November 11, 2019

San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors ex-head of philanthropy and community relations, Joanne Pasternack, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss the power of athletes and sports to improve the world

San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors ex-head of philanthropy and community relations, Joanne Pasternack, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss the power of athletes and sports to improve the world.

 

The conversation is wide-raging, from Joanne’s initial foray into figure skating and her introduction to the Special Olympics when she was just 14 years old, to her work leading the philanthropy and community relations and outreach at the San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors – two of America’s best known professional football (National Football League – NFL) and basketball (National Basketball Association – NBA) teams.

 

We discuss philanthropic engagement at the individual level, the team level and the league level and explore specific case studies, such as an instance when the San Francisco 49ers worked closely with the New Orleans Saints following a devastating natural disaster in Louisiana.

 

We hear of individual players who demonstrate high degrees of generosity. Joanne mentioned Kevin Durant – a world-class basketball player – who donated $10m to create an after school education program in his hometown outside Washington DC.

 

She also sheds light on a partnership she worked on between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chevron Corporation to build out a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) leadership institute at a local school near the 49ers’ stadium. 

 

There is a need to ensure the right alignment between personal philanthropic preferences and engagement in the most appropriate thematic areas.  Fleshing out what is important to someone and exploring how they can leverage things to improve the world in that specific area is an important task, which gets explored during this episode as well.

 

Professional athletes are unique in many respects. Many achieve great notoriety and wealth at a very young age. They tend to have a short shelf life at top-level sports and, then, need to adapt to their post-career life accordingly. This can be very challenging – a topic Joanne sheds light on within the context of professional basketball and American football.

 

Joanne’s key takeaway: she focuses on the power of listening to what others have to say.  ‘Listen’ … just listen.  She let’s us know that her personal mantra is: find a way to say ‘Yes’.  It’s easy to come up with excuses of why you can’t do something.  So, where possible, find a way to say Yes.  And, if you have to say ‘No’, don’t just say no. Instead, say ‘No but’… here’s another resource for you or, No, but here’s a way that we can help.

 

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