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By Allison Mitchell | Photo: Patrick Heagney | April 2, 2015
It’s game on in life and business for ESPN communications pro Keri Potts.
Grant Park resident and Long Island, N.Y, native Keri Potts has a job of which most sports fans only dream. As the senior director of communications for college sports at ESPN, the Syracuse University grad sets the strategic communication direction for college football, basketball, NCAA championships, ESPNU and more. In a field dominated by men, Potts is a standout, not just because she’s a tough cookie, but because she knows the industry inside and out. Her 12-year grind has included everything from running the PR operations for the ESPYS and working directly with former hosts Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Timberlake, LeBron James and Jimmy Kimmel, to handling upwards of 50 movie premieres for ESPN Films’ iconic 30 for 30 series. But life hasn’t been all red carpets and GameDay tailgates. After finishing up 30 for 30, Potts faced her toughest challenge yet during a vacation in Rome, Italy, where she was the victim of sexual assault and attempted rape. Calling on her time as an Academic All-American volleyball player at Syracuse, Potts’ survival instincts set in, allowing her to escape by scaling buildings to find her way out of the perpetrator’s apartment. Two years later, her assailant accepted a plea bargain and she was featured in Marie Claire for the unparalleled uphill battle she fought. “I wanted the thousands of U.S. women who are victimized overseas each year... to see that a survivor can continue to be successful in her work life and unafraid to share her experience publically,” says Potts, who currently works as a victims’ advocate at Grady Memorial Hospital’s Rape Crisis Center.
While she accounts her fight for justice as her life’s most meaningful accomplishment, Potts continues to collect feathers for that monumental cap. Her latest project? Contributing to the launch of the SEC Network, which included a transfer to A-Town from the Big Apple. “SEC fans are especially passionate and expect ESPN to know their teams and traditions,” explains Potts. “Atlanta was the perfect location for me to work from, as so many SEC graduates live and work here.”
When she’s not keeping her 21,000 followers on Twitter up-to-date on all things sports, find the go-getter hitting Piedmont and Grant parks with her new pooch or indulging in fab fare at JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Miller Union and 1Kept. Living the dream, indeed. @mspotts_espn