( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Smith Uses Her Past Experiences as a Collegiate Athlete to Help Others
ENSPIRE Contributor: Alexandra Rivera
Jaquese ‘JQ’ Smith, owner of JQSportsPR, LLC is a thought leader in the sports industry specializing in event management and sports branding with athletic companies. She works with athletes ranging from high school to professionals. As a former NCAA college athlete, Smith has also been interested in helping young athletes and families with the recruiting process and preparing them for life after sports. She is respected for working with a wide variety of brands ranging from DNASports Talk Radio, Under Armour youth basketball program, Atlanta Xpress, and so much more.
Smith is a graduate of Liberty University. Smith earned her master’s in Human Services and Communication Studies while balancing life as a student-athlete. Using her experience as an athlete and her desire to be of service she became media savvy in her career in public relations. Smith has coordinated the events: ‘Who Got Next’ Celebrity charity dinner, RDU HS All-Star basketball game, and many various events for NFL players. Smith’s goal is to help her clients gain the tools to outperform their competition.
ENSPIRE interviewed Smith on her work with helping athletes.
What made you want to help athletes with adjusting to life outside of sports?
Being a former college athlete and having to experience the transition myself, I can tell you firsthand that it’s difficult. Not knowing where to start and losing your self-identity can definitely put you in a place where you feel lost in the world. I also hear many parents and athletes say they wish they would’ve thought about their plan B when they were younger.
How do you prepare people for life outside of sports?
Educating them on how to be proactive in setting up their path to success. Connecting them with different organizations and individuals can guide them during the transition. I push the young athletes to hone in on their passions or special skills outside of their sport.
Do you see similarities between high school athletes and professionals when helping them adjust?
Yes, It’s difficult to get the athlete to understand the importance of building a personal brand for longevity and that it’s just as important as your performance on the playing field. I have also found that both high school and professional athletes have a hard time adjusting to the routine.
What is the biggest issue you see with professionals who have dedicated their lives to sports and are now readying themselves for retirement?
Again, I would say losing their identity.
You also help families with recruitment. What advice would you give to young athletes starting their recruitment process?
Take control of your recruitment. It’s okay to seek guidance and support but you, as the athlete, must take the wheel throughout the process. I would also tell an athlete to not depend on other people and to put in the work yourself. Last but not least, the recruiting process is a business, don’t take it personally.
Smith is helping athletes of all ages to adjust to life outside of sports something, that for most of these players, was their life. She also works hard branding their image and likeness, giving them the platform to grow.