Galen Gordon: The Truth About Knowing What You're Good At

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Galen Gordon is the Vice President of Talent Management at NFL. He is in charge of on air talent and he has 68 people under his purview. Galen previously worked for ESPN where he helped rebrand shows like First Take, Numbers Never Lie, The Stephen A. Smith Show, Sports Center: Coast to Coast, amongst others. Prior to working at ESPN, he was a news network producer working at ABC and NBC. He also spent three years at CNN. Galen got his Mass Communication degree from Oral Roberts University.

Timestamped Show Notes

[3:39] Everyone is blessed with certain gifts and abilities. Initially, Galen could not really tell what his ability and gift was. His first job an internship writing for a newspaper and two months after graduation he was hired as an associate producer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The intent of the news director was to make him a reporter but he sat next to producers and learned how to write for television. He quickly learned that his personality is more for managing the whole thing as opposed to having one aspect like that of a reporter. Production was a natural fit for his demeanor. It took him over two years of trying different things in order to hone in on what exactly he wanted to do.

[10:41] Over the last four years, Galen has dealt with a lot of loss. Losing both parents and a second child within that time frame. He was able to learn, through each event, that he has the ability to manage through and make sure others are okay. Galen puts others first before himself. In doing all of that, one has to take time and acknowledge what is going on and to deal with it. When his wife lost their child through still birth, he held the child, spent time with the child and acknowledged that he had passed away. He said goodbye and supported his wife throughout the ordeal. For Galen, it was a release that needed to happen. At the same time, he does not question God because he has been blessed in so many other ways. There is always a bigger cause and people need to keep on moving despite everything.

[17:24] Galen's mom experienced loss at the age of three when her dad passed away. Then when she was fourteen, she lost her mother. She put herself through nursing school in England and when she finished, she took a boat from England to Canada where she started working as a nurse. From Canada, she went to Brooklyn where she met Galen's dad. She named Galen after the first doctor. Galen's mom was very rooted in her faith and in her own ability to pull herself up by the bootstrap and make something for her family. She lived her life for God and her family and therefore Galen has no excuse not to maximize the God-given abilities placed upon him. Galen continues to work hard and to learn new things every day. He believes that serving other is the price he pays for living on earth.

[22:00] Galen graduated in 1994 and it was not until the summer of 1995 that he attended The National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ. He attended the conference in Philadelphia. There were more than 2,000 African American journalists who held roles that Galen aspired to hold. He immediately identified mentors and people that could speak directly into his life and guide him. Later on when he had figured out he wanted to a producer, he started going to NABJ. NABJ, his friends and the mentors that Galen had, were there every step of the way. He now mentors and guides upcoming journalists.

[25:57] Between 1994 to 2003, Galen was doing local news. As a local news producer, he was directing and managing anchors and reporters. He then spent three years in CNN as a Network News Producer where he dealt with anchors, reporters, stories and journalists. After this, he went on to work with ESPN where he spent 11 years literally creating, developing and rebranding shows, mostly debate shows. In producing those shows, Galen was literally producing conversations. All that experience rolled into what he does now as the head of talent for the NFL Media Group. He deals with reporters, anchors and analysts. Galen is therefore able to identify a good story teller, a good reporter, assign roles that best fit a person and also manage people.

[29:23] According to Galen, Drew Brees is not the greatest NFL quarter back ever. He is the all-time passing leader in league history but not the greatest. There are other guys like Joe Montana, John Elway and Dan Marino that pass under a different game, a much more aggressive game. Drew Brees was fortunate to play in an era where it was a passing league. He broke a record that only stood for little more than three years. Galen also thinks that the most beautiful women do not come from Trinidad and an African American will own an NFL team in the next ten years. He also thinks that LeBron James is a great player. 

[32:43] Galen thinks that fatherhood is easier than marriage. This is because when a person gets married he truly loves his wife but when a child comes in, especially the first one, then that person truly learns the meaning of unconditional love. This does not mean that that person loves his wife any less but he would give absolutely anything for that child. Galen also thinks that Steven A. Smith is not the most arrogant man on television and radio. Steven is the most hardworking journalist Galen has ever worked with. At the time he was working with Galen, he had four jobs. 

Galen denies that Los Angeles has more culture than New York. There are so many subcultures in Brooklyn alone, let alone Manhattan or the Bronx. In California, there are large Hispanic communities, Asian communities and there is a black community as well. He thinks that Colin Kaepernick should play in the NFL in 2019. Colin has shone the light on an issue that is important not only for black people but everyone despite the narrative coming out of DC that he is disrespecting veterans and the flag. Colin took a bow against police brutality in America.

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