When the pandemic hit, leaders everywhere were affected and forced to make decisions without a framework to follow. Brandon Martin, UMKC vice chancellor and athletic director, was one of those leaders. So, at the beginning of the pandemic he started to journal, tracking the decisions he was making including ways he and his team were staying connected to fans and donors, and how they were continuing to add value to the athletic department.

After Martin filled his journal with 78 pages of notes, he began interviewing his peers in the industry to see how they were leading in this period of unknowns. He reached out to Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, NCAA Senior Vice President of Inclusion Derrick Gragg, and Auburn University Director of Athletics Allen Greene, Martin turned his notes and interviews into a book called “Leading in the Unknown: A New Paradigm for Leaders in Athletics.”

“It’s a book of reflection, a book of challenge and perspective, opportunity and also evolution,” Martin said. “We’ve had to grow through this period. We’ve had to evolve and really change our perspective and mindset as it pertains to leader-ship.”

While the book is primarily targeted for leaders in intercollegiate athletics, he says his book was designed to impact leaders in all sectors, regardless of industry.

“Everyone is a leader in some form. Whether you’re a leader in your home, at a company, at an athletic department, an institution — my hope is that this book forces people to reflect in the ways that they lead and once they do the reflection, that they apply it,” Martin said.

Of the many lessons in the book, readers will learn what Martin identifies as keys to becoming a good leader: over-communication, understanding yourself and your strengths, empathy and making sure the needs of the team is prioritized over the needs of the leader.

“I want this book to be impactful to folks, regardless of industry, race or geographic location,” Martin said. “And hopefully this book will motivate people to be better leaders.” To purchase the book and learn more about Martin, visit  DocBrandonMartin.com.

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Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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