Mercer University alumnus Kennedy Howery followed his passion, and it led him to ESPN.
While at Mercer, he immersed himself in campus life and was involved in organizations such as the Student Government Association, Greek Life, MU Miracle and Traffick Jam. He also started a podcast with a few of his friends.
“That was kind of the first part where the wheels started turning where I (thought I could) make this into a career,” he said about the podcast.
It was the first time he created his own content.
“That’s when I feel like … I really, really fell in love with it,” he said.
While at a business conference in Atlanta, Howery connected with ESPN, which was recruiting there.
“It’s actually just a huge blessing of a story,” Howery said. “I met the person who actually was one of the managers of the ESPN Next program while I was at the conference.”
After striking up a conversation, he was called in for an interview that same day.
ESPN Next is categorized into pods, and Howery is starting out in the storytelling pod, which includes working on features and interview-style content for ESPN.
“I’m doing pre-production, post-production work on features and interviews, which is a lot of fun,” he said.
ESPN produces content such as “30 for 30,” a documentary series, which Howery said is some of his favorite sports content. Shows like “30 for 30” depict the “real story” of athletes, showing their struggles off the field, he said.
“It’s more than just a game to a lot of people. It’s a way to support your family. It’s a way to, you know, allow your voice to be heard,” he said. “And I think another thing too, is like, I feel like when we watch these guys on TV, a lot … of us forget that they’re human beings.”
Howery said his Mercer professors left him with some key takeaways.
“I feel like I was kind of blessed,” he said. “There’s some professors in (the School of Business) that push you. And sometimes it’s a little bit of an uncomfortable push.”
He said a lot of his professors wouldn’t accept work that met only the bare minimum and always expected his best. Even though he’s not working in the same field, that lesson continues to influence his life.
“I think that mentality from a lot of my favorite professors from Mercer has stuck 100%,” he said.
One of those professors was Dr. C. Asa Lambert, assistant professor of finance in the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business. Dr. Lambert requires students to present their work professionally and to spend time contemplating class concepts.
“Kennedy responded well to being challenged in these ways. He seemed to enjoy it. His tenacity and dedication to excellence will serve him well in life,” Dr. Lambert wrote in an email. “He’s a sharp and energetic young man whose presence brightens a room. I was grateful for his contributions to class; I enjoyed getting to know him while he was here.”
Howery found his passion as a student at Mercer, even if it didn’t end up being in the field he studied.
“I got two majors that I thought (were) going to be my career path, (were) going to be my future. But I kept searching, and I ended up finding out that my passion and my future career lied in something different,” Howery said.
Howery also encouraged others to find their passion and to make it a priority and to not be afraid of change or stepping out.
“I feel like there’s so many talented people in this world that don’t make their passion a priority,” Howery said. “If you found that one thing, if you found that passion, find a way to make it a priority.”