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Lindsay McCormick: From Sports Broadcaster to Tech Investor

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There's no doubt that women are still facing the challenges of stereotypes, especially when you're a woman in a male-dominated industry. Transitioning from sports to tech, Lindsay McCormick successfully proves that women can break the traditional workplace roles.


McCormick is a sports broadcaster whose career has taken her from hosting live events for the Super Bowl XLIX to being a guest correspondent for Showtime. Now, she is taking over the world of tech as an investor on Elevator Pitch. We sat down with McCormick to chat about the challenges and successes she faces in her career, and the impact of being a female in a male-dominated industry.

1. From your experience and success in the field of sports broadcasting, what did you learn about the traditional roles of female broadcasting? How are you challenging those roles?

When I started out over a decade ago, female sports broadcasters were few and far between. Women were typically relegated within the confines of just a few roles (sideline reporters, for instance). As time has progressed, I've been thrilled to see qualified women take on all kinds of new opportunities, from play-by-play announcers to color commentators, to personality-based talk shows.

2. Can you share a specific moment, anecdote, where you experienced sexism? How did you react, and overcome it? (Many women don't know how to react in these situations because of fear of losing their job or opportunities, our audience would love your tips and advice on this).

One example would be when an NFL Network exec asked me during an interview if I would get “knocked up," implying my child-bearing capabilities were a downside of him hiring me. While I certainly don't have the “perfect" or all-encompassing advice for any scenario, my general advice would be to not let disheartening moments like this deter you. Keep your head up and stay in the game! It's also worth noting that some of my worst incidents of workplace harassment came from women, who sadly wanted to eek out their feminine competition rather than help us up through the ranks.

3. Being in male-dominated industries, do you think women are still judged by their appearance instead of their achievements? How can we change this outdated narrative?

I think anyone on TV is judged by their appearance, hence why even men can spend hours in hair and makeup. Are women judged harsher? Yes. I'm not sure this will change anytime soon.

4. What inspired you to leave the sports world to build an impressive tech resume and judge Elevator Pitch with Entrepreneur?

I don't view it as leaving the sports world, as the two are starting to go hand-in-hand. Look at how big e-sports are becoming! I was fortunate that Ray Brown, executive producer of a movie I was in, “The Bounce Back," introduced me to Trevor Doerksen, CEO of ePlay Digital, who is launching Big Shot (essentially the sports version of Pokemon Go). I'm grateful that Trevor wanted Robert Horry and me to tag along on the ride as advisors and in-game avatars. This is how I first got involved with the world of tech.

5. What are some of the challenges you had to overcome to succeed and thrive in the tech world? Are they somewhat similar to what you encountered in the sports world?

When I first started in sports, you could count the number of women on television on one hand, and everyone knew their names: Robin Roberts, Suzy Kolber, Linda Cohn, Lisa Salters. I can't tell you how many job interviews I went on where employers would flat out say, “You are too young," or “Prove your sports knowledge to us. Male viewers won't believe a woman understands the game." I felt that with every interview, I had to go in as David against a Goliath of female stereotypes. That being said, I've found the tech world—and business in general right now—to be quite receptive to working with women. Much of this newfound openness may be cynically tagged as a desperate correction to the #metoo movement, but that's fine! It's up to women to take advantage of the new opportunities!

6. Give us some tips and tricks to build an unshakable confidence.
Figure out your purpose and zone out the rest. Be passionate, but don't hold things so tightly. When you focus on the process rather than the outcome, things tend to fall into place. As I've entered my 30s, I've tried to stress less about every new career twist and turn. While my family, my health, and helping other people, have taken priority. I couldn't be more happy with my career options.

Photo courtesy of lindsaymccormick.com

7. As an investor, what do you look for in startups and founders? How does a founder or an idea get your attention?

The first thing I look for is a strong work ethic and passion for their product or service. Secondly, do they have experience in the marketplace? It's always more comforting to invest in someone who has had previous success, but I'm also open to those with less experience.

8. What's next for you and how will you be using your success and story to uplift and support other women?

Great question! I've loved my work with Entrepreneur Magazine, and I hope to continue that relationship while expanding my own business ventures. As always, my health, family, and close relationships are held dearer than any job. Every woman should forge her own path, but I'm beyond thrilled if anything I've done has served as example or inspiration.
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Fresh Voices

My Unfiltered Struggle of Introducing a Product to a Neglected Market

Sweaty Palms & Weak Responses

Early spring 2018, I walked into the building of a startup accelerator program I had been accepted into. Armed with only confidence and a genius idea, I was eager to start level one. I had no idea of what to expect, but I knew I needed help. Somehow with life's journey of twists and turns, this former successful event planner was now about to blindly walk into the tech industry and tackle on a problem that too many women entrepreneurs had faced.


I sat directly across from the program founders, smiling ear to ear as I explained the then concept for HerHeadquarters. Underneath the table, I rubbed my sweaty palms on my pants, the anxiousness and excitement was getting the best of me. I rambled on and on about the future collaborating app for women entrepreneurs and all the features it would have. They finally stopped me, asking the one question I had never been asked before, "how do you know your target audience even wants this product?".

