Theresa Moore

“I found the skill set from being an athlete so helpful in being a student,” remembers former Harvard track star Theresa Moore. “This has continued throughout my life, and given me the confidence to be an entrepreneur.” If that’s the case, then Moore has developed quite a skill set, for she was a great athlete.

In high school Moore won ten Rhode Island state track championships, including the long jump, 100, and 200 meter runs — while graduating first in her class at East Providence High School. She became the first in her family to attend an Ivy League school when she chose Harvard over Stanford, despite an offer of a track scholarship from the latter school.

“Harvard has such an excellent academic reputation and I wanted to experience that,” explains Moore. “My grandmother also lived five minutes from the campus.” With need-based financial aid from Harvard “my parents were able to find a way to pay for my Harvard education,” she notes.

Moore made the most of her Harvard experience. On the track she was named All-Ivy, served as captain her senior year, and won the 100-meter dash at the 1985 Heptagonals (the Ivy League outdoor track championship), among other accomplishments. Athletics provided more than just competition. “Frank Haggerty [coached] after the men’s and women’s teams merged,” remembers Moore, He was very driven, and he created an environment that made us cohesive [as a team.] It was a learning experience watching how he handled it.”

She majored in history, graduating cum laude in 1986. Her undergraduate thesis, surprisingly, was on the 1970’s Boston busing controversy – from the South Boston Irish-American perspective. “As an African-American woman, it was more challenging this way,” Moore notes. “Writing the thesis was stressful since I was also competing and was captain of the team, but I’m glad I did it.”

Her first job out of Harvard was in the insurance industry, but after nearly five years Moore knew it wasn’t for her. “I saved six months of living expenses,” she remembers, ” and moved to Atlanta to work for the [1996] Olympics, but that didn’t happen.” Instead she went to Emory University, earned an MBA, and accepted a position at Coca-Cola. Via this circuitous route Moore finally did Olympics-related work, through Coca-Cola-related sports marketing.

She went on to similar assignments for Coca-Cola for the 1998 World Cup, 1999 Women’s World Cup, NBA and NASCAR, but it was a chance meeting with the president of ESPN that provided the next opportunity. “He said to create your own opportunities,” Moore says. So she did just that, emailing him with a job proposal as to why she should work for ESPN. Shortly afterwards, Moore was moving to New York City to work for the company.

Moore worked on advertising sales, content negotiations and acquisition, eventually moving into ESPN’s cutting edge new media arena. She also created some programming, which gave her a glimpse of her next opportunity. “I enjoyed creating content,” says Moore, “at the same time I took a class at NYU where an assignment was to create a production company.”

Moore took that assignment seriously, learning how to get financing, and “spending my vacation days flying to Los Angeles to pitch projects and network.” Soon her company T-Time Productions was born. She left ESPN in June 2006.

“We’re developing content for new media, not all sports-related. We have eight to10 projects,” says Moore. One area of particular interest to her is South Africa. “I worked on ?Images in Black and White’ [a February 2005 ESPN documentary] about African American athletes’ achievements in the context of racial, social and political changes in the country,” she says. It got her to think about the effects of AIDS on South Africa, specifically its children.

“AIDS is destroying the country’s ability to pass on its history to its children,” she says. One way to bridge the gap? “”Mini-documentaries to show in the classroom about notable Black South Africans, not more than 15 minutes,” according to Moore. She’s going to travel there in the next few months to further this project.

It’s a career that’s given Moore a seat at some of the century’s most important sporting events, and has had her on the frontiers of new media technology. What guides her? “Your career can change at any moment. You shouldn’t feel you’re locked in.”


This story was written by Stephen Eschenbach in 2006 in conjunction with the Ivy@50 celebration.

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