Each week, the #SpanningtheNeed podcast will present an “Inspirational Person of the Week’ and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others. This week’s featured is DJ Yokley, the Founder/CEO of Your Sports Network/YSNLive.com
Name: DJ Yokley
Organization: Your Sports Network, YSNLive.com
Bio: DJ grew up in the small town of East Palestine, OH. It was there where he discovered that hard work and passion would drive him wherever he went. A stand-out baseball player at EPHS, DJ also had his heart set on becoming a broadcaster. He served as the announcer for sports and assemblies through high school, then pursued a degree in Broadcast Communications at Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA.) Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA.)
Yokley then spent 6 years on the local news scene wearing many hats (videographer, journalist, editor, graphic designer, reporter, and sports reporter) before making the jump in careers to marketing and sales on the national level. It was there where he realized that being able to be a utility player in business would one day land him a company of his own.
DJ is excited to bring YSN to life with the help of his teammates. His heart beats for small towns, and schools that come together and root for their local teams and events. A business owner already, he knows that supporting local activities and sports is the responsibility that sustains a great relationship in towns and cities (large and small.) Bringing these two components back together in unison is going to be a challenge, but one he greatly looks forward to.
What DJ enjoys most is spending time with his wife, Sarah, and being a dad.
What made you want to go into this field?
My passion for sports, business, technology, and communication. To combine each of them to create something that has never been done before.
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
To not focus on the success of myself, but to focus on our clients and their stories. Whether it be an advertiser who is looking to create business or a student-athlete, coach, or program that needs attention. We’ve found it’s much more productive to think of success as a journey and to fall in love with the processes, products, and people rather than focusing on just being a final destination.
What is the biggest professional mistake you made along the way?
We are very open in making mistakes, it’s the best way I learn. We are actually very prideful in making errors, and as long as our intentions are good, we can adjust accordingly. Our biggest challenge was trying to be something we weren’t. We’re fortunate to be able to find the road as we go, but trying to chase other companies that don’t have our same values, integrity, and morals put us in a challenging position, to which we were fortunate to be able to identify and recalibrate our mission and be better than we ever were before.
What is the hardest decision you ever had to make in this field?
COVID-19. When businesses were shutting down left and right, we were in a position with no sports happening to continue to create content and growth in a sports streaming network. We had to “keep the machine running” with no sports or content to discuss regularly.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently regarding your profession?
Nothing, I’m grateful for every mistake and obstacle we’ve faced thus far.
What inspires you to do good in our community?
I am a firm believer that you should always leave someplace better than you found it. From eating at a restaurant, to having a business in a community. You should strive to have made an impact that people remember what you stood for, and how you made them feel. If we are able to put those ideals to work in all you do, people will see you and all you represent as a positive influence in this world.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in our community?
The ability to constitute change, and make an impact. Many times by giving your time and resources, you’re able to lead by example and light the way for others. Action will always speak louder than words.
What song best describes you or is the soundtrack to your life?
“High Hopes” Panic! At the Disco
What is your best accomplishment/experience in life?
My biggest accomplishment in my life has been being a husband and a father. My wife is a much better person than I could ever be, and I strive every day to be more like her. For her to marry me was a dream come true, and allowed me the confidence to pursue the rest of my dreams and the passion to give her the best life I could provide. With all the challenges we’ve faced to start a family, watching her be an amazing mother, and just support her however I can in whatever endeavor possible will continue to be my greatest experience.
Who is your role model and Why?
I have so many people I look to as mentors and role models in my life. What I’ve learned to do is try and take away what I feel are my favorite pieces of each of them, and put them into my everyday life. Whether it be the patience of a football coach, the forward-thinking of a local entrepreneur, the big dreams of a student-athlete, the wisdom of a teacher, or even the passion of a parent- I feel that everyone has a story to tell, and something to give that’s more than just a headline. If we take the best of everybody we meet we can find something to admire.
If there was one person that you would like to meet, past or present and why?
I’m fortunate in that I have the opportunity to meet and talk to so many people every day. However, I’d love the opportunity to talk to Elon Musk and discuss how much adversity and ridicule he has faced with some of the ideas he’s had. I feel as though he’s overcome so many doubters, and critics through optimism, and leadership- I’d love to be able to get a few nuggets from one of the best innovators in history.
A favorite quote that you live by?
Being a quote junky for the majority of my life, one I’ve learned to love is “Quates don’t work unless you do.” Easy translation for me: talking about what your want to do is the easy part, the execution is where the rubber meets the road.