Felicia Hall Allen
Felicia Hall Allen is President and CEO of Felicia Hall Allen & Associates, a motivational speaking, training, consulting and sports management company that seeks to show others how to maximize their own potential. For the last decade she has represented both men and women’s basketball Division I and II coaches and travels the country with her husband, Johnny Allen, facilitating team building workshops. Together they run one the of most prestigious coaching professional development opportunities available for assistant basketball coaches, the “A Step Up” Symposium. A year ago, they introduced the Head Coaches Leadership Academy.
She is the former manager for Nike’s women’s basketball sports marketing division and was a team executive for the Charlotte Sting. She has been involved with projects involving the NFL, NBDL, NCAA, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). Felicia is a proud Iowa Hawkeye alumna as she played collegiate basketball for legendary Coach C. Vivian Stringer. She received two degrees from the University of Iowa, one in Elementary Education and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa, College of Law. Felicia also serves on the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
A Heart for Empowering
Felicia Hall Allen could not speak more highly of her time playing for Coach C. Vivian Stringer at the University of Iowa. Her love for the game and their success as a team was a life-changing experience; however the greatest thing she took away from Iowa was meeting people who were vastly different from her. Playing with teammates who didn’t look like her or grow up the way that she did showed her the beauty in diversity and taught her how to work together as a team, bond as family, and love her teammates like sisters. She credits Coach Stringer for intentionally creating this type of team environment of genuine and authentic people that cared for one another and gave their all in pursuit to the same goal of Big Ten and National Championships. Her time at Iowa changed the trajectory of her life and helped her to understand her strengths and passions and how she can use them to make her impact on the world.
Felicia’s purpose and mission in life is to empower and inspire others to fulfill their dreams. This is exemplified in one of her favorite quotes by Benjamin Disraeli,
“The greatest good you can give to another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”
Felicia always wanted to be a person that could offer something to the world and began pursuing that purpose on the path of becoming a lawyer. Eventually her heart for empowering, talent for challenging, and natural tendency to teach, led her to fulfill that original purpose through a different avenue. Presently, she uses her teaching background and her love for the game of basketball to teach life lessons in leadership, organizational development, sports management and business practices.
From Good to Great
While most coaches and players are very familiar with their own team culture, Felicia has the unique experience of traveling around the country and seeing many teams behind the scenes. The Coaching Assist wanted to know, what are the values that separate great teams from average teams?
Felicia was quick to answer with commitment to a shared vision, trusting the process, and selflessness and accountability beyond the coaching staff. She always begins her sessions by looking into the heart of the team and creating an environment where learning can take place. If the team can’t be vulnerable, trust their process and one another, then real growth is hard to achieve.
Advice for Coaches – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know! Invest in Your Growth & Development
Through her experience as both an agent and consultant to many coaches, Felicia has seen many of the missteps that young and veteran coaches make. When young coaches are able to get a job they clearly sold themselves on what they ‘think’ they know and their passion and love for the game. While they typically do have some working knowledge about how the game is played and how to recruit (attract talent), one of the pitfalls of many young coaches, Felicia stated, “Is that they just don’t know what they don’t know yet!” Young coaches have a difficult time managing all the aspects of coaching because they simply haven’t been exposed and had enough experiences on the sidelines to help them understand the intricacies of the art of coaching. Learning to manage all that the job demands of an assistant coach is harder than it looks when you are student athlete or fan of the game. New head coaches typically experience challenges with the hiring process and having to manage from the top down for the first time. Hiring the right people who are loyal to the goals and missions of the Head Coach’s philosophies can get tricky. Felicia acknowledges that this is a huge factor in determining a Head Coach’s long-term success.
In regards to pitfalls for veteran coaches, she sees far too many coaches who have a few years of coaching experience on their resumes get comfortable, fall into a routine way of doing things and stop learning and challenging the status quo. They eventually get to a place where their way of doing things is on autopilot and they stop seeing the trends for how the game is developing, changing and anticipating what is coming next.
To be the best in any business, sports included, regardless of where you are in your career, you can’t rest on your laurels. Rather, you have to continually be a forward thinker, anticipating changes, trends, challenges and opportunities that may affect your program and the way you manage and coach the game.
Felicia stresses that it is important to remain relevant and relatable and be willing to change when change is required if you want to remain competitive and a leader in the game. From Felicia’s perspective, coaching is not a job it’s a calling and requires total commitment to learning, growing, and investing in your personal and professional development.
A Step Up
The “A Step Up” Symposium features coaches from both Men’s and Women’s basketball and last year included Lin Dunn (Kentucky), Bob Starkey (Texas A&M), Mike Neighbors (Washington), and many more that you can find here. Felicia and Johnny Allen (the Co-Director of A-Step Up) look for coaches that have been successful in the game over the years, who want to be transparent by sharing from their experiences allowing others to grow. They bring in speakers who have expertise and can effectively deliver insight on who, what, when and how to coach the game.
Felicia describes the Symposium as a life changing experience and invites all attendees to come with an open mind. Coaches should be willing to learn not just about the game but also be ready to challenge their own assumptions about the game and coaching profession. The Symposium is designed to push its attendees out of their comfort zone. Although the Symposium is a basketball symposium, the majority of time will not be spent on strictly X’s and O’s but on business, the art of coaching, and bringing out the best in others and yourself. The A STEP UP Symposium is not your typical lecture style event; it allows opportunities for face time with speakers and other participants in both formal and informal settings.
If you are able to attend the symposium, Felicia advises that you come as a learner but also as a teacher that is investing in your future and in the future of those around you. If your university isn’t willing to pay, look for scholarship opportunities or invest in yourself. After all, it’s your own future, so why not invest in you? Everyone that comes to the symposium comes for the same reason: they want to be the best and will be surrounded by others who want the same. This is an opportunity to learn, grow, stretch, be your authentic self and work towards bringing out the best version of you.
Details for the 2017 Symposium and scholarship information will be released on Felicia’s website (www.FeliciaHallAllen.com) and twitter (@fhallallen and @AStepUpFHA) as well as The Coaching Assist (@Coaching_Assist). We are excited to announce that we will also be interviewing several of the featured Symposium speakers and will be sharing their interviews with our readers over the next few months.
“There are three different levels of coaches and just because you’ve been there 5 or 20 years, doesn’t make you one or the other. It’s what you’re willing to put back into the game that gives you the greatest payoff. Some people invest in themselves because it’s their job, others do it because of their passion to learn and desire to be the best. Their level of investment determines their level of success. For some coaches basketball is their purpose, for others it’s their life, as for me, it is my ministry. I love the coaches whose passion for basketball drives them to win people not games.”
“Millennials need some freedom and creativity…they want to know how their participation contributed to the win. They want to know the ‘why.’ Learning takes place on and off the court before game time…. coaches can’t play, they teach, they instruct, they challenge and inspire. The players want to please them but if the players never have a chance to weigh in, it’s difficult for them to buy in.”
“Be a total person, be at your best. The game doesn’t have to burn you out; it can build you up and help to sustain life. Coaching in our opinion isn’t just a career, it’s a way of life. Our goal is that coaches learn to win at home and win at work.”