Black History Month Spotlight: Kings Entertainment Manager, Sasha Cole
You are the Entertainment Manager for 916 Crew. 916 Crew is very diverse and one of the first of its kind amongst the NBA. Why do you feel it is important for groups like this to exist amongst global organizations? Also, why is it important to continue to encourage diversity in the workplace?
I think that one of the best things a person can do in their lifetime, is put themselves in the middle of as many different situations, with as many different people as they can. Being able to adapt is the key to relationships, and life is based on relationships. Any success that anyone has ever achieved stems from the ability to perceive and understand people and I instill this into my teams.
Diversity constantly challenges you to think about the way you think. Then you are able to evolve as an individual by adapting new practices and concepts, while omitting the ones that don’t suit you. You basically become the best, most informed version of yourself that you might not have achieved alone.
This is why it is so important for groups like 916 Crew to exist amongst global organizations like this one. The things we achieve as a team by including the best of each individual and their experiences is absolutely insane! We are achieving so much creatively, and walking away with knowledge and experiences that will change our lives and the way we see the world.
As a former NBA dancer and a current leader in the workplace, what does being an African American woman in your position mean to you?
It is no secret that being a woman in the workplace comes with its own challenges. Add that to being a minority, and it really shifts the odds. I hope that being in the position that I am in is a testament to others that the odds can be beaten with hard work and preparation, but mostly being okay with resistance and knowing that you just have to push back harder.
Have you ever encountered any adversity in your professional career as a result of your race? If so, how did you overcome it?
My 10 years in the NBA have been nothing short of amazing. This organization has poured into me, and I have been able to pour into others as a result. As a dancer of eight years, the presence of black women was typically limited to two to three girls per season.
In the NBA, you audition every year to earn your spot back, so not only were the teams limited to only 18-20 girls with over 100 auditionees. I believe that the way you think about yourself and your situations determines your quality of life. These odds ignited fire in me to be the best, to be such an asset that I was not easily replaced.
This adversity taught me grit that I needed to be where I am today. In my last two years of managing, I have made it a point to cast solely based on talent, with an emphasis on inclusivity. I believe in making change from the inside out. Success is only achieved when you can share your journey and lessons with others, so that they too can be successful.
Do you have any African American role models? If so, why do you look up to this person/these people?
My dad is my role model without a doubt. I look up to him because he takes risks, started his own successful business, and never let anyone or anything discourage him. My dad is the most selfless person I know. He is constantly telling me to learn people, and to use what I have learned to love them the way they need to be loved because the world needs more people like that.
He has sacrificed so much in his lifetime for my sisters and myself to be successful. My favorite thing he has ever said is, “If you never leave the basics, you never have to revisit them. Life isn’t hard, we make it that way.” I strive to be the kind of person my dad is.