DBT40 Honoree: Jai Wesley
Director of Operations/BPG|SPORTS,
76ers Fieldhouse (Wilmington)
Provide a description of the company and the products and services it provides. BPG|SPORTS provides top in class opportunities for athletes of all ages and skill levels to learn and develop. Additionally, BPG|SPORTS looks to bring in quality entertainment opportunities for Delaware and Delaware-adjacent residents.
Introduction: Jai, a Delaware native, graduated from St. Andrew’s School Delaware in 2009 and continued his education and athletic career at Greensboro College from 2009-13 where he graduated with a degree in athletic training. After graduating college, Jai returned to St. Andrew’s where he grew into multiple roles at the school including Associate Athletic Director, Associate Athletic Trainer, Head Boy’s Lacrosse Coach and Business Manager for Summer Programs. Also while working at St. Andrew’s, Wesley received his MSM with a concentration in sports management in 2018. Jai joined BPG|SPORTS in August of 2018 where he is responsible for overseeing day to day operations, building cohesion as well as sports/event programming.
Why should you be chosen for DBT 40? I believe I should be chosen for DBT 40 because I have had the chance to help put on an event that raised over $200,000 to support mental health awareness, created sports programing in Delaware’s largest city in one of the premier sports facilities in the country, helped put on quality events involving artists such as Cardi B, OAR and Natasha Bedingfield and worked at a top boarding school with one of the most aggressive stances toward financial aid and equal opportunity for all within the market of elite boarding schools.
- Managed the SL24 Basketball event which raised over $200,000 toward Mental Health Awareness
- Organized and managed the Delaware Sankofa Lacrosse Clinic that provided free subscriptions for US Lacrosse, free athletic equipment, and free training from high level coaches for more than 100 at-risk-youth in the City of Wilmington.
- Helped design one of the top sports facilities in the country
Leadership examples: Up to this point, I have had a few opportunities to be placed in leadership positions. While I was at St. Andrew’s, I was asked to become the Boy’s Head Lacrosse Coach, my first go at a real leadership role, where I led them to 4 strait state tournament appearances from 2014-2018 when they hadn’t for the previous 5 years. I then was asked to become Business Manager for Summer Programs where I first got the chance to take a leadership role in a business setting. There I was able to grow my skills as a negotiator as well as an operations director while having the opportunity to work with several groups on campus. My latest example of leadership is helping get Wilmington’s newest sports and entertainment venue up and running from scratch. Creating programming, reaching out to organizations that may have overlooked Delaware as a viable option to do business, and impact the community are all things that I have had the chance to do in my latest venture at BPG|SPORTS.
- Helped raise of $200,000 toward mental health awareness.
- Organized and managed a lacrosse clinic with U.S. Lacrosse and the Delaware Lacrosse Foundation for over 100 at-risk-youth in the state of Delaware where they all received free subscriptions to US Lacrosse (providing insurance for them to play lacrosse anywhere), free lacrosse sticks and coaching from high level athletes and coaches.
- Helped organize a free basketball clinic for the kids of Wilmington with Syracuse Men’s Basketball alum and Delaware native, Trevor Cooney.
- Created free programing at the 76ers Fieldhouse to give the kids of Wilmington the chance to play at an elite facility, free of charge
- Helped manage Kay’s Kamp at St. Andrew’s School, a summer camp for kids, ages 5 – 17, who are battling cancer and those in remission are offered free of charge, as Business Manager for Summer Programs.
What was your favorite work moment in the past year? Working alongside ESPN and the city of Wilmington to host both “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith and a HBCU college fair at the same time offering both entertainment as well as educational opportunities to thousands of adults and youth.
Earliest memory of a leadership role. My earliest memory of a leadership role in my professional life is when I was promoted to Head Boy’s Lacrosse Coach for the St. Andrew’s School Delaware Saints. I was able to learn, and hone, so many skills that I lean on today from my time as head coach. Things like time management, people management, strategy implementation, optimizing loss, dealing with success and personnel optimization are all areas that I got to work on during my four-year opportunity with the St. Andrew’s Saints.
Where are you most at ease? I am most at ease when playing sports or being active. For my whole life, playing sports has been a way to strip everything away and focus on only what’s in front of you. While it does bring me peace, I feel that it also contributes to my growth as a person and as a young professional.
Guilty pleasure? Taco Bell.
What are you currently reading? “Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business” by Tiffini Bova.
Who’s your favorite superhero? My favorite superhero is Doctor Manhattan. He’s definitely overpowered but I think it would be really cool to be able to create literally anything you can think of.
Go-to song for karaoke: If there is a karaoke machine, I’m signing “Wagon Wheel.”
Biggest missed opportunity? Opportunities arise every day and I try to capitalize on as many as I can but, there are always ones that slip through the cracks. I have learned through my experience that these losses or “misses” should be learning experiences and opportunities for growth. It is for this reason that I don’t necessarily believe in “missed opportunities.” One example of this outlook is when we missed an opportunity to host a basketball event that would bring the entire city of Wilmington together around sport with national implications within the construct of the event/event series early this year. We understand where we fell short in that process and have taken steps to ensure that we don’t miss this next cycle.
What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago? Get into as many things that interest you as you can and don’t be too proud to do them for free. By doing this, you might not only learn what interest you, but you may also find that it’s MULTIPLE things. As you explore and work you will have the opportunity to prove to people your work ethic and interest while growing relationships.
Education: I went to St. Andrew’s School in Middletown for high school, Greensboro College for college where I got my bachelor’s in athletic training and Wilmington University where I got my MSM with a Concentration in Sports Management.