Aux Cord: ESPN’s Greydy Diaz Discusses Work, Family, and Life

Photo by Louis Damato
Photo by Louis Damato

One of the rising stars at ESPN is 23 year old Greydy Diaz. Diaz currently works as a Scheduling & Sponsorship Ad Specialist but has goals to be come an on-air personality at ESPN. Diaz has been with ESPN since November 2014, and came to the network after completing internships with NBCUniversial, Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment.

Diaz is a college graduate from Fairfield University, with a degree in B.S. International Business, with concentrations in Business Management, Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

While she was a student at Fairfield University, she studied abroad in both Barcelona and Nicaragua, where she attended Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, and Universidad Centroamericana.

Prior to her collegiate studies, Diaz was a high school women’s basketball standout at Kimball Union Academy, where she scored over 1000 points in her HS career.

A Chinese proverb says, “Wheresover you go, go with all your heart. If you always give, you will always have.”

Diaz puts her heart into everything she does. We caught up with Diaz to discuss a wide range of topics, including her work at ESPN, the impact of her Hispanic heritage, her love for her family, and why she gives back to the community where she grew up every summer.

What is the typical work day for you at ESPN?

I get to work at 8am, and I do a 40 minute workout, I am doing two-a-days a few times a week (lol). Then, I go into work and send out a few emails. I take a late lunches to workout which are usually followed by a meeting with our Miami or Mexico offices regarding our commercials and features.

From what I gathered from my research, working at ESPN is a lot of fun. Mini golf in the office…playing rec league basketball. Is this true?

I am one of only a few women that play in the basketball league at ESPN. That is a bunch of fun, it is once of week, mini golf happens in the office, or sometimes I will grab a football and say “hey, let’s play catch really quick during break”, or we play ping-pong at times, we do a bunch of things.

How does ESPN balance work and the enjoyment of sports at work?

At ESPN, they definitely stress work-life balance, so during my lunch breaks I actually workout everyday, that’s how I spend my off-time.

What does your department at ESPN focus on?

My department focuses on TV advertisements.

I actually work on the international team, so I focus on all the international features, commercials, and billboards for SportsCenter and studio shows. So its probably something you don’t think, just as we do have a domestic network, there is also international too.

Photo by Louis Damato
Photo by Louis Damato

What foreign languages do you know since you work with the international team?

I am fluent in Spanish, and I know like basic words in Chinese. I lived in China for four months, I studied it for three years, and its a very difficult language.  I definitely enjoyed studied it, and the culture too.

What is one of your main goals in your career?

Be an on-air journalist who specifically works on features. I love the idea of story-telling and just connecting with people and have them open up to you. Which I think I am really good at, and that is something I am pursuing right now. I am interviewing different college athletes, that I know of, know from friends, and I am connecting with a lot of people from ESPN. This is what I want, I am going to do everything and everything I can to be a sponge right now. I am 23 years old, and its just the beginning of my career.

Photo rights to Greydy Diaz
Photo rights to Greydy Diaz

 

Do you watch a lot of ESPN programs while you are at work?

We all have TVs at our desks. I honestly have ESPN on basically all day, I am either watching SportsCenter, His & Hers, Highly Questionable, I am watching everything.

When you are watching those shows, do you ever notice when your own commercials/sponsors you helped line up air on TV?

Yea, it’s like you start to recognize the ads a little more. It’s like “oh wait, I work on that one.” It’s cool to see what you work on TV.

What is the biggest compliment you have gotten so far at ESPN?

I want to say quite a few months ago I was talking with somebody who has worked at the company for about fifteen years. I was telling her what I wanted to do regarding interviewing athletes and pursuing that direction. She told me that “honestly Greydy, I can tell how genuine you are, by the way you speak and carry yourself. Although what you want to do isn’t in my department I am more than happy to have you in my department if you ever want.”

You just never know what of impact you might leave someone with, just by being honest and showing who you are. I think that its really cool that somebody picked up on it and they were like “you’re really young, but you can tell how genuine you are and how bad you want something. I know you are going to work hard because you can just tell.”

Photo by Louis Damato
Photo by Louis Damato

What has been the best moment you have been a part of at ESPN?

My best moment at ESPN, has to be with our Vice President of Programming, Carol Stiff. She has become a mentor of mine and who I go to regularly. I just talk about my career and aspirations and I mentioned to her that I was very interested in shadowing anybody who would be willing whether its talent.

She was like “Do you want to go to the Women’s Sweet 16 this year?”  I was like “absolutely”, I went with her and sat right behind Doris Burke who was calling the game and we sat in the media row. It was just incredible and she took me around the whole arena and introduced me to a bunch of different people along with attending press conferences. Having Carol take me meant a lot to me, she knows that I am going to work hard and pursue my next adventure.

Photo rights to Greydy Diaz
Photo rights to Greydy Diaz

You went to a game on Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour this year with your sister. What was that experience like?

My sister is a huge Kobe fan, and for her birthday I took her to a game in January against the Houston Rockets. We flew out to Los Angeles for a long weekend and it felt really good to see one of her dreams come true. I would do anything for my sister, this is the only time and last time she got to see him play in person.

What is the relationship like with your sister?

My sister and I are very close, I come from a very small family. We grew up playing one on one, and a lot of times she would kinda beat me lol. I will still never really fully admit to it, my sister was really good, she was a point guard. We went to the same high school and she is two years younger than me so when she came to my school she took over the point guard position which is more natural for her. I became the shooting guard which is more natural for me. Just playing with my sister was just awesome, but at the end of the day I love her to death and I would do anything and just knew how much she loved Kobe growing up.

She and I have an incredible relationship and talk all the time. She is the probably one of the funniest people I know, I love being able to call and FaceTime her and to see how things are going, she is a smart kid.

Photo rights to Gabby Diaz's Instagram
Photo rights to Gabby Diaz’s Instagram

Your family are Celtics fans, and your sister is a Lakers fan. What is that like?

Everybody in my family is a Celtics fan and then there is my sister who is a Lakers fan. Ever since she was very little, her screename was KobeLova8, and to this day I still don’t understand lol. I do because Kobe is great but coming from Boston there is a huge rivalry there. She was like Lakers all the way, and who knows she might live in LA one day.

What is one of your biggest dreams in the sports industry?

One of my big dreams is to do something with the Olympics because of my passion for cultures and languages, coupled with sports, it is the perfect combo. I have Olympic dreams, I really do.

Did you ever think one day you would say “Greydy Diaz,  Scheduling & Sponsorship Ad Specialist at ESPN” ?

Honestly, I didn’t because growing up I thought I would end up working at a multinational corporation abroad. Again, the whole travel component, I love to travel, I wish I could have better words to explain that. I thought I would be working at a multinational corporation, living and working abroad and raising kids abroad. I didn’t really think about working in sports growing up, but after college I actually took the summer off and traveled. I realized that “man I really do like sports, I enjoyed my internship at NBC Sports maybe their could be something their for me. I am so happy it all worked out; I am at ESPN now.”

Photo by Louis Damato
Photo by Louis Damato

During the summers, you are a youth basketball camp coach. What is that like?

Yes, every summer I coach at the Academic Basketball Awareness Camp and its hosted at Merrimack College in Massachusetts. Its a way to give back to my community back home, I am a product of a Boys and Girls club. To work with a bunch of younger girls who I have known for many years, its really awesome. I was actually inducted into the camp’s hall of fame last year, which is really cool.  So I was a camper, and now I am coaching, its an awesome opportunity for me to give back.

How big was it as a kid going to the Dominican Republic and being of Hispanic heritage?

It was huge, growing up my mom would bring my siblings and me to the Dominican Republic every summer. I actually still go there every summer and I am planning on going there this summer. So my Hispanic heritage means everything. Growing up I was always the minority, I went to a Catholic school and then went to a private school the rest of my life, it wasn’t really diverse. It made me want to know more about my culture.

Diaz8
Greydy Diaz carves up a wave at Playa Macao beach in the Dominican Republic during a surf lesson.