Assistant Director, Game Presentation & Fan Experience at UM Althletics
What do you do as the Assistant Director of Game Presentation & Fan Experience?
-Primary game presentation contact for Michigan Field Hockey, Wrestling, Track & Field, Men's Lacrosse, & Men's Tennis.
-Coordinate game day presentation including in-game entertainment, halftime acts, national anthem talent, spirit squads, on-field/court promotions, recognitions, and special events
-Create and execute promotions plans and manage production budgets.
-Oversee all student engagement and communications.
-Manage H.A.I.L. student rewards program and student athletic twitter account.
Why did you choose to major in Psychology and how has that affected your career thus far?
I chose Psychology because I was unsure of my career path while I was a student, and psychology was an area that I had a lot of interest in and offered classes that were intriguing to me. I was a student-athlete here at Michigan and had also entertained the idea of going into sport psychology.
By majoring in psychology, it allowed me to have a lot of freedom and explore many different career paths. In each of my positions that I’ve held, I’ve been able to apply knowledge related to human behavior and perception. A lot of my current position is coming up with ways to engage fans and students at sporting events, and being aware of how humans tend to think and behave as individuals and even more specifically, in groups, has been able to help hone in my creativity in a productive way.
What was your career path like?
My career path took me down a few different roads, however, all within sport. I began in performance science. I interned with U-M Strength and Conditioning and USA Women’s Field Hockey. Both were great experiences, but I decided to move out of the “training” world, and see what other opportunities were available. I moved into gameday and events, working for the Detroit Tigers Foundation, then eventually landed my first full-time position as a development coordinator with Wayne State University Athletics.
After a year and a half, I found that career wasn’t something I truly enjoyed. Luckily, during that time, I had worked frequently with our marketing director on ideas and projects, and I caught myself enjoying this type of work much more. From there, an opportunity opened up at UM in game presentation, and I have now been here for just over a year.
What advice do you have both professionally and personally for students and recent alumni who are interested in pursuing a career similar to yours?
Working in sports in any position can be a lot to handle with time demands and the overall speed of the business. Be prepared to work hard and often! There are also a lot of behind-the-scenes work that isn’t as glamorous as being at a venue on game day, but all of it is necessary to bring a show together. Don’t let any type of work be below you, especially when starting out. Many organizations end up hiring from within, and will appreciate not only your willingness to contribute at any level, but your full understanding of how an organization/process works.
Anyone who is specifically looking to work within game presentation – Observe, observe, observe! Look for opportunities to shadow or help out at events and become familiar with the flow of different sport game days. When attending events, try and look at them from an operational standpoint (How was the event executed? What type of promotions or engagements did they use to enhance the guests/fans experience? Were they successful? What means of entertainment were used and available? (Videoboard content, music, on-court promotions, etc.). There are also many elements that go into creating, marketing, and executing an event. This often means you’re working with multiple departments such as ticketing, graphic design, communications, digital/video, etc. Shadowing other departments can be helpful to gain an understanding of how you can better work with and utilize each area to create the best experiences and opportunities for your fans. Affect effect.
How has the University of Michigan alumni network helped you thus far in your career?
Almost every position I’ve held thus far has been driven by a connection I have made by being a Michigan alum. It’s almost impossible to avoid running into Michigan grads – We’re everywhere! The connection you are able to make with another simply by being a fellow Wolverine is strangely very powerful. There is a high level of pride, care, and willingness to help up-and-coming professionals, and it has definitely affected me first-hand. 5/6 of my opportunities have stemmed from knowing a Michigan alum, or an alum reaching out on behalf, and I’ve now had the opportunity to do the same for students alike.
If possible, would you