It's 2016 now (and wow, almost two months done already!), so we've got some exciting new hires to share with you! Across all of our departments -- from product to marketing and even interns! -- we're slowly and steadily growing each day. We've always aimed to present these small interviews as glimpses into the brilliant minds that make our platform shine. Today, we've got Sam Tharp, our new Chief Product Officer! Sam has been here about a month now and he's already made some major improvements in the CoachUp day-to-day. We're so psyched to have him aboard and can't wait to see what's next with him on our team. It's been wonderful getting to know Sam and hopefully you all can in the near future!
CoachUp: Hi, Sam! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sam Tharp: I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC. When I was 15, I attended a White House Christmas Ball. I think my mom still has the picture of me standing next to Nancy Reagan in the Red Room. In college, I studied overseas at the University of Cape Town. Fun fact: I was on a train from Johannesburg to Cape Town on the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison. I also had the distinct privilege of meeting Desmond Tutu while in South Africa. During my professional career, I've worked in marketing roles at Time Life and AOL. While at AOL, I made the transition to Digital Product Management following the successful launch of AOL Instant Messenger in 1997. Since AOL, I've worked at Monster.com, my own start up, the Princeton Review, and now - the pinnacle of my career - at CoachUp.
CU: What’s your position at CoachUp and how long have you been here?
ST: I'm the Chief Product Officer. It's been three weeks since I joined the company, so I am officially a grizzled veteran.
CU: What drove you to join CoachUp? Why?
ST: CoachUp is an incredibly valuable brand. Humans around the globe love sports and they're constantly striving to become better athletes. And CoachUp offers the best solution for bringing together athletes and coaches. It's really exciting to get the opportunity to build this company into a global giant like LinkedIn or AirBnB.
CU: What’s your experience with sports?
ST: As a young boy, I played league baseball and basketball. In high school, I switched to Track + Field, where I lettered in pole vault. Additionally, I also lettered in golf. During my high school years, I also started to develop life-long exercise habits. I began lifting weights and long-distance swimming. I still lift weights about three times per week and I run an average of 3 miles per day.
CU: What’s your favorite sports memory?
ST: Ah, there are too many to choose from, but Laettner's shot at the buzzer to beat Kentucky in 1992 is up there. There was a phenomenal US Open tennis match in 1991 between Jimmy Connors and Aaron Krickstein as well. But, the ultimate sports moment for me was when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 -- there's nothing better than breaking a curse.
Who is your favorite athlete of all-time? How do they inspire you?
ST: Cal Ripken Jr. is, to me anyway, a great role model in both sports and life. His consistency inspires me -- he showed up every day to give 100% effort. He didn't take short cuts, either. In short, he did things the right way.
CU: What’s one thing about you that not a lot of people know?
ST: I can't make it through Forrest Gump without tearing up.
CU: Who in the office would you want in goal for a game-saving penalty kick + why?
ST: Jess Fadale (our Partnerships Marketing Manager) because she's so centered and calm under pressure. Plus, she'd probably psych the other team out.
CU: Who in the office would you want by your side in a 2-on-2 basketball game + why?
ST: Ryan Light (our Creative & Marketing Director) because even if we get crushed at basketball, I know it will be a fun game.
Now that you’ve met Sam, head to CoachUp and get to know some of our awesome coaches!! Just like our growing team, the amount of highly qualified and exceptional coaches applying to work with us never stops. If you're looking to take your game to #AnotherLevel, let us help you out!