Meet the Director of our Talent division
Describe your career in 5 words.
“Your network’s your net worth”
You’re the Director of our Talent team at CSM, and you’ve been in the talent management field for more than 15 years. From the emergence of social media, to the rise of the athlete’s voice – a lot has happened in that period. What is the biggest change you’ve seen over that time with regards to the work you do?
Since I started 18 years ago, technology has transformed the way we do our job and the environment we operate in. The advent and rise of social media has obviously been a huge factor in that. Talent no longer require traditional media or their clubs to tell their story, and they are very much able to shape their own narrative. This has been incredibly empowering for them, and we see now the prevalence of athlete-publishers who are able to aggregate and commercialise their rights in a way that would have been inconceivable back in 2004.
Equally, brands and rights holders have become much more sophisticated in their deployment of technology in determining what they’re looking for in the talent they engage, or how they use their assets. The days of commercial deal arising on the back of purely sporting merit or gut sentiment are largely consigned to the past, so we work with our talent to ensure they nurture and evolve their off-field identity and digital footprint in the same way they might focus their energies on performing on the pitch or stage.
In the world of elite sporting performance, athletes have continued to embrace technology in ensuring they extract all they can from their careers. Equally, the use of data and advanced analytics has revolutionised the way clubs and teams identify and recruit athletes. From an agent’s perspective, whilst relationships continue to be key, we have had to adapt our techniques to mirror the environment we operate in. It’s a far cry from shoving some branded DVDs in the post!
You and your team represent a number of leading athletes across a range of sports, so you must have been involved in some memorable campaigns. Is there a particular moment from your career that stands out proudly above the rest?
I’ve been lucky to be involved in some incredible talent campaigns over the years and the commercial element to being an agent is something that I’ve always enjoyed. But if I’m being honest, the moments I most cherish are those that take me back to the original reason I entered the industry in the first place: being there when your client is performing at the highest level on the field.
A couple of moments will live long in my memory: watching Leigh Halfpenny claim Man of The Series as the British & Irish Lions claimed the series in Sydney was really special. He won everything there was to win that year (even coming runner up to Andy Murray at SPOTY), and it was a special time in both our careers as we shared in his success on and off the field. And then in 2019, watching on at Lords as England won the ODI Cricket World Cup, and joining my client Jonny Bairstow on the pitch for the celebrations after was something I’ll not forget in a hurry.
You recently began working alongside Barcelona and Netherlands star, Memphis Depay, and you’ve also signed a couple of emerging music artists. Tell us a little bit about that… was it a plan to diversify the roster a little, and what other exciting things have you got coming up?
Definitely. We’ve evolved over the last few years to become a genuinely multi-faceted, multi-discipline talent agency. Whilst retaining our leading market positions in our traditional disciplines of rugby and cricket, we felt the opportunity existed to branch out in to other sports, provide a broader range of services to brands and rights holders, and even transfer our skill sets to talent from areas we’d previously been less active, particularly music and entertainment.
Sitting alongside our traditional 360° management service, we also work with some talent exclusively on their commercial activities, bringing to bear all the brand expertise and relationships we’re lucky to call upon at CSM. We also have a thriving talent procurement and commercial brokerage operation, where we work with talent and brands or rights holders to broker meaningful commercial partnerships or collaborations. Ultimately, whilst each industry or sport has its nuances, talent is talent, and we are able to leverage our experience and expertise and tailor our offering to the specific individual.
Football in particular is a strategic focus for CSM, and having signed a global star in Memphis, you can expect to see us increasingly active in this space.
When not at work, what would we find you doing?
Being an agent is an all-consuming profession, so you’ll mostly find me trying to make up time with the family! I’m also an incurable runner so whenever and wherever I can I’ll be out pounding the pavements and indulging my love of podcasts.