March 2022 AOTM: Malcolm Lemmons, HireShift

athlete of the month Mar 07, 2022

Welcome back to TWN’s Athlete of the Month! Each month we are highlighting athletes in our network to share what they have accomplished outside of sports, their contribution to the athletic community and more. 

Our March Athlete of the Month is Malcolm Lemmons - former pro basketball player and Founder of HireShift! 

Malcolm’s basketball journey began in the DC metro area. After playing at Niagara University, his journey led him to traveling the world while embarking on a pro basketball career  He’s since retired from basketball, hosted several podcasts around life after sports, and has authored two books. 

Malcolm’s unique path as an international athlete as well as his time working in the technology space inspired him to create HireShift. HireShift is a platform that helps underrepresented tech professionals discover inclusive tech companies. The organization’s goal is to bridge the gap between underrepresented talent and inclusive workplaces.

Malcolm is a great supporter of Tackle What's Next. He was on Episode 4 of our Timeout with TWN series. In the episode, Malcolm shared with us how basketball shaped who he is today and what skills he’s using from sports in his endeavors outside of the game. 

“If you want to be good at anything you’ve got to do it consistently and put the work in. So I look at it as the same thing - all those things that I learned through sports are the same traits that I carry over into my life now.”


Here's our full interview with Malcolm Lemmons! 

Why did you create Hire Shift?

My transition from being an athlete started with me breaking into tech. Although I had very positive experiences working in the tech industry, I realized that my experience wasn’t the norm. A lot of other minorities I spoke with felt excluded within their company or that they were "diversity hires” so that companies could just check the box. I felt like there needed to be a platform that helped underrepresented, minority tech talent navigate their careers and also find more inclusive job opportunities. As we are becoming a more technologically driven society, it’s crucial that the people who design and develop applications and software are representative of what the world looks like. Our vision is to build the go-to career platform for minority tech talent. 

What did being an athlete teach you about the work you are doing now?

I would say it taught me everything honestly. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there are certain foundational elements of business that apply across the board. When it comes to soft skills that you need to be successful, sports helps you build a lot of them. Things such as time management, team work, work ethic, etc… Sports are really a microcosm of life. 

What is the most important thing you did for yourself to start planning for life outside of sports?

I tried as many ideas and hobbies as possible. Over the past several years, I’ve maybe started 15+ businesses or projects that I was interested. Many of them failed and some had minor success, but I learned from each and every one of them. If you really want to figure out what you want to do with your life, you can’t just think about it. You have to put yourself out there, get feedback and explore. It’s all about trial and error and failing forward.

How did you know you were ready to shift into that mindset of life outside of sports?

Honestly, when I didn’t want to put in the work anymore, I knew it was time to move on. Being a pro athlete requires 100% effort, attention and focus because it’s your job. You can’t take multiple days off or slack off. I remember taking a week off to see how I would feel. I didn’t have any urge to get in the gym or workout. That’s when I knew it was time to find my next path. 

What advice do you have for athletes about moving on from sports to their next chapter? 

Be patient with yourself. It takes time. I’m 5 years removed from playing pro and I just now feel like Im figuring everything out. You professional career is long and life is longer. Just stay the course, keep learning and stay patient. 

Thank you Malcolm for your incredible impact on the world of sports! It has been a pleasure to highlight Malcolm throughout the month of March. Be sure to check out HireShift and support his work!