Stephen A. Smith, Black Professional Summit

ESPN Host Stephen A. Smith Shares Career Advice At 9th Annual Black Professionals Summit

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith shared career and life advice to an audience at the ninth annual Black Professional Summit last weekend

ESPN analyst, podcaster, and First Take host Stephen A. Smith delivered the keynote address Friday afternoon at the ninth annual Black Professionals Summit held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino last weekend.

The conference brought together chapters of the Black Professionals Network, a nonprofit seeking to equip Black professionals with the tools and relationships necessary to build generational wealth. 

The theme of this year’s Summit was “MVP: Mastery, Value, Performance,” a concept that Smith personifies, according to BPN Founder and CEO Kenasha Paul.

The former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, who has been in the world of sports for more than 30 years, fed the audience nuggets of career advice, including the topic of ownership, as his production company, Mr. SAS Productions, is set to open its first studio in New Jersey this month.

“Hire people that have access to data to give you the intel to bolster your knowledge about your business,” Smith said, according to the Miami Herald.

“That’s why I love being an owner: because you don’t get to hide it as easily. Now you have to deal with the fact that I have more access to more intel than I ever had before.”

Smith added that his production company will produce content on sports, pop culture, politics, and entertainment on streaming platforms as streaming and social media growth continues.

Smith also discussed the downsides of his career, including when he was fired from the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2009, which fueled his going from an employee to an owner.

“Don’t ever feel like you’ve arrived,” Smith said. “That was the mistake I made: believing that I was house money, I was good, I was straight, and I had nothing to worry about. That was far from the truth. And I’ll never make that mistake again.”

Smith has found a home at ESPN, where he’s been a basketball and football analyst for more than two decades, in addition to being the host of First Take and his own podcast. Smith even hosted his own late-night sports talk show on the network from 2005-2007.