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How Sean Bradley went from sports broadcaster to Heart and Vascular hype man
a man in a suit holds several boxes in front of a table

"When you believe in the product, it doesn't feel like sales,” says Heart & Vascular outreach manager Sean Bradley, frequently seen taking boxes upon boxes of marketing materials to referring providers. “I'm not selling a widget for profit. I'm selling a chance for a patient to get a care or a treatment that could save their life.”

— All photos courtesy of Sean Bradley

If Emory Heart & Vascular was a hip-hop group, unquestionably, Sean Bradley would be its most revered hype man. As the first-ever outreach manager dedicated to promoting the entire service line, Bradley is here to ad-lib, interject, and shout the praises of each division – from cardiothoracic surgery to vascular care to electrophysiology.  

You name it, he’s touted it.  

Specifically, Bradley is responsible for cultivating existing referral relationships outside of the Emory Healthcare Network, working with clinicians who routinely send their patients into the Emory Network, most often because their patients require specialized areas of care like surgery or interventional cardiology.  

Bradley brags about the various services that Emory can uniquely provide their patients and is constantly pounding the pavement looking for new referral sources – including providers that haven’t historically sent a lot of patients to Emory. 

The method? “I like to identify a physician champion and arrange time for them to get out in the community with new providers, shake hands, meet one-on-one, and showcase themselves as well as the division as a whole,” he said. 

Bradley’s role can at times also feel like that of a 20th-century traveling salesperson. Some days, he’ll take to the highway at the crack of dawn, driving over to Carrollton or Macon for what he calls the “roadshow” part of his job.  

When he arrives in a new location, he brings all the marketing materials he can carry and distributes them by hand, dropping by all the physician practices as he can before turning back around and heading back to Atlanta. 

There are networking lunches and dinners, happy hours, and attendance at fundraising walks – all get-togethers and events that Bradley curates to feel “educational and social,” he said. “Once we get those providers in the room with us, if they're willing to give us the time, nine times out of 10, they're very interested in what we have to offer,” he said. 

The bragging about Emory part comes naturally – “Whoever will listen, it's fun to talk about what we do and how it's different here. It's really interesting to sell Emory because Emory doesn't necessarily need to sell itself. The work that our physicians and staff do, it writes its pitch for me,” he said.  

Outside of his role with Emory Healthcare, Bradley also performs weddings -- three, so far, for friends, having gotten ordained online. This particular photo is from his cousin's wedding last September. "She told me to dress however I wanted and I really took that to heart," he says.

In contrast to someone working for a pharmaceutical company or medical device manufacturer, he said, it’s the constant research, innovation, and compassionate care that does the talking.  

“On the surface, it's sales, right? Because you're making cold calls essentially. But when you believe in the product, it doesn't feel like sales,” he said. “I'm not selling a widget for profit, I'm selling a chance for a referring provider's patient to get a care or a treatment that could save their life, extend their life, vastly improve the quality of their life.” 

Although the job is a natural fit for Bradley, it’s a long way downstream from where he started his career journey, as an aspiring sports broadcaster who picked up shifts with University of Florida’s Gator Radio Network while attending college in the Sunshine State.  

It was a dream that started early. Back in high school, as a kid who idolized NBA stars like Allen Iverson, he was the announcer for his school basketball games – leaning into the dramatic narration and making it “a whole big production,” he says. “It felt like what I was born to do. I was not born to be an athlete, unfortunately. I just was not blessed genetically. So, it felt like a way for me to be involved with sports and still participate.” 

Picking up his diploma in 2008, right at the peak of the Great Recession, Bradley’s first job was at a local Fox Sports Radio affiliate in Jacksonville. It seemed like his lifelong aspirations were coming true. But alas, just three weeks in, “everybody got laid off. Everybody,” he remembers. “I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ The entire industry was in chaos.” 

In trying to figure out his “plan B,” Bradley’s mind wandered back to childhood, thinking about conversations around the dinner table with his mom, a nurse who had worked in medical surgery, then home and hospice care. He recalls hearing about her work helping patients and their families through the toughest times they’d ever experienced.  

He began to wonder if perhaps healthcare would be an environment where he could make a steady paycheck – and, unlike in journalism, find stability – while still having that work hold meaning. 

The move did have some precedence. Bradley’s very first job technically was working in the kitchen at a nursing home situated around the corner from his family’s house when he was in high school. “To this day, that’s the best job I ever had,” he says. “It was so fulfilling. You could sit there and have conversations with people, and they were so appreciative of the work that you did.” 

As his next move, Bradley landed a gig at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, the city where he was originally born – and immediately loved it.  

(Bradley is also a “die-hard” Philly sports fan, but don’t hold that against him.) 

A few years later, he migrated south to Atlanta, landing in Emory’s vascular surgery division, which was then – as now – going through a period of rapid growth and change. Soon after, he began to help manage operations alongside the then-Chief of Vascular Surgery Will Jordan, MD, at Emory University Hospital (EUH). From there, he moved into a project coordination role on the School of Medicine side.  

When the pandemic hit, Bradley spent his extra hours pursuing an online master’s degree in health communications from Boston University, earning his diploma in 2022. His graduate studies focused on a program that combined marketing, communications, and public relations directly related to large healthcare systems.  

One of his larger goals as outreach manager for Heart & Vascular is to cultivate more community involvement – attending more heart walks and grassroots fundraising efforts, engaging with pockets of folks who may not realize how much the service line has to offer them and their families. 

Meanwhile, he continues to throw himself into knowing everything about cardiovascular medicine – stopping just shy of pursuing a medical degree. 

“I am so ingrained in the lexicon of surgery and medicine at this point. I’m always joking with our surgeons, like, ‘If you just let me do one surgery, I could figure it out!’ Fortunately, they have not granted me that wish yet. But it's fascinating,” he says. “Any chance I get to watch a case, I'll do it. It’s fascinating what our team can do, and it is ever evolving. It's changing daily. The clinical trials that we do, the new devices that we're using, you never thought you would live in a time like this.” 


  • What does Bradley love most about Atlanta?  

“It’s truly a city of unique neighborhoods. Atlanta has something for everyone and every mood. Also, our airport makes life so much easier. I can’t pretend there aren’t times when I just want to leave Atlanta, and if I do, it’s a 90-minute flight to like 90 percent of the country.” 

  • Biggest recent travel highlight?

 Going on an Alaskan cruise.  

  • Proudest accomplishment outside of his work life? 

Hands down, the state of his immaculate lawn. 

“I have a whole camera roll full of these kinds of photos,” Bradley says, proudly.

“This is ridiculous, but when the pandemic started, there was nothing to do, so my passion project became yard work. I bought a lawnmower, started watching YouTube videos on fertilizer, and I became so obsessed with lawn maintenance to the point where now literally when I cut my grass every Saturday morning, I take pictures of it and I send it to everybody,” he says, chuckling.  

“I know I could come up with some answer about some professional milestone that I've reached. I will tell you that my grass is my number one pride and joy. There’s chemistry behind it, nitrogen and oxygen, and you could become a mad scientist mixing fertilizers.”  

  • What’s one thing that no one knows? 

At one point in time, Bradley could name every single signer of the Declaration of Independence. Having grown up in Philly, the Revolutionary War reigned supreme, after all. So, naturally, he spent his waking hours memorizing the contents of these historic documents. As the kids do. 

Just don’t ask him if he likes the National Treasure movie franchise, which he says is “a lot like doctors watching Grey's Anatomy, where you just point out the inaccuracies.” 


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