Watchen Nyanue is the vice president of marketing partnerships at Chicago Sky, the record-breaking women’s professional basketball team. Watchen is a marketing and business development expert from Liberia, who now resides in Illinois. She is responsible for managing the sponsorship team, the game operations team and the foundation at the Chicago Sky.
Prior to joining the team, Watchen co-founded Little Doebahyou, a brand that creates activities to educate children on the history and culture of Africa and the diaspora. Watchen’s career path includes previous roles at Comedy Central, Hearst Digital, Yahoo! and Johnson Publishing Company, working in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
When she isn’t immersed in her career, Watchen is active in the community and serves as a volunteer for the NextGen group of UNICEF, The Posse Foundation, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication from DePauw University and is an alumna of The Posse Foundation.
I received my undergraduate degree from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and I’m currently working towards my MBA at University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
MY FIRST JOB
My first job was as a junior camp counselor, the summer before seventh grade. I assisted the camp counselors with camp activities like games, arts and crafts.
MY FIRST BIG CAREER BREAK
I went to college on a scholarship from the Posse Foundation. After college I moved to Los Angeles without a job or a confirmed place to live.
I knew shortly early after arriving in LA that I would not be there long term. Because I’d maintained great relationships with the team at Posse, I contacted them to ask if they had any relationships with people that worked in entertainment in New York. I was fortunate that the president of Comedy Central, at the time, was a member of the board of Posse.
We were connected and got my first adult job, in my opinion. That opportunity has been a blessing both personally and professionally.MY TYPICAL WORKING DAY
When I’m not in meetings with corporate executives to discuss why they should invest in the Sky, I am solving problems, which I love. Because the teams that I manage do such different things, I get to use and develop different skillsets throughout each day.
I’m working on a Guinness Book of World Records event. It’s to break the record that Kevin Durant currently holds for the world’s largest multi-venue basketball clinic.
When I’m not working I love to read or walk along the lake. Open bodies of water are really calming for me. I try and get out to the lake with a book as often as I can.
WORK DAY ESSENTIALS
I cannot live without my calendar. If it’s not on my calendar, it does not exist.
My younger sister Williette inspires me. She is one of the wisest and kindest people I know. She’s just amazing and I could talk about her all day.
I’m really good with people, which is something that I didn’t think was a talent when I was growing up, because it’s not a tangible like singing or dancing. For some reason I’m able to find points of connection with most people easily and make them feel at ease, which I think is a gift.
BEST CAREER ADVICE
Nothing is permanent so celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes, but don’t let either stop you from moving forward. I tend to be someone who gets stuck in my head a lot, and can become overwhelmed, even if you can’t tell externally. This has helped me push forward regardless of the results of the actions I take.
MY BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT
My biggest achievement was launching a company with my younger sister.
I’m actually trying to stop looking so far ahead that I forget to appreciate the present moment. But, one thing that I’m working on that has been a fun blessing is a podcast for black women in corporate America called I Choose the Ladder. The podcast will be available after Labor Day.
I LOVE WHAT I DO BECAUSE…
I’m helping ensure if girls want to play basketball professionally, that there is a place for them to do that.
Interview by Octavia Goredema
Octavia Goredema is an award winning career coach, writer and the founder of Twenty Ten Talent. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or over on Twitter.