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Leadership Stories: Transitioning from forward to founder
- mins read

Leadership Stories: Transitioning from forward to founder

Haelee Reis
Haelee Reis
Head of Marketing and Program
Haelee Reis
March 23, 2023

“So tell us, will ye win the All Ireland again this year?”

We tried not to show it but this question took the wind out of our sails time and time again.  

We were minutes into a meeting with a potential client and, IF they landed, our new company could finally pay us our first wage in over 2 years. 

It was a big deal and this question meant it was NOT going well. 

The Origin Story - Post Football

Towards the end of my football career I was itching to do something new. Something where I could express myself more and had thought about starting my own business. 

James was in a similar headspace, realising Law wasn’t for him, so he reached out to me. 

“I’m thinking of starting a sports agency, can I tap into your network?” 

Throughout my career, James has advised me and negotiated on my behalf countless times so I had full confidence in him (and still do).

“I can go one better. I’ll go in with you, let’s do something together” 

Fast forward a few months - energy is high, calendars are full, we’re booking meetings with the right people, we’re on a winner here. But we quickly realised something was happening. 

90% of the meetings we were getting were with senior business people (great) who wanted to chat GAA (bad). They thought I was a professional athlete and had no idea what we were “selling”.

It was a frustrating time. 

Tackling challenges head on

We had invested everything we had into this business, weren’t taking a pay cheque, and weren’t being taken seriously by anyone. But we never lost faith.

‘We’ll figure it out’ became our unofficial motto for the first 2 years. 

I was confident in James and he was confident in me. We knew we just needed the right opportunity to come knocking. 

And it did. And we’re still “figuring it out” +10 years later.

The Key Takeaway

The moral of the story is surround yourself with good people and have faith that you’ll figure it out together. Whatever “it” is.

Shout out to our team of superstars Legacy Communications  and PepTalk for all the support over the years.

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