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  • La'Keisha Sutton

La’Keisha Sutton: Broadcast alum is building her brand

Posted March 12, 2019
By Shenika Glover, communications graduate assistant

Top photo courtesy of Brett Meister from Harlem Globetrotters

Since her time as a Gamecock, 2012 broadcast alumna La’Keisha Sutton has continued life on the court as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. Known to fans as Swish, she also spends time inspiring young people through her organization, Fan Favorite University. Read more about her and how she’s using her degree from the CIC.  

What inspired you to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism at the UofSC?
I was inspired to pursue a B.A. at the University of South Carolina because I have a passion for storytelling, producing and creating content. I attended UofSC on an athletic scholarship, thanks to Coach Dawn Staley. Being a student in the J-school was a memorable experience because the skills I learned helped me transition into my career as an entrepreneur.

The experiences I had during senior semester helped prepare me for meeting deadlines, pitching stories, shooting stories, and editing and releasing them in a timely manner. These experiences learning different roles for a newscast helped me create visuals and documents for my brand, Fan Favorite University.

Do you have a favorite professor from the J-school? Or a favorite memory of your time here at the university?
I enjoyed all of my professors from the J-school. Harvey Nachlinger, Dick Moore and Rick Peterson made classes enjoyable. Professor Jay Bender is the one I keep in touch with the most. His teaching style was no-nonsense and every class was funny. I was quiet in class but now we talk often.

My favorite memory of my time there was being able to get an interview with Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Swearinger for my class. I knew all of the athletes and they trusted me. My classmates and professors couldn’t believe I got an exclusive interview with them.

Another great memory was watching all of my classmates excited about applying for jobs post-graduation. I never submitted a resume or demo reel because I knew I’d be somewhere playing professional basketball.

Tell us about your job with the Harlem Globetrotters.
I am one of the newest members of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. The Harlem Globetrotters are synonymous with family entertainment and displaying great basketball skills. I’m enjoying my experience.

Tell us about the work you’ve been doing in your community.
I was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. I could have relocated to a different city but my heart wouldn’t let me leave. I noticed there was work to be done. I consider myself the “hope” for the youth in my city.

My main goal is to improve literacy, advocate for wellness and educate the community on entrepreneurship. I will launch my internship program this year to give students exposure and opportunities to apply the knowledge they learn in school in a more hands-on way. The students will be able to work with me directly.

How has your degree prepared you for these roles?
My degree prepared me for these leadership and executive roles because I learned everything from filming with cameras, writing scripts, directing, creating graphics, meeting deadlines, public speaking, public relations, advertising and communication techniques to be more effective. I’m so grateful to have been a student of the UofSC J-school.

I was a shy college kid. I wish I could come back and experience it all over again.

What advice would you share with current student athletes who have to balance being a full-time student and athlete?
My advice to current student-athletes balancing being a full-time student and an athlete is to enjoy your experience, and don’t take your scholarship for granted. It’s a privilege to go to college essentially for “free.” I know it can be hard and tiring focusing on your sport and perfecting your craft, but it’s very rewarding to do well both on the court and in the classroom.

I’d say be engaged in your classes and get involved in as many activities as your time allows you to. Build relationships with other students and teachers outside of your immediate team members. That’s what I wish I would have done. If anyone has issues or struggles balancing the two, please feel free to connect with me! I know the feeling. 

How was your transition from student life to professional life?
My transition from a student to a professional athlete was smooth sailing. I credit my basketball coaches because they had us operating as professionals already. Discipline is what Coach Staley preached. A disciplined person can do anything, and that is true. 

My approach to balancing my studies and my sport was “do what I have to do so I can do what I want to do.” I carried the same mentality in my life overseas. The most challenging part for me was learning how to take care of my body myself, as far as recovery, and finding healthy food options in different countries.

Tell us a little about Fan Favorite University and what inspired you to launch it in 2013?
Fan Favorite University was created to be a virtual safe-haven for creatives and visionaries to come together as one big support system. We encourage self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship.

Fan Favorite University is a real way to engage and educate people who want to belong to something. One day, I can see it being a resource center similar to the YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs of the world.

Can you share with us an example of a Fan Favorite University’s impact in the community? 
Ciahni Hunt was 14 when we met and she joined Fan Favorite University. Ciahni’s commitment to want to learn and be different than those in our environment helped her be successful. She’s in college now studying business and marketing after being exposed to my company and lifestyle. She’s a straight-A student in college and my first true success story.

Another impact I see Fan Favorite University having is improving kids’ attendance in school and their desire to read and write. I recently published my first book, and it just made me very proud to see so many students reach out to want to read the book.

One student said to me, “Keisha, I don’t even like reading but I want to buy your book, and I can’t wait to read it.” I’m currently creating a curriculum based on the book.

Where do you see the Fan Favorite University brand going in the next five years?
I honestly see Fan Favorite University going wherever God intends for it to go. I see more people joining #teamfanfavorite and becoming brand ambassadors in their respective communities.

I would love to work with some current J-school students who are interested in working with me in the entertainment industry or digital marketing space. I’d also love to connect with other J-school alumni to see what we can create together.

Is there any information that you would like to share with us that was not previously asked?
Thank you for allowing me to share part of my story. Again, I would not have been able to create my brand or half of what I’m doing if it wasn’t for my experiences at the J-school! This year I’m focused on my book, growing the brand and developing my first signature shoe. I want to tell everyone to believe in themselves and believe in your dreams.

If you’re interested in connecting with me or following my journey, feel free to engage with me on social media @fanfavorite11.

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Shenika A. Glover

Shenika Glover is pursuing her master's degree in mass communications at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Currently, she works as a graduate assistant for the college and is a social media intern for the Millennial FM 95.9 radio station in Columbia.

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