Getting cozy with...
Ann Rodriguez: Sports Industry Leader
At Slumbr, we love learning about passionate people who live life to the fullest, while still prioritizing their sleep. Meet Ann Rodriguez -- a trailblazer in U.S. soccer, business strategist and general kickass person. Ann began her career with the women’s professional soccer team, the Washington Freedom, and also worked with the Oakland A’s organization to bring the men’s professional soccer team, the San Jose Earthquakes, back to the Bay Area. Today, Ann is the one of the few female executives in Major League Soccer and is a Vice President of Business Operations for the soon-to-be-launched expansion team, the Atlanta United FC. Between all that, she spent over 5 years as a director of strategy and marketing at athletic apparel giant, Under Armour.
If you couldn’t tell already, Ann loves sports and keeps active as an avid hiker, biker and runner. This former Princeton lacrosse champ and Stanford MBA now calls Atlanta home, but travels extensively -- from exotic locales to her hometown for family visits (and to see her “fur brother” horse Teddy). All this, and she still manages to get plenty of shuteye every night!
We asked Ann to share her advice about success and living well. Here’s Ann in her own words.
Given all you’ve known and experienced in life thus far, what does success look like to you?
Success is an active, balanced life, with good health, rewarding engagement outside of work (family life, hobbies, community activities), and a career where you are intellectually challenged, inspired and supported.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
No matter what your age, pay attention to your health and wellness. If you don’t have your health, you may never accomplish the things you want to, in your career or in your personal life. Keep up with regular checkups, deal with injuries, and do your best to identify and address bad health habits as soon as you catch them. Invest early on in preventative care, its far easier (and cheaper) than dealing with ingrained habits and issues later in life.
What’s cool about your job?
When you work for a pro sports team, you have the privilege of bringing people together and providing inspiration, entertainment, and positive energy to the fans and the community. It’s so cool when you can introduce a young fan to their heroes, celebrate a goal or a win together, contribute to a community project, and support up-and-coming players who will be future pros.
What’s your best advice for keeping healthy and well?
Set goals around your personal health, just like you would in your career. Make it a priority and accept that a healthy, well-rested you is the best you. Take care of yourself and you will certainly reap benefits in your personal and professional lives.
How does sleep fit into your life?
Sleep is critical to my success. If I don’t sleep, I’m a different person – I feel far more stressed, eat poorly, make poorer decisions and it is generally an unproductive cycle.
What are your best tips for prioritizing sleep?
I’m intentional about my schedule in order to allow time for enough rest. My industry has a lot of evening and weekend events so I need to be careful what professional and personal commitments I accept so that I still have time to rest and recharge. Also, diet and exercise play a big role in getting good rest. I try to exercise for 30-60 minutes a day and limit caffeine and alcohol, as they tend to disrupt my sleep.