From helping athletes be more educated on social issues to promoting workplace diversity, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul gave some fascinating insights when he took the stage at Dreamforce 2022 in San Francisco
Draymond Green and Moses Moody of the Golden State Warriors were in the house at Dreamforce 2022, Salesforce’s annual event, to watch their friend Rich Paul talk about his experience leading Klutch Sports.
Paul opened his remarks by discussing how important it is for the business, which he founded 10 years ago, to remember the communities it engages with every day.
“We touch the community every day. With the clients we represent, we don’t just represent the client. We represent their families as well. There’s an education component that comes with that,” Paul said.
“Athletes have to make their most important decisions at a young age. That lack of education is front and centre. They’re not just educating themselves, they’re educating 20 people at one time.”
Paul said his own story, having won the support of superstars like LeBron James, Green, and many more, meant he knows the value of being able to set a good example to those around him.
“We touch the community from a place of hope and aspiration. People look at the role I play and they feel they’re growing with us. In addition, we touch the community as a collective in a more active way. I have communities that dream of being like the men and women we represent and climb over the challenges they face with the lack of education and opportunity,” he said.
“We started from that perspective. We are embedded at our core with the community. I took a little different approach but I’m here.”
Paul also addressed the way he led the business through the pandemic, where Klutch was in a rare position in that its business actually tripled during that period.
“It was a tough time these past few years for everyone. Klutch is an acronym, it stands for knowledge, longevity, understanding, trust, commitment in our communities, and honesty. We had to depend on those pillars but we actually grew 3x. Our business didn’t stop and sports helped heal the world,” he said.
“I tried to understand what people were actually going through, put myself in their shoes, and be open minded to what their days may have been like. I was extremely thankful for our business keeping going. We didn’t lay anybody off or cut anybody’s salary. It wasn’t about finance, I wanted to make sure people were ok. As a leader, it’s not always about telling someone what to do. It’s more the simple things.”
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The Klutch Sports CEO and co-founder acknowledged that the pandemic was also a time for him to look inward and take better care of himself so he could be a better leader for his employees and clients.
“We took a break for ourselves too. I’m a go go go person. I don’t take vacations. Draymond [Green] who’s here today always gets on me that I have to take a vacation so I’ve just taken my first in 10 years.”
Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown but Paul is proud of his achievements, in particular prioritising diversity in the business.
“I have to be more than a CEO. For me, I was able to start Klutch based on who I was and build the foundation from that perspective. We have a 50/50 split male-female staff and also 50/50 in executive leadership. We are probably the most diverse sports agency there is,” he said.
“It’s important to not be naive to what is going on. I’m grateful for the real life experiences I have.”
Paul also said a growing role for his business was in assisting clients who want to be more active on social issues, ensuring they are educated on the issues so they can use their voices to the best extent.
“The clients we have all have a voice. We need to educate them so that they know what they need prior to hitting send. We can’t stay silent, our clients hold us accountable. Their concerns, what’s important to them, they’re speaking about those things every day. It’s a different dynamic to an average company,” he said.
“That’s why it’s important to not sit like nothing is happening. We try to do all the best we can, know all the information we can and we can share that with our clients so they have it, so they are educated on the topics they have opinions on.”