Published on 04 February 2015
Tomas Yu of WMMAA Pan-American Division on expanding fearlessly…Keep it Simple, Do it Often, but always give it Style!
Early this year, when the US based organization World MMA Council merged with World MMA Association | and created Continental Divisions, few organization not just in MMA recognize the value of progressive leadership. Yu, however, saw endless potential. It was his first goal in the culture of the MMA industry, to marry his past experience with some of the organization’s key goals, he was able and ready to perform as the President of the WMMAA Pan-American Division, which has broadened its reach from North America to Latin America, and the Caribbean—an accomplishment that is a direct result of the WMMAA Governing Board foresight and determination.
What personality attributes do you believe are necessary to be a successful leader in the MMA Industry?
You must have a clear vision and a direct communication style. You must have passion and be able to communicate your vision in a way that gives people something to believe in. Your team has to know you’re being honest and straightforward with them and Athletes have to know that the goals they’re working toward are part of a larger vision that benefits everyone. I think that some of these attributes can be learned with experience, but personally, I’ve found that everyone has an inherent skill set. Everyone has particular attributes that work for them and when you learn how to emphasize those attributes and build on them, that’s when real success can happen.
Since you were appointed this year as president to the WMMAA Pan-American Division, The Pan-American Division has grown by more than 50 percent and you’ve been credited with expanding the organization’s reach into the global markets. What do you owe to this success?
The last two years of building, financial models through data mining proved to be a transformational time that set the standard for how we would proceed. We came up with core business principles in a sport environment, like how to drive organization value, how to best integrate our athletes, how to provide a flexible showcase of talent, etc. Once we set the agenda, everyone in the organization has a very clear focus.
When it came to reaching the global market, it was almost like we were playing offense and defense at the same time. While meeting the needs domestically, we also had to recognize their international business needs. During this process we recognized our need for global leaders, so we merged organizations and partnered with (Fedor Emilianenko, Vadim Finkelchtein, Alexander Engelhardt, Christopher Luttrell, Jacinto Mordillo) strong, ethical, professional talent to represent each other internationally.
For many multicultural young people in business, the glass ceiling still exists, but you’re a young leader who’s shattered it. What obstacles did you have to overcome in the process and what advice would you offer to young leaders interested in entering your industry?
Every position, whether you’re young or old, has its obstacles. To be honest, I try not to spend too much time thinking about how I’m a young leader running an organization and how rare that is. What works for me and what I would recommend is focusing on the task at hand; how you can fulfill your obligations, and support your organization as well as your team. If you can state your case clearly and show concrete examples of your hard work, you will get noticed. I’m not saying I didn’t face challenges or that getting here was easy, because it wasn’t, but the best thing about the glass ceiling is that it’s glass. It may not shatter the first time you try, but it will eventually if you keep on punching.
- WMMAA Pan-American
- Tomas Yu
- Alex Engelhardt
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