At its core, Hashtag Sports is an innovation incubation company.
Through events, conferences, and recognition programs, Hashtag Sports fosters genuine communities and creates unforeseen growth opportunities for underrepresented creatives working in the sports media industry.
“As we set out to build Hashtag Sports, we felt that although there were a lot of amazing opportunities across the sports entertainment industries, they were disparate. So, when we build our experiences we want them all to work together to the benefit of the individual and to create an inclusive and engaging future as we are doing,” said Anthony Caponiti, CEO and Founder of Hashtag Sports during The PhotoShelter Summit.
What’s so special about Creators of Color?
Creators of Color is Hashtag Sports’ latest equity, diversity, and inclusion talent development program which officially launched in partnership with Canva in 2021. Since then, they’ve awarded 63 people of color who excel in their creative sports media careers.
Through year-long event activations and networking opportunities, hackathon-style programs, and an invite-only summit at the end of the year-the honorees are able to access unique professional development experiences and an evergrowing network of peers to learn from and collaborate with–who also look like them.
The aforementioned diversity statistics express a reality that hits home for many young sports fans, now turned sports brand creatives—working on a team where you’re not one-of-one just feels like home. You are able to bring your full self to work. You’re able to riff on ideas that just make sense to your lived experience.
Building a diverse team isn’t just a gesture or necessary to balance the demographical data of your employees—building diverse teams should be seen as the driver for the advancement of ideas within every industry.
One example of how Hashtag Sports puts inclusivity into practice actively is how they build unique talent networks. (We don’t use the word ‘pipeline’ to describe a catalog of talent because of the negative and harmful connotation associated with it.)
Travis Ellison was a professional sports photographer and received a 2021 Hashtag Sports Creator of Color award, but as they continued to follow his work, they hired him back to document his successors.
Here are a few moments from the 2022 Creators of Color Summit, photographed by Travis Ellison:
But, what was the vibe really like?
You heard it from Travis here, first: “There was so much diversity. There was so much personality. Just so much style and class, and that should be reflected across the board in all these organizations we go back to.”
What do Creators of Color do?
Two months after meeting the 2022 Creators of Color cohort in Atlanta, the PhotoShelter team sat down with two of Hashtag Sports’ Creators of Color Award Honorees’—Chanel Smith, Baltimore Ravens’ Digital Strategy and Innovation Coordinator, and Travis Ellison, Professional Sports Photographer and owner of his own media agency to learn about their career journeys, experience being chosen by Hashtag Sports for this award program, and what their expectations and dreams are for the growth of this established community of creative peers.
In this session, you’ll learn:
- How to craft a career path that feels right—and how to develop boundaries and take risks as a rising talent.
- What it’s really like being a young person of color working in the sports media and entertainment industry.
- How to grow and connect with other professional peers to grow your influence and find opportunities!
Not only are Chanel and Travis both creating epic visual storytelling content for the best of the best sports brands—but they are also shaping the overall professional sports industry through their unique lenses!
Meet the Speakers
As The Baltimore Ravens’ Digital Strategy Innovation Coordinator, Chanel Smith maintains the Ravens mobile app, website, CTV channels, and any other digital presence through UI/UX design. What drives her professionally? Creating a digital bridge between fans and their favorite team. While working with The Ravens for the past three seasons, she’s helped expand the team’s digital footprint while creating an ever-growing and evolving user experience online. Digital evolution is her passion and she’s excited to dive even deeper into it! Follow her work for The Baltimore Ravens on their Twitter and Instagram feeds.
Travis Ellison is a professional sports photographer with 10 years of experience who’s begun his entrepreneurial journey as CEO and Founder of Travis Ellison Productions, LLC—a media production company that works with clients such as the NFL, the Big Ten Conference, EA Sports Madden, and many more. Travis’s work has been recognized and featured by ESPN, Black Sports Business Journal, Hashtag Sports, of course, and many more outlets. One of Travis’ most notable images is of Stefon Diggs’ catch during the Minneapolis Miracle and he captured it during his first year with the Minnesota Vikings. The image is currently on display at the Minnesota Vikings Museum in Eagan, MN.
Watch the clip below to see how Travis and Chanel both use PhotoShelter to power their content production and marketing workflows before, during, and after a big game day.