Former College Rower Moves Upstream In Sports Industry

“Never wish for it more than you work for it.” 

That motto is the first thing you see on Gianina Thompson’s website and it’s something she has lived by for pretty much all her life.

She was a rower at Old Dominion University and earned both her undergraduate and Master’s degrees by the time she turned 21-years-old. By the time she was 26, Thompson was a senior publicist at ESPN.

“Being a seasoned professional is not about age,” she told Forbes magazine. “It’s about hustle, grind, determination, and creativity.”

Thompson used her creativity, work ethic, and passion to land her next big job as a communication specialist and influencer at Converse. She says she’s proud of what she’s accomplished and who she is.

“I take pride in being a black woman, especially with living role models like Michelle Obama and the many unsung heroes who have fed positive storylines of what a black woman can do,  instead of what she can’t do,” she told Black Enterprise. “It gives me motivation that there’s no limit and that’s been my driving force to not dwell on any barriers, obstacles, or unfairness. You can either be a victim or a victor and I choose to make anything seeming like a setback into a set-up.”


Thompson says there are many challenges for women in the sports industry, but it’s important to stay focused on the job and what’s really important.

“Every ‘no’ won’t make sense, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong or have to change your goals,” she told Goalposte. “Celebrate every accomplishment and don’t gloss over it because you are so focused on your next chapter. Enjoy those moments because they don’t come for free. You need them to help you get through the challenges and serve as motivation.”

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