Indy Native Eve Wright Taylor Makes It Big—with the Miami Heat!

IM caught up with the NBA executive, author, and Park Tudor grad ahead of tonight’s showdown with the Pacers.
Eve Wright Taylor

As the Indiana Pacers visit Miami tonight for their final meeting with the Heat in this NBA regular season, at least one noteworthy Indianapolis native–turned–South Floridian might struggle with mixed loyalties: Eve Wright Taylor, Park Tudor high-school alumna, class of ’92. Since graduating from DePauw University and Indy’s IU School of Law, Taylor has joined the Heat front office, where she is currently a vice president and associate general counsel. Taylor is one of a growing group of female and minority executives in the NBA, whose teams last year employed 44 women as VPs, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport’s 2013 NBA Racial and Gender Report Card.

Taylor previously provided legal counsel for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LGPA) and founded theSpark, an executive development program for women. Already an entrepreneur, wife, and new mother, Taylor can add “author” to her resume this month with the release of her first book, Life at the Speed of Passion: Create a Life of Intention, Purpose, and Integrity (Career Press), which hits shelves on April 21.

IM caught up with Taylor before tonight’s big game to glean some of the secrets of her success (which, let’s face it, the slumping Pacers could probably benefit from as well):

With your family still in Indiana, is there any rivalry when the Pacers and Heat face each other?

My family is pretty proud of where I am professionally and what my life landscape looks like—and they’re most proud that it looks the way I want it to—so I’m happy that they’re happy for me.

With such a busy career, what made you want to write this book?

I’ve always kind of been interested in writing. Putting the commitment into it was a huge accomplishment for me. I’m running—many times—in very different places, and so prioritizing it at this point in my life, I said, “You know what? This is really something I’m passionate about. I really want to write, so let’s do it.”

How did you decide on the title? What does a life of “intention, purpose, and integrity” mean to you?

I don’t think any of us wants to be in a situation where we just live based on what other people think we should be doing, or according to the circumstances that happen to befall us. So it’s about the intention, your intentional and purposeful living. And then doing it with integrity, too. There are a lot of ways you can get to the finish line, but doing it in a way that really doesn’t compromise your moral center or your personal dignity—I think it’s all possible. I think there’s room for all of us to have some success and achievement.

It seems like you’ve made it quite far with that mindset.

I’m from the Midwest, so I never think I’ve “made it.” Everyone puts on their pants one leg at a time. This has been my experience; people have shared with me, and I’m sharing with others.

Look, I’m an African-American woman [working] in professional sports. You don’t see a ton of this. There are certainly folks whose shoulders I stand on in this industry, but we’re still working through that. No one hands you the life you want to live. It doesn’t just fall in your lap. There are some things you have to do to put the pieces together.

What’s something readers can take from this book? How can people reach that ideal?

As long as you have another day, another breath, there’s something you can do to change [your life]. And it might not be the jarring things. You may not quit your job and give up your mortgage and your family to move to California to surf. But maybe it’s the small changes. You do other kinds of things to enrich yourself. You may not get to your goal via a straight line. You may take a deviation to the left, because you’re getting a skill set—a deviation to the right, because you’re broadening your network. But ultimately, if you’re still moving in that same direction, you get there.

What’s next for you now? Would you consider writing another book?

That’s certainly on the table. I think the sky’s the limit. I’m still figuring it out. I think there are new experiences to be had and new things to do every day.