ATTORNEY & CO-FOUNDER, CHAMPIONS FOR PHILANTHROPY
Describe your legal background and your current role today.
After graduating from New York Law School in 2011, I took a very non-traditional legal career path. Never practicing as an attorney, I instead performed legal and nonprofit consulting work as a solo entrepreneur before eventually going in-house at an international clothing company. In this role, I worked in the office of the general counsel where I did everything from compliance to handling corporate governance and intellectual property matters.
I then went on to work with a renowned aviation attorney and private investor who also ran a family office. Not only was I able to sharpen my legal skills under his guidance, but I also increased my knowledge about securities, investments and wealth management.
In my current role, I serve as co-founder of a nonprofit consulting company called Champions for Philanthropy that assists professional athletes in managing their charitable brands. Through our work, we help clients establish nonprofit foundations as well as offer full-service management for their organizations.
What inspired you to pursue your current career?
Although I loved my work in aviation law, I knew practicing law was not my passion. About two years ago, I was having a conversation with my former high school friend and now business partner, Michelle Mays, about how we both studied the sports field in graduate school, yet we were not working in the industry. Michelle’s focus while pursuing her MBA was sports marketing and management while my focus in law school was sports law.
We began brainstorming about how to follow our desired career paths and discovered that we had mutual passions for sports and philanthropy. As a result, we decided to marry our two passions and establish Champions for Philanthropy, as well as a blog to highlight the inspiring charitable endeavors and activism of professional athletes, teams and major sports leagues called The Sport of Philanthropy.
The three words to describe my career are ...
Sports because I work mainly with professional athletes, both current and retired.
Philanthropy because I help professional athletes find ways to give back to their communities and the world in effective, impactful ways.
Non-traditional because no two days are the same! At Champions for Philanthropy, we offer a variety of services including social media management, event planning and compliance, so I am doing a little bit of everything on a daily basis.
How has your legal education/background shaped the way you perform in your current career?
My legal education and background have played a major role in my current career by helping me become well-versed in understanding the legal and compliance issues that often arise when working with nonprofit organizations.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you began your current venture or role?
I wish I knew how capable I was of doing what I am doing now so I would have started doing it earlier! That said, my prior career experience has helped tremendously in my current role and is all part of the journey.
If my career were made into a book, movie or song, then the title would be...
Oh, what a winding road!
What lessons learned or unexpected challenges did you face in your current role?
An unexpected challenge I faced in my current role was trying to start and grow my business while I led another demanding full-time career. It also became a challenge living on the West Coast when most of our clients were based on the East Coast. I learned that I couldn’t do it all if I wanted to do everything well. I had to prioritize the things that would lead me to my ultimate goals, which meant leaving my full-time career and relocating back to the East Coast.
Name a memorable piece of advice that you have heard or received.
I was once told that in life and in business, you have to separate yourself from your ego. This advice has come in handy working as an entrepreneur, especially in a male-dominated industry. I have learned that doing what’s best for my clients and my company often outweighs my feelings or emotions about a situation.
Alycia Powell is the Co-Founder of Champions for Philanthropy, a nonprofit organization that offers consulting services for professional athletes to establish their charitable brands. Alycia began her legal career serving as a legal and business consultant for entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses. She has worked in the fashion, aviation, business and tax law sectors, as well as in a family office.
For more info on Champions for Philanthropy: https:/championsforphilanthropy.org