Taken back by the question, I responded, "I just know". The question was powerful, but my response was weak. While passionate and eager, I was unprepared and naively ready to commit to building a platform when I had no idea if anyone wanted it. They assigned me with the task of validating the need for the platform first. The months to follow were eye-opening and frustrating, but planted seeds for the knowledge that would later build the foundation for HerHeadquarters. I spent months researching and validating through hundreds of surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

I was dedicated to knowing and understanding the needs and challenges of my audience. I knew early on that having a national collaborating app for women entrepreneurs would mean that I'd need to get feedback from women all across the country. I repeatedly put myself on the line by reaching out to strangers, asking them to speak with me. While many took the time to complete a survey and participate in a phone interview, there were some who ignored me, some asked what was in it for them, and a few suggested that I was wasting my time in general. They didn't need another "just for women" platform just because it was trending.

I hadn't expected pushback, specifically from the women I genuinely wanted to serve. I became irritated. Just because HerHeadquarters didn't resonate with them, doesn't mean that another woman wouldn't find value in the platform and love it. I felt frustrated that the very women I was trying to support were the ones telling me to quit. I struggled with not taking things personally.

I hadn't expected pushback, specifically from the women I genuinely wanted to serve.

The Validation, The Neglect, The Data, and The Irony

The more women I talked to, the more the need for my product was validated. The majority of women entrepreneurs in the industries I was targeting did collaborate. An even higher number of women experienced several obstacles in securing those collaborations and yes, they wanted easier access to high quality brand partnerships.

I didn't just want to launch an app. I wanted to change the image of women who collaborated and adjust the narrative of these women. I was excited to introduce a new technology product that would change the way women secured valuable, rewarding products. I couldn't believe that despite that rising number of women-owned businesses launching, there was no tool catered to them allowing them to grow their business even faster. This demographic had been neglected for too long.

I hadn't just validated the need for the future platform, but I gained valuable data that could be used as leverage. Ironically, armed with confidence, a genius idea, and data to support the need for the platform, I felt stuck. The next steps were to begin designing a prototype, I lacked the skillsets to do it myself and the funding to hire someone else to do it.

I Desperately Need You and Your services, but I'm Broke

I found myself having to put myself out there again, allowing myself to be vulnerable and ask for help. I eventually stumbled across Bianca, a talented UX/UI designer. After coming across her profile online and reaching out, we agreed to meet for a happy hour. The question I had been asked months prior by the founders of my accelerator program came up again, "how do you know your target audience even wants this product?".

It was like déjà vu, the sweaty palms under the table reemerged and the ear to ear smile as I talked about HerHeadquarters, only this time, I had data. I proudly showed Bianca my research: the list of women from across the country I talked to that supported that not only was this platform solving a problem they had, but it's a product that they'd use and pay for.

I remember my confidence dropping as my transparency came into the conversation. How do you tell someone "I desperately need you and your services, but I'm broke?". I told her that I was stuck, that I needed to move forward with design, but that I didn't have the money to make it happen. Bianca respected my honesty, loved the vision of HerHeadquarters, but mostly importantly the data sold her. She believed in me, she believed in the product, and knew that it would attract investors.

From Paper to Digital

We reached a payment agreed where Bianca would be paid in full once HerHeadquarters received its first investment deal. The next few months were an all-time high for me. Seeing an idea that once floated around in my head make its way to paper, then transform into a digital prototype is was one of the highlights of this journey. Shortly after, we began user testing, making further adjustments based off of feedback.

The further along HerHeadquarters became, the more traction we made. Women entrepreneurs across the U.S. were signing up for early access to the app, we were catching investor's attention, and securing brand partnerships all before we had a launched product. The closer we got to launching, the scarier it was. People who only had a surface value introduction to HerHeadquarters put us in the same category of other platforms or brands catering to women, even if we were completely unrelated, they just heard "for women". I felt consistent pressure, most of which was self-applied, but I still felt it.

I became obsessed with all things HerHeadquarters. My biggest fear was launching and disappointing my users. With a national target audience, a nonexistent marketing budget, and many misconceptions regarding collaborating, I didn't know how to introduce this new brand in a way that distinctly made it clear who were targeting and who we were different from.

I second guessed myself all the time.

A 'Submit' button has never in life been more intimidating. In May 2019, HerHeadquarters was submitted to the Apple and Google play stores and released to women entrepreneurs in select U.S. cities. We've consistently grown our user base and seen amazing collaborations take place. I've grow and learned valuable lessons about myself personally and as a leader. This experience has taught me to trust my journey, trust my hard work, and always let honesty and integrity lead me. I had to give myself permission to make mistakes and not beat myself up about it.

I learned that a hundred "no's" is better than one "yes" from an unfit partner. The most valuable thing that I've learned is keeping my users first. Their feedback, their challenges, and suggestions are valuable and set the pace for the future of HerHeadquarters, as a product and a company. I consider it an honor to serve and cater to one of the most neglected markets in the industry.