The Power of the Pivot With J. Michael Prince, President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing

J. Michael Prince, President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing

Success isn't linear and J. Michael Prince's career path is a testament to that. In a recent interview with The Brownestone Group, he credits his success to various pivots in his career that led him to his current position as the President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing.

 J. Michael Prince's career has been earmarked with pivots that have led him to Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer roles at brands such as Nike, Converse, Cole Haan, and Guess?.

Now, as the President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing, the licensing arm of the United States Polo Association, Prince oversees the multi-billion-dollar global U.S. Polo Assn. brand. Prince credits his success thus far to his willingness to build on his responsibilities, embrace lessons from his mentors, collaborate with others, and say "yes" to new and challenging opportunities.

"Looking back, my finance background gave me the solid foundation I needed to build my career," said Prince, "Back then, I knew I needed to pivot from being viewed as a good finance person to being a great business leader with a global perspective spanning brand, commerce, strategy, product, and more, in order to keep moving forward in my career."

Growth and self-awareness are two recurring themes throughout his career. After receiving his MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, he knew there was more for him to accomplish. So, in 2005, he embarked on the world of global fashion and retail when a business school classmate reached out to him about a position at Converse.

The opportunity to lead the company's finance and accounting team was steeped in value as he was able to work with a sports-centric global brand, and alongside world-class athletes including Dwyane Wade, all the while learning from top executives at Nike and Converse. Prince credits this pivot to be the most important of his career as it served as a launching pad for his work in the global fashion industry.

But it didn't take long for him to notice that very few general managers had finance backgrounds. Most had experience in brand and product. Leveraging his keen sense of self-awareness, he knew he had to make a change and expand his expertise if he wanted to grow. Then, in 2009, he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer for all Nike Affiliates including Cole Haan, Converse, Hurley, and Umbro.

This experience gave him the runway to gain a deeper understanding of these complex and diverse businesses and realize that, if he wanted to succeed, he'd have to transition from being a scorekeeper to a playmaker in the industry.

With this in mind, Prince began creating forward-thinking strategies and highlighting growth opportunities and operational improvements. This willingness to roll up his sleeves and get to work, take risks, and tackle new challenges helped him evolve and gain confidence. This confidence gave him the clarity he needed to realize his full potential in areas such as brand and digital marketing as well as leadership and mentorship.

Prince urges anyone who is looking to advance in their career to look at the big picture, set short- and long-term goals accordingly, and be willing to adapt along the way.

And, when a person comes face to face with a big opportunity, Prince says, "You have to do everything you can and give everything you have to seize that moment. You might succeed or you could fail, but what's important is you don't have any regrets."

About U.S. Polo Assn. and USPA Global Licensing Inc. (USPAGL)

U.S. Polo Assn. is the official brand of the United States Polo Association (USPA), the nonprofit governing body for the sport of polo in the United States, and one of the oldest sports governing bodies, having been founded in 1890. With a global footprint of $1.7 billion and worldwide distribution through more than 1,100 U.S. Polo Assn. retail stores, department stores, independent retailers, and e-commerce, U.S. Polo Assn. offers apparel for men, women, and children, as well as accessories, footwear, travel, and home goods in 180 countries worldwide. Recently ranked the fifth-largest sports licensor and 38th overall in License Global magazine's 2020 list of "Top 150 Global Licensors," U.S. Polo Assn. now takes its place alongside such iconic sports brands as National Football League, and National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball. Visit

USPA Global Licensing Inc. (USPAGL) is the for-profit subsidiary of the USPA and the exclusive worldwide licensor for the USPA's global licensing program. USPAGL manages the global, multi-billion-dollar U.S. Polo Assn. brand and is the steward of the USPA's intellectual properties, providing the sport with a long-term source of revenue. USPAGL and its subsidiary Global Polo Entertainment (GPE) also manage Global Polo TV and global broadcasts that bring more awareness to the sport of polo. Visit

About The Brownestone Group

The Brownestone Group was launched in 2015 with a mission to offer the most effective executive search, strategic consulting, and leadership advisory services. We introduce exceptional talent to brands and their leaders, transforming businesses and careers. Founder Tim Boerkoel possesses more than 25 years of retail, consumer, hospitality, and luxury experience, advising and recruiting for startups and global corporations alike in their searches for CEOs, Presidents, Board Members, and C-Suite talent. Brownestone, along with its global network of affiliate partners, operates as a true partner to clients ensuring swift yet long-lasting results. 

For further information, contact:
Stacey Kovalsky - Senior Director, Global Communications
Phone +001.561.790.8036 - E-mail:

Source: U.S. Polo Assn.