Joshua White 

Josh grew up with sport. Basketball was his sport of choice. Starting out in the California Community College system, featured in Netflix Documentary “Last Chance You’ he learned the skills that enabled him to go on and play professionally. As the hit Netflix show highlights, this collegiate level of basketball is interesting, as Josh tells us, he never really expected it to elevate him to a career which saw him compete professionally on an international stage for 8 years 

“The reality is I’m a 6ft 2 guy from the states without any NCAA division 1 background, so really, it’s an achievement to earn any money to play sport at that point. Ultimately every country in the world has a 6ft 2 local player, so why would you import somebody to replace a local who could do the job? Normally they look for those anomalies, those 7ft freak athletes, not athletes like me” 

Though the odds might’ve been stacked against him, this didn’t define Josh or his career. He set out on a mission, leveraging his business acumen to build an extensive network within the global basketball community that would see him play in 15 different countries for over 50 different teams 

“I always had a knack for the business side of things, I really understood the value of networking and building relationships. I was building my resume, taking jobs and leveraging connections in my basketball network. A club from Australia I was working with at the time owed me a flight home, but I looked and saw a flight to Santiago, Chile was cheaper, and noticed they were starting a league there. So I got them to fly me there instead and I paid for my own hostel and organised try outs and I ended up making a team. I was only paid $500 dollars a month for 3 months, but it looked really good on my resume. I was able to leverage that to get higher paid jobs and then that same team 3 or 4 years later ended up offering me a really great contract to go back to the club, so it all kind of worked out. It’s all about taking those opportunities and maintaining connections, and a lot of those skills apply to the circumstances where I am now, to leverage my current role at Payoneer to land a new job with a new Fintech.” 

The Transition from flying around the world to Fintech 

Josh was playing in the Hong Kong Basketball market before making the move to London as the pandemic broke out in March 2020. Upon moving here he realised the basketball scene was not the same, and he wasn’t able to earn the same money here as he was doing so in Hong Kong. It was at this point that he began to think about transitioning he told us 

“They didn’t pay the same professionally here. I did start playing and I was training some athletes and representing them as an agent, but I also started applying for jobs and was introduced to The Transition Phase via LinkedIn in 2020, just as we headed into the lockdown. TTP got me an interview with Payoneer, where all the staff are also former GB athletes. So to be honest, it was like a duck to water” 

As Josh reflected on his next step after his time on the court was up, he explained that his first taste of office life was not all that different to his experiences as an athlete  

“It was really easy. The competitive dynamics of sales are uniquely individual, as well as team focused just like how it is in Basketball. Around targets, it’s interesting because building sales pipelines and trying to achieve targets is really similar to what we try to achieve as athletes. You know I was waking up at 4am to go and shoot shots in the dark that nobody cared about, and didn’t feel particularly rewarding to me at the time, but you know I did it to build a pipeline of my skills in order to perform when it mattered most.” 

“I remember in the interview process one of the big dogs of the company asked me how I was going to transition from such an exciting job travelling and playing professional basketball to working in a corporate office setting and doing the same day to day stuff. And it was actually a chance for me to educate her on the life of an athlete and, that at my level, I wasn’t being recruited every day, so I had to go out and cold call, nurture leads and build my own sales pipeline around landing my next contract and where I’d be 3 or 4 months from now.” 

The NBL and London Elite Basketballer is about to leave his current role as a Sales Associate, and embark on the next step of his career journey in a more senior role at another Fintech company. When asked how he made the decision to move on, and what he is most looking forward to about his new role, here’s what he had to say: 

“In order to continue to develop professionally and personally, I was taking interviews at every chance I got, trying to learn my value in the marketplace. With each interview I did, I was going in with a new lens, knowing what questions to ask and how to present myself, and talk about the skills that were meaningful.  

I wasn’t necessarily looking to leave Payoneer as it’s a great place to work, I was just looking to understand my value to leverage how I could get a promotion or pay increase and so on. I then stumbled across this Fintech company which I had an interest in, and what they were doing, with their position in the marketplace and area of Fintech. I’m super excited because I can not only see how I grow within my role, but how my team grows, the company grows and how the space in fintech grows and develops as well.” 

The New Start

Josh is now on to his next challenge, and next step up the career ladder, working as an Account Executive, responsible for new client acquisition for a Fintech company specialising in open banking infrastructure. In light of the unwavering determination and resilience he’s shown on and off the court thus far, we have no doubt he will take it all in his stride and carry on flying high! 

As he embarks on a new phase of his transition journey, we were keen to learn what his advice would be to those athletes just starting to think about their own career path 

“It’s meant so much in my professional sports career, and it still means a lot now too,  and that’s the value of networking. You’re not just shaking hands to meet somebody and say ‘what can they do for me in the future’ but if you speak to people and try to learn and show genuine curiosity in what they’re doing, it may well spark your own interests too, and you’ll learn something new. The more you know the more questions you have I feel. Just network and network and network. It started for me networking across LinkedIn and finding The Transition Phase and landing this job, and then networking throughout Fintech and London. The more you can network and the more you can learn the better.

Also be vulnerable, it’s okay to be turned down and it’s okay to be told no. I’ll ask for feedback; I want to know why I’m not being hired so I can address that in the next interview or improve those skills. The bottom-line is Network, Learn and be Vulnerable.”

If you want help in Kickstarting your own career, get in touch with the team at The Transition Phase today, you never know where it could take you!