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Former MLB Hopeful Goes Major League Marketer

In his youth, former MLB hopeful, Jeff Roach, had no other goal than to play baseball. With little interest outside of becoming the best player around, it began to show. As his success on the field grew, his accomplishments in the classroom diminished. However, just as with many young athletes, any possible permanent end to the game was just a scary notion, and not a reality based fear or concern.

Jeff was soon to be thrust out of the protective shell that some major league athletes are privy to when it comes to academic success versus classroom achievements.

When you were young and people asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What was your answer? Why? 

My answer was always “Major League Ballplayer”, each and every time. I grew up around the game and I really did not know much else. A lot of it had to do with playing the game, but to be perfectly honest a lot of it had to do with the glamour of being a professional athlete. I happened to excel against the competition I played against, so those dreams of ‘hitting it big’ playing a game always felt within reach. 

How did your determination to be an athlete change other elements of your life?

On the plus side, it kept me out of trouble. I never wanted to lose my privileges to play for being in trouble, so when I was growing up, I wasn’t out causing trouble like some of my friends because I was determined to succeed in this sport. As I morphed from a young adult to a man, it had more of a negative impact on me because I put so much effort into baseball, I hadn’t really had much experience in anything else, and so I had a lot of catching up to do in other parts of my life.  

What determined the end to your baseball career? 

The beginning of the end was an injury to my leg that occurred during a flag football game during winter break of my freshman year of college. After getting word from a couple of scouts I knew about my prospects as a prospect, it became clear how far off my dream of making it to the big leagues was. I was depressed at the time from the injury, and frankly wasn’t too thrilled with doing a year of junior college in hopes of getting drafted in the late rounds for a few bucks and a bus pass to some no name town in the mid-west.  It wasn’t exactly the glamorous thrill ride I had hoped for.  

Was this a source of anger for you, or a challenge to overcome it? 

At first it was anger. As time went on, I discovered that the determination and the work ethic weren’t a result of my baseball career. It was something in my being. It just was who I was, and I began looking for new challenges.  

Can you explain a bit the path your life took once you knew you wouldn’t play baseball again?

From there I did another year of college without baseball, which didn’t go well from a mental health perspective. I did well with the books, but needless to say was losing my mind only able to compete in friendly tennis matches, pickup basketball games, and intramural flag football. More importantly, I had no direction on what I wanted to do with my life from here. I had a million interests but could not settle on anything in terms of a major or career path. So I took a semester off from school, move back to West Palm Beach from Tallahassee, and took on an internship with a startup called eLink Media.

Tell me about how you got started in your current industry.

A friend of mine was at eLink and he introduced me to Mike Abrami, who at the time held the role I currently am in. We hit it off pretty well, so he gave me a barely paid internship role introducing the company to perspective clients.

What education did you receive?

At first, it truly was the school of hard knocks. I was mainly using the opportunity to see if I enjoyed marketing, and had planned on going back to school after six months. The President of eLink, Stephen Berg, had other plans. I was doing pretty well within my job function, and Steve offered me a better paying gig to stay on board. Obviously, I liked what I was doing so I stayed, even though in those days, it was a real grind. We were an unknown company in full startup mode. But I learned a ton about the industry, and more importantly, the value of resilience.

One thing I never really had to do in sports was overcome too much adversity. Things had always come so easy for me in baseball until I was injured. You find out really quickly in the business world, particularly marketing, that things are very cut throat and sitting on the sidelines and pouting when things don’t go your way will lead to an early exit from the industry. Steve and Mike showed me early on how to dig deep and not get discouraged. Although I was learning many things about the marketing world from real life experience, the number one thing that I learned in my early years in the business, was that you had to be believe in yourself and what you’re doing.

Did social media networks have a part in helping you become who you are today? How?

These days, yeah, social media is a big part of my overall strategy. But in the beginning, social media was virtually non-existent. We currently use software from SMI Network for our clients’ social media programs. Since we started that business, I have become far more active in social media. The value in staying connected with current and past clients, as well as connecting with new potential clients has an immeasurable effect on personal performance.

If you could go back and change one thing, what would it be?

I would have played golf and studied more growing up.

Born Jeffrey A. Roach, Jr. on Decemer 29, 1982 in West Palm Beach, FL. Grew up in Lantana, FL. Graduated from Cardinal Newman High School in 2001, and attended Palm Beach Atlantic University. You can find Jeff at his LinkedIn profile or check out eLink Media’s blog for helpful marketing information as well.

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Comments

  1. This is a very inspiring story. I am happy that Jeff found another thing that he loves to do. You got outside of your comfort zone and you are doing great. More power to you Jeff and this site!

  2. Social media is really a big help now. It really does make a whole lot of difference now that it is readily available. You go Jeff! I know you are doing what you really want.

  3. Thank you for posting this. The questions are just right and it really covers all the important matters that the readers need to know. Please post more inspiring stories. Thanks!

  4. I agree with believing in yourself and on what you are doing. You will do great if you will choose to believe in yourself. It will show them that you are confident and they will respect you.

  5. I would definitely check on the Elink Media’s blog. This post just taught us to be versatile and to explore on what more we can do. We might discover that we do best on that.

  6. Social media has become part of our lives. It is use for communication to your family, business, clients, and friends. I hope I can be like Jeff, he was able to overcome fear and exceeds on what he is doing.

  7. Jeffrey R says:

    Thanks for the positive comments guys. I was really nervous about telling my story, and a few of my many failures. I appreciate the positive feedback and all of these comments inspire me to continue to work harder. Thanks again, Joy, for the opportunity to share.

  8. Awesome Jeff! I appreciate you taking the time to reply to those whom you have inspired. I am more than satisfied with the interview and very excited that your story is obviously inspiring to others!

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