I had the privelege of being selected as the first NACMA Young Professional of the Month for 2015. While the full release is on NACMA’s site behind a membership pay wall, Bethany Cordell was kind enough to let me share the Q&A on my site.
Marketing Graduate Assistant – University of Central Missouri
NUMBER OF YEARS IN CURRENT POSITION
Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association
University of Central Missouri
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN COLLEGE ATHLETICS?
I began my assistantship knowing I wanted to work in sports marketing but uncertain in which avenue. A month in, I knew I wanted to make a career in college athletics. The constant involvement, working different events, the student-athletes, and the fans have made for an experience I can’t imagine leaving.
WHAT IS ONE THING THAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT WORKING IN THIS INDUSTRY?
The diversity in the way teams, schools, and conferences are maintained and operated. In connecting with people nationwide, I quickly learned that no two athletic departments are run the same.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
I did an informational interview with Kelly Hale, Director of Public Relations at Kansas Speedway, and asked her what keeps her going in her job. “You can’t forget that we do it for the fans – We create memories,” she replied. I think it’s particularly apt for college athletics: Forgetting about the fans and student-athletes is a surefire way to get burnt out.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL IN THIS INDUSTRY AND WHY?
I don’t think there is any way I can choose just one. Using Twitter chats (#SCAchat, #MMNchat), I’ve been able to connect with and learn about dozens of professionals in this industry. Kirby Garry at California State Monterey Bay is one I look up to because of his career path, his engagement at his university and on Twitter, and for being one of many in this industry so willing to help young professionals like me.
WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER ASPIRATIONS?
I eventually see myself in the role of the man who hired me for this assistantship. Shawn Jones, who is now the Director of Athletics at Henderson State, was the Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Operations at Central Missouri when I was hired. I hope for a similar position managing marketing, promotions, sponsorship, and other community elements.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON THE JOB?
I was courtside when our men’s basketball team won the Division II National Championship last year in Evansville, Indiana. I’ll never forget the feeling I had at the final buzzer. Being a part of a national championship run is something everyone in this industry hopes for and I was fortunate enough to experience it in my first position.
SHARE ONE FUNNY STORY OR MOMENT FROM GAME DAY.
Before each football game, one member of our youth booster club, “Mo’s Maniacs,” takes the game ball to midfield for the officials. On the first game of the year, one of the officials commandeered the little boy as I was prepping sponsors for an on-field presentation. The officials had the boy do the coin toss, rather than the game ball presentation, and forced an on-the-spot script adjustment. Every ounce of tension caused by the moment evaporated when the little boy came back to the sideline beaming because of what had just happened.
IF YOU WEREN’T WORKING IN COLLEGE ATHLETICS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I’d be working in marketing, likely something specific to social media, in Kansas City.