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20 Questions with Kamesha Hill

Nov. 26, 2013

Name: Kamesha Hill

Position/Institution: Jackson State University

Number of years in your position: 8 - Contracts Compliance Specialist; 6 months - Interim Director of Contractual Services

Hometown: Glendora, MS

1) Why did you become involved in ICLA?
I became involved in ICLA to learn more about Trademark & Licensing and the various practices and other Universities, in hopes to enhance the program and licensed merchandise for Jackson State University.

2) What is your favorite part about being a member of ICLA?
My favorite part of being a member of ICLA is the relationships established with various people in the industry, whether collegiate or retail.

3) What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
The biggest challenge to working in a University environment is the many silos. As it relates to relating with the students on campus, you have to be a chameleon to adapt to the current generation and trends of students and learn what motivates them and how to push them to get the most and best out of them. In addition to working in a university environment, you have to be an all around diverse person and have to be able to adapt to the administration and in several cases a change in administration.

4) What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishments to date are my ability to protect and continue JSU's upward trend in royalty revenue while also focusing on enforcement and brand protection.

5) What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
The most important skill I have developed in my career is time management. I have also learned how to provide assistance to others.

6) Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Of course all respect goes to God who is the center of all that I do. The most influential person in my career is my mom. She is my rock! She is always eager to hear about the various challenges my work day brings and provides daily words of encouragement.

7) What is one item you cannot live without?
I can't live without my Smartphone.

8) Who would you choose to switch places with for a day?
There are numerous people I admire and collegiate programs I am fascinated with but I wouldn't change places with anyone. No day is the same and even though my job consists of more than Trademark & Licensing, I love every aspect of my job. The most influential piece of my job is community service with the Tiger football team at the various schools, hospitals and nursing homes we visit.

9) What is your favorite sporting event that you have ever attended?
My favorite sporting event I have attended thus far was the MLB game during the 2012 NACDA Summer Convention in Dallas with my ICLA peers.

10) Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate licensing?
As a junior in college my work study job was in the Business & Finance office which oversaw the Trademark & Licensing program. The fulfillment of increasing awareness of your institution and seeing the merchandise you approved/reviewed whether in stores or supporters wearing during collegiate competition, etc. was a determining factor for me to pursue a career in collegiate licensing. Several years after graduating and while working on the campus, the position of Contracts Specialist became available and I applied and was awarded the job and here I am eight (8) years in.

11) In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
It is hard to choose just one person in the industry to serve as a role model. Since being in ICLA I have met so many wonderful people. Robin Cooper is a jewel. She is so caring and helpful. Marty Ludwig, Shane Hinckley and Dale Arens are awesome! The list goes on but a person that stands out to me every time I think of the Winter Symposium and Summer Convention is Ryan Virtue. From his days as an intern to now he has always worked hard and is always around and willing to help. As hard as he works he never complains and always wears a smile. We are lucky to have Ryan as a lead in ICLA.

12) How has your involvement with ICLA influenced your career?
My involvement with ICLA has influenced me to become more active at conferences and conventions. ICLA has provided me with countless contacts and friends to call and email as needed for guidance. I have become a better leader because of ICLA.

13) What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career in licensing?
My studies in both degrees Business Administration and Public Policy & Administration, which covered courses in policy making, marketing, legal practices, human resources, contracts etc., prepared me for a career in licensing. My business experience as a Contracts Specialist and the involvement with different people has prepared me for the interactions that I encounter with vendors and licensees.

14) What challenges do you face when working with students or vendors?
The challenges faced when working with students are as challenging as when working with vendors. With students, most have not quite grasped the concept that things are bigger than they are. When working with both groups you have to be diverse and have people skills. Both groups sometimes focus only on themselves. Trademark & Licensing personnel have to serve as the liaison between all parties involved and ensure the University is properly represented by approving items that are reasonably priced and appealing to the students to generate revenues for the vendors and the University.

15) Would you please explain a professional success and how you implemented it?
A professional success I have implemented is the partnership between Jackson State University and Strategic Marketing Affiliates (SMA). This partnership is a successful one, because, like other vendors, licensees and sponsors that Contractual Services partners with, they are truly dedicated to the best interest of the trademark and licensing industry and the brand recognition and growth of Jackson State University. This success was implemented by the signing of the agreement and the willingness of all parties to work together and trust each other's suggestions, actions, etc. We have an open line of communication and they have been adopted as a family member to the JSU tradition.

16) In your opinion, where is collegiate licensing headed in the future?
In the future, Collegiate Licensing is headed to being number one in the ranks of the licensing industry surpassing MLB licensed merchandise sales. As all collegiate conferences become more competitive in sports and academia and the consistent recognition and acceptance of trends, derailing from the traditional college logos and merchandise, collegiate licensing is providing sports enthusiasts and fashion savvy fans with more and more options of apparel and merchandise, thus driving revenues up regardless of the economic standings of the country.

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?
The best piece of advice I have received is don't let your pride get in the way of your maturity. The advice I would give to someone looking to enter the field of intercollegiate athletics is to keep an open mind because adjusting and adjustments will have to be made. The athletes are your children once they choose to attend your University and you have to keep their best interests at heart. At the end of the day they are someone's child; they are young men and women and they are students.

18) What was your biggest professional failure/mistake and how did you learn from it?
My biggest professional mistake was not completing the Staff Leadership Institute, the University's eight (8) week staff developmental program to strengthen and build leadership skills. I was chosen as a participant in the second cohort and attended all sessions but was unable to participate in the final project presentation, due to an emergency work related project of assisting with the completion of housing for the University overflow of students for the 2013-2014 school year. I received a wealth of knowledge as it relates to leadership that I was able to implement in assisting with the completion of alternative housing for the overflow of students.

19) What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office? How do you maintain balance between your professional and personal life?
My work week various from week to week. The percentage of my work-week spent in my office varies between 90%-95%. I have been married to Trademark & Licensing for eight (8) years. With any marriage it takes work. I have successfully obtained a slight balance between my professional and personal life. However, I love to shop and this passion helps because I am able to visit various stores that may or may not carry JSU items and inquire about sales and obtain fashion styles for other merchandise. Where the road gets narrow between my professional and personal life is when I take time off or I am off for holidays or weekends and I have to approve artwork. If artwork is not reviewed in a timely manner, I am stalling on generating revenue and that is unacceptable.

20) What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming Winter Symposium in Dallas?
I am most looking forward to attending the upcoming Winter Symposium in Dallas to attend the sessions covering the trending topics that collegiate licensing programs are faced with as well as sharing dialogue with colleges about the challenges faced by each University.