Lara Blume McGee
Founder, Team Up World - Sports Non-Profit Management • Executive Director, ALS in Wonderland Foundation
With a team attitude, Lara Blume McGee has made a career of helping others. As the founder of Team Up World, a sports non-profit management firm, she has worked with more than 50 players in the NFL and NBA to assist them with their altruistic endeavors.
After her father developed ALS, a progressive degenerative disease that limits the brain’s ability to control voluntary muscle movement, she founded the ALS In Wonderland Foundation, which raises awareness and provides funding directly for the benefit of Arkansans with the condition. People with ALS often lose the ability to speak, eat, move, and, eventually, breathe. The foundation has no paid staff only volunteers that operate the non-profit.
A mother of four, McGee has lived in Miami, New York City, and Southern California, but moved back to Arkansas in 2012.
Hometown: Little Rock
First job: The Dollar Movie Theater on Market Street.
What was your first big break? Signing my first NFL client. I was 20 years old, and New Orleans Saints linebacker Keith Mitchell contacted me about running his non-profit events and operating the daily needs of his charity. There was one hitch, I had to meet with his agent, the one and only Leigh Steinberg, who was the basis for the 1996 film Jerry Maguire.
What attracted you to your career? There’s something special about being able to say, “I’m truly making a difference.” Working for an organization that is making a difference and provides a level of pride and personal satisfaction.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Creating a grass root movement with the ALS in Wonderland Foundation, which has raised more than $250,000 in a mere 5 years, and touched 89 Arkansans affected by ALS.
What advice would you give young ladies? Never be afraid to dream big. Set your goals from day one super high. Write them down. Stay focused. Work your tail off.
What do you love most about what you do? I am the happiest when I am helping someone else. It brings me great joy to give hope and comfort to those living with ALS.
What quality do you most admire in other women? Authenticity, compassion and passion.
Person, past or present, you admire most? My husband Dr. Brian McGee. He is a man of good character and inspires me in every way a human can inspire someone. He does not back down when principles are involved. Because of his character, I can trust that any decisions he makes will be well thought through and be in the best interest of our family.
Do you have a personal motto? No excuses! You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Favorite food: Mexican