Like many who are just starting out in their careers, Jimmy Pitaro was uncertain of the direction he was headed in as he prepared to enter the workforce. He was attending Cornell University where he had secured a spot on the football team, but Jimmy knew that the odds of him becoming a professional athlete were slim to nonexistent.
Nonetheless, sports had always played an influential role in his life and he was determined to incorporate the world of sports into his career path. As the now Chair of ESPN, it’s safe to say that Jimmy had reached this goal, but not without learning many important lessons along the way.
In this episode, Randall and Jimmy discuss the progression of Jimmy’s career, how to recover from a huge disappointment, determining when you should stay on course or move on to something else, identifying the subject matter you are most passionate about to lead your career direction, finding opportunities to work with like-minded people, and so much more.
-How Jimmy’s early love of sports shaped his future
-Importance of having a support network
-Why having compassion and respect for others is advantageous
-Erring on the side of over preparation
-Jimmy’s “Four North Stars” at ESPN
-Creating a culture of innovation
-Why work ethic is the single greatest determinant of our success
-The relationship between fear and courage
-Finding the right work-life balance
Jimmy Pitaro was named Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content on October 12, 2020. His focus is the entirety of ESPN's multimedia offerings - including live sports programming, sports news and original and non-scripted sports-related content, audio, digital and social endeavors - plus all sports-related content for Disney's cable channels, ESPN+, and ABC.
He was named ESPN president and co-chair, Disney Media Networks, on March 5, 2018, after serving eight years as a top Disney executive. In making the announcement, Bob Iger, then The Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Jimmy's appointment was the result of more than 20 years spent at the intersection of technology, sports and media."
Pitaro's record of success leading businesses focused on consumer products, digital initiatives and sports made him the quintessential selection for ESPN at a pivotal point in its then 38-year history: a time of unprecedented technological advancements and rapidly changing consumer habits.
Pitaro originally joined The Walt Disney Company in 2010 as co-president, Disney Interactive, where he successfully led the turnaround of the digital media and gaming division.
He serves on a variety of industry and charitable boards, including the NCTA, the Paley Center for Media, The V Foundation, The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, Pacer and CoachArt. Pitaro also serves as Co-Committee Chair of the March of Dimes, and is a Board Observer at Draft Kings. He is a member of the Cornell Athletic Alumni Advisory Committee.