 in 1999 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 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.  Fourteen years and going strong in doing so! 

11)  In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model? I think those who have been in the industry as the ones to help those coming into licensing.  I'm quite jealous of the mentorship program being implemented. Though I was blessed with many in ICLA that reached out to me and welcomed me and let me know they were a phone call away at anytime.  Proof of such a great organization.

12)  How has your involvement with ICLA influenced your career? Honestly, when I started with the university working in licensing, I had no idea the true career path that could and would lie ahead for me.  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 of ICLA.

13)  What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career in licensing? I learned from my predecessor and I'm blessed with institutional support within athletics and from the university, as well as a relationship with our licensing agent, LRG, and the support they give me. 

14)  What challenges do you face when working with students or vendors? The biggest challenge with students is getting to them to educate about our brand, and then the turnover.   Vendors, communication.  Our artwork systems are great to send messages, but many times I try to pick up the phone and have a quick conversation with them because it helps to have an interactive conversation for moving forward.  So it comes down to relationships, always working to improve and build more relationships.

15)  Please explain a professional success and how you implemented it? In an effort to help "move the needle" more on our royalties we did a retail ticket promotion tying into the football ticket promotion, "This Family Wears Purple."  We offered this to retailers in which ten different retailers participated, that included 29 locations.  If fans purchased $50 in merchandise they could get two tickets discounted.  In a season when we have had no problem selling football tickets, it was a great opportunity for the retailers and fans to have this option.  We saw about a four percent return of tickets purchased from the number of vouchers that went out, so a success in my mind.

16)  In your opinion, where is collegiate licensing headed in the future? Solid branding.  Many have done this; some are starting to work on it.  It is something that we have been working on very diligently here at K-State in the past couple of years.  With a solid brand and guidelines to follow, you strengthen your brand and that is translated into product and seen nationally.

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 intercollegiate athletics?  "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.  It was a large ordeal, that along with our agency LRG's assistance I believe 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? How do you maintain balance between your professional and personal life? My office hours are pretty set.  Technology allows me to do work from home as needed and stay connected.  With doing work from home, I try to be sure I have time carved out for my son.  If possible I try to work super early in the morning or after he's in bed so he doesn't feel cheated of time with me.

20)  What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming Winter Symposium in Dallas? That is a quick and easy flight from Manhattan to Dallas!   I'm most looking forward to connecting with colleagues and always look forward to seeing what educational opportunities we'll have.