Hard work, reliance and integrity never go out of style

Holly Rowe’s passion is obvious the moment she starts talking about her job at ESPN. But that passion is underpinned by old-fashioned values — hard work, resilience and integrity.

She believes the worker bees in life are the ones who take advantage of opportunities. Because while Rowe is a nationally known reporter and commentator now, that didn’t happen overnight. She says showing up and volunteering to do the extra work is the way to succeed, no matter what your job or industry.

“If you do the work that other people don’t want to do, you will start small and get the opportunities,” Rowe says.

And that doesn’t mean you won’t fail, too. Legendary Hall-of-Fame women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut recently talked to Rowe about resiliency.

“There are student athletes who have come into his program who have never failed at anything, because their parents, their coaches, the system around them have made (it so) they never fail,” Rowe says.

Another critical value is integrity, which is something Rowe finds true in the media today. If she goes to a college basketball practice and sees they’ve shaken up the starting lineup, it’s important to have the integrity to keep that information to herself when talking to their opponent. Otherwise, she’ll never be let into practice again.

But the pressure of getting information out quickly can lead to mistakes. For example, Rowe and her team saw a tweet that a college basketball star was sick and wouldn’t play that night. The story ran on ESPN, but it was wrong.

Rowe says that’s when you admit your mistake and apologize to the people involved, like the athletic trainer and basketball player. As she’s grown older — and wiser — she appreciates the need for accountability.

“I didn’t research for myself. I went and apologized to them. I don’t think I did a good job of reporting that story,” she says.