15 years ago today, my brother Meb Keflezighi announced publicly that he had appointed me as his new agent.
With that announcement, HAWI Management was born. At 26 years of age, and during my second year at UCLA School of Law, I was given a very special opportunity, but a very big responsibility at the same time.
Having just celebrated my 41st birthday last week, I cannot believe I’ve been operating this business for 15 years. Actually this didn’t start as a business, it started out with the intent and goal of taking care of my big brother. On this important milestone in the history of this agency, I’d like to thank Meb for taking a HUGE leap of faith in me and our ability to do special things together. Meb always dreamt big but he set attainable goals along the way.
Knowing Meb so well and appreciating his vision for his career, I felt that I could help him achieve his business goals alongside his ambitious athletic goals. We both understood that achieving his athletic goals would make everything off the track much more possible. And Meb delivered beyond all of our imaginations. His longevity and success made my job easier, and when you include how accessible and relatable Meb is to fans and the media, I must admit, Meb gave me a lot to work with.
Fortunately, and despite ups and downs throughout Meb’s long career, I am happy to say that Meb has achieved all of his athletic goals and business goals in the sport. Actually, I think I still have to work on a car deal for Meb, but that’s the only one missing. 🙂
Along the way, Meb has been able to inspire and motivate millions of people, and that is PRICELESS and the most important part. It has been a great honor to play a role in helping someone find and achieve one of their purposes in life. Meb has always had an amazing team around him, so it is great to be part of the team. And I cannot go without commending Meb’s wife Yordanos Asghedom for supporting Meb in every way so that he could pursue and fortunately achieve his dreams in the sport.
I take the time to acknowledge Meb because without his faith in me 15 years ago, I am sure I would not be where I am today. Since 2005, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with dozens of amazing clients…but it all started with one, who just happens to be my big brother and one of the greatest distance runners in US history.
I’d also like to take a moment to thank two other UCLA Bruins, Coach Bob Larsen and Jon Rankin. Coach Bob Larsen is a legend in the sport, and his mentorship and support early in my career as an agent was priceless. And Jon Rankin was my second client. Within a month or two of starting HAWI Management and working with Meb, I started working with Jon, who was one of the top milers in the nation. Spending the summer of 2005 in Europe with Jon helped accelerate my development as an agent.
I am thankful to every client I’ve had in the past and present, for entrusting me with your precious athletic careers. It is a responsibility and opportunity I value and take very seriously.
When I started HAWI Management 15 years ago, I was a one man operation with a lot of people who believed in me and my potential to succeed. After grinding for about 10 years, 2014 became a very special year for HAWI Management. In early April of 2014, the one and only Leo Manzano joined the agency as a client and we were able to secure a HOKA sponsorship contract for him. A couple of weeks later, Meb won the Boston Marathon. Those two moments opened many doors (and lots of work).
In 2015, I decided that I wanted to expand the agency because I truly believed I could utilize my experiences and my network to benefit more athletes. I brought on John Hricay, who has been tremendous in providing amazing services to our clients and creating systems to help us manage more clients efficiently, effectively, and with the personal touch that is so important. In 2016, we added Liam Fayle to the team, and he has helped expand our recruiting efforts, our network of partners and our social media savvy.
With this dream team staff and a handful of amazing consultants, I am so proud of the agency that HAWI Management has become and is becoming. But of course, we are NOTHING without the amazing clients who have trusted our agency to represent them. As I tell our clients all of the time, it is an honor and a pleasure to represent each one of them. We are proud to represent each of them, not only because of their athletic talent and potential, but because that world class talent is matched by world class character and the desire to use their journeys and platforms to inspire and motivate others. I am so proud to have a roster of clients who are all amazing people, some of whom are chasing their dreams and others who have already won World Championships, Olympic Medals, Bowerman Awards and all of whom are blazing a trail for themselves and for others. We are proud to represent a roster of clients filled with pioneers in our sport.
I’d also like to thank all of the amazing companies and organizations that we’ve worked with to partner with our clients over the years. One of the first organizations I negotiated with just days after being hired by Meb was the NYRR, and 15 years later, I am happy to say that this relationship is as strong as ever. We appreciate every company that believes in our clients and our agency. We invite prospective new partner companies, organizations, events and their representatives to connect with us and see if we can find ways to work together and feature some of our amazing clients.
As we celebrate 15 years of business, and look forward to many more years, we’d like to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been a part of our journey. The Marathon Continues….
And for this marathon to continue, I must give my amazing wife Mikal Berhe full credit for supporting me completely through the good times and the tough times. I am blessed to have an amazing life and business partner in Mikal, and our kids Senai and Misgana. And for all of these RELATIONSHIPS and BLESSINGS, I THANK GOD.