Some of us have heard the phrase that you are "more than just a name" or "more than just a title". Such phrases are uttered in order to ensure that people think beyond the boundaries and in some cases, the limitations or labels that are placed on them.
When you find real-life examples of people who not only understand that for themselves, but for the people they work with, specifically their clientele, it brings about a different type of thinking, processing, and doing when it comes to any sort of matter at hand. On Wednesday, September 3rd, for what felt like a 30 minute talk (which evolved into a 2-plus hour conversation about a wide range of topics), I'm able to engage with such a man of distinction, Mr. Damien Moore.
His credentials as an alumnus of Duke University (undergraduate and law school), a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (via the Kappa Omicron Chapter located at Duke University) a former attorney at King and Spalding, and currently the President of the Sports and Entertainment Division at KM Capital Management are more than impeccable. Likewise, his clientele, which features some of the top players in the NFL, including those who have earned accolades ranging from NFL Rookie of the Year to Pro Bowl status speaks volumes.
However, it's his life story and larger mission that literally and figuratively speaks larger than volumes, but in a manner that is the ideal and calming blend of passion, purpose, and perspective.
His upbringing in Pittsburgh (PA) underscores the aforementioned blend; the region's dedication to its teams (he is still a homegrown fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers) and his early exposure in sports (football, basketball, and soccer) provide part of the framework related to team-building and working with others. More significant is the presence and life-lessons of his mother, including her work ethic and overcoming of a serious cancer diagnosis.
"My mother is one of the hardest working people I know; I never recall her missing a day of work for any reason", recalls Moore in a very introspective manner. That ethic, combined with her emphasis on education, is part of what drives him to his early post-high school success.
"No one in my family went to college, but my mother (and other teachers and advisors) provided me with the academic support I needed", notes Moore. A product of a single-parent family, the drive at home is combined with a desire to be in a more financially secure situation. As a result, he is in a position where he is a viable candidate to attend some of the top institutions of higher learning, including Ivy League schools; however, a conversation with his guidance counselor, along with a way of a subconscious way of saying thank you to his mother, he took his talents down a different road: Tobacco Road.
"I'll admit I didn't have the greatest visit (to Duke University), but conversations with my guidance counselor and my mother convinced me otherwise", he recalls with a smile and polite laugh. His experience at a graduate and professional school panel at the Durham (NC) based institution of higher learning provides him with invaluable information which would guide him on a path to being an attorney. His experience with the Sponsors for Education Opportunities (SCO) provide a solid platform and point of reference that would equip for success in law school, and eventually landing at the Atlanta-based firm of King and Spalding.
"I had opportunities in New York City as well, but Atlanta offered a better work-life balance for me. Given the solid prospects (clientele), work and life balance, and growing African-American population, it just felt like it would be a better fit for me", Moore notes. Combined with the mentorship of Mr. Sam Matchett, his experience at the firm and his decision is even more fully reinforced.
"He (Matchett) taught me the life lesson there is a time and place for everything. He provided some invaluable tutelage in the level of awareness and understanding needed for multiple working and business environments, along with showing that you can have a balance between your work and your life in general. And that is a message that I am able to empower my clients with", he emphasizes.
His current role at KM Capital Management allows him to work with the NFL's highest profile players, but he doesn't limit his role to merely a business relationship.
Moore states, "Part of my role is to protect my clients interests and other contract-related matters, but it's more of an agent, advisor, and mentor role, just as others (such as Matchett) have done for me".
Ranging from financial literacy, professional development, improved access to resources, and having a skill (and financial set) that allows them to transition from their playing days to the rest of their lives is Moore's sincere and ultimate focus. Even with the support he has growing up, he knows what it is like not to have a point of reference or understanding of matters related to business etiquette, financial literacy, and understanding of the current business model and structure. In being a partner with his clients, he is able to provide them with the tools and resources they need in order to maximize their earning and more importantly, their life potential.
"Ranging from proper dress for a business meeting or awards event, to understanding the importance of protecting their brand, image, and their overall well-being, I do not want to see any of my clients being taken advantage of; in this business, things can be extremely intense. My job is to challenge them to be better and to be more than what they think they can be; sometimes, it can get a little interesting, but in the end, they know that I have their best interests at heart".
In empowering them to be successful, it can provide more short, intermediate, and long-term success, combined with improved images of success. With clients and others he has worked with who are in the league, along with college sports and other arenas, Moore's ethos of knowing who you are, not being afraid of learning, maintaining one's integrity, and having positive and constructive values are fully transferable in multiple professions, disciplines, and settings.
He's able to provide a platform for his clients to be more than just a professional athlete; after all, given his life's journey, he's "Moore" than just a title.