We had the good fortune of connecting with Clarence Hughes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Clarence, how do you think about risk?
I think about risk naturally bringing fear into the mindset of an individual. I also think risks are necessary if an individual wants to have a successful life. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to have a successful life by staying comfortable and going with the flow of things, but taking risk only ups your chances for that success we all like to say we want in this life. Taking risks has drastically changed my life working in the very impacted sports industry. Starting out working 6 part time jobs in sports simultaneously is a risk itself let alone being in school full time while doing so. That then led to the opportunity for me to accept a full time job opportunity in another state that I had never even visited before. To make a long story short, taking that risk alone has put me in a position where I’m gaining experience I may not have had access too spreading myself very thin across multiple jobs.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I currently am the Marketing Coordinator for USA Volleyball here in Colorado Springs, CO. I take the lead on numerous strategic plans and project management tasks that I delegate to my amazing team to see these tasks through for different departments and external stakeholders involved with USA Volleyball. I am also involved with many Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts that the organization is developing which means a lot to me being the only Black man working for USAV at right now. Representation matters and volleyball is a sport I’ve played for a long time and continue to play now so to be part of this bigger picture of change means more than they could ever know. I am also a co-host of our new podcast called the USA Volleyball Show! Where myself and my co-host talk all things volleyball with our Olympic and Paralympic players while also getting to know who they are off the court!
All this has been possible because of the unique route I’ve taken in the sports industry while I was completing my undergrad. I have had many small time roles and opportunities working for (in order) the LA Galaxy, Sparks, Kings, Clippers, Lakers and even the Wildcats while the XFL season was going on. These roles were very different from eachother. I would throw T-Shirts for the Galaxy, skate on ice for the Kings, stage manage and host for the Sparks, set up sponsorship suites for the Clippers and help execute media day for the Lakers.
Holding multiple jobs for different organizations has its challenges but also has its rewards that I’m still in pursuit when it comes to that bigger picture of success but if I’ve learned anything from this journey up until now it is pay everything forward to the next person you see grinding and seeking that same success you are. I believe that if I can make that journey for an indivdual that much more better and put a smile on their face while doing it, then I’m leaving behind a rep that I can be proud of.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh man this is definitely going to be LA based haha.
If my best friend was visiting, the first place we’d go is to eat at The Boiling Crab (Because I LOVE seafood! lol) Then we’d definitely have to hit the beach on a beautiful LA day where we’d play volleyball, relax, drink responsibly, have a bonfire and so on. From there we have to take a trip down to 2nd street in Long Beach and have some fun at a few places there! (Shout out to Panama Joes haha) Then depending on which season we’re in, definitely take the time to go to a Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks or Galaxy game because sports are a MUST if you’re in LA. That evening it’d be wrong NOT to check out the Arts District in the deeper LA area where there’s street art everywhere, breweries and really good restaurants all walking distance from eachother.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to shoutout one of my most influential mentors working in sports. Danelle Winfield, The Senior Director of Game Operations, Entertainment and Promotions for the Los Angeles Sparks. Danelle brought me on as a Game Operations Intern in 2017. She really helped shape the bigger picture of game entertainment and how that could lead to a fun/successful career in the long run. I had opportunities to stage manage, create game day run of shows, PA Announcer/In-Arena Host scripts, and assist with many other administrative aspects of the game that most interns don’t really have access to. The story doesn’t stop there as I was also given the opportunity to actually be the In-Arena host for a few games the following 2017 season which is an interesting story itself! I was an MC/Host for a themed show at Six Flags Magic Mountain during my first year as an intern and I would always mention being ready to hop on the mic if I was ever needed. Danelle would joking laugh and say yeah sure lol. Then as the next season approached, she actually gave me the opportunity to show what I could do and the rest was history! To this day I’ll always be thankful for that opportunity that has led to many more on the mic opportunities in my career in sports.