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Erik Moses didn’t set out to be a trailblazer, but his career path has made him exactly that.
Moses has opened doors and made history throughout his career, including in his new position as the executive director and CEO of the VRBO Fiesta Bowl, a role that adds another “first” to his resume; in this case, the first person of color to hold that title in the game’s 50-year history.
“I didn’t set out to be a trailblazer,” said Moses in an interview with The Arizona Republic in November. “I was looking for the next great opportunity and challenge in my professional journey.”
It’s been quite a professional journey for the 51-year-old executive, one that didn’t start out the way he planned.
“The path kind of found me,” Moses told me in our interview.
While that may be true, the trailblazing path was implanted in his blood as he comes from trailblazers. His Grandmother’s brother, John Kenneth Lee, was one of the first two Black men to attend the University of North Carolina (UNC) in 1951.
Maybe by no coincidence, Moses’ journey began when he moved to Greensboro, NC before his senior year in high school. He graduated from UNC and then traveled up the road and earned his JD from the Duke University School of Law.
Some would view that as a serious conflict of interest, but not Moses. While he loved both universities, he bled Tar Heel blue without having to expose it to Blue Devils fans.
“Carolina beat Duke seven consecutive times in basketball when I was there, so it made it real easy to be behind enemy lines,” Moses told the Arizona Republic.
Being around two sports-crazed institutions made sports a natural area of focus.
“I was always very interested in the business of sports and entertainment,” he told me.
Yet in the early 90s, sports management programs weren’t as abundant as they are now. So the opportunity to learn about the sports industry, or major in it, was limited.
But Moses recognized what he wanted to do in the industry.
He wanted to, ironically for the history-maker, represent.
“I went to Duke and wanted to be like [sports agent] Drew Rosenhaus,” he said. “I wanted to protect my friends who were athletes.”
Inspired by Rosenhaus’ trajectory in representing dominant athletes, and with a little indirect motivation from the Tom Cruise classic “Jerry Maguire”, he immersed himself in understanding athlete representation.
Recognizing his hard work and eagerness, Moses was invited to Grant Hill’s screening process while at Duke Law. It was an eye-opening experience that resulted in a revelation.
Athlete representation wasn’t the path for him.
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