KISH: Tell us about you..
I am an award-winning sports manager, best-selling author, and former professional basketball player. I run The Athlete’s Nexus, where I manage, advise, and create professional development programming solutions for athletes. I am also a business and branding consultant for entrepreneurs. For more than 15 years, I have devoted my life work to the sports industry and sought ways to improve the way that we support our elite athletes. As a Black woman in sports, it is my responsibility to use my expertise to move the game forward.
I also take pride in being an involved mother. I have two precious children, Tyson & Tatum. Sometimes, it is difficult to balance motherhood and career, but I know that God is the sole reason for my strength. I’m an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and I support girls basketball through my fund – The Tywanna Inmon-Smith Charitable Fund. Lastly, I am a doctoral student at The University of Memphis where my research focus is student-athlete development.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
Tywanna: My dream is to drive solutions to improve the way that we support athletes…the way that we educate them, empower them, and prepare them for life beyond sports. I hope to humanize their educational and developmental experiences, where they are recognized as people, students, and learners in need of support. Because athletics play such a prominent role in the Black community, I believe that competitive sports are powerful tools to enhance our culture.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
Tywanna: My biggest inspiration for this dream has been all 50+ of my NBA, NFL, WNBA, and international clients who have shared their dreams, needs, and fears with me. My inspiration for this dream has also been all of the young men and men who have trusted my advice and mentorship in matters of finance, business, and life. Without their transparency, God could not have cultivated this dream to challenge ideals and make lives better.
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?
Tywanna: One challenge I have faced is to navigate this business as a Black mother in a male-dominated sports industry. Sometimes, being a mother in a leadership position is frowned upon, because people assume that you cannot lead without distraction. For 15 years, I have proven those critics wrong by growing a successful sports management business as a very involved and present mother.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?
Tywanna: I am inspired daily by my family. Sports are a part of my DNA. My cousin, Marcus Brown, played in the NBA and in Europe. He exposed me to and taught me a lot about this business. As my mentor, he continues to inspire me to lead this charge in sports – despite the challenges as a Black woman in sports.
My parents instilled determination in me; my children are my legacy. I am wired to move forward and upward as a woman of God. There is no quit in me! I am committed to doing my part to change the way we play this game for the better.
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.
Tywanna: Dream authentically. Your dream should be true to YOU and your passion. Your motivation is the key to propelling you toward your dreams and making those dreams your reality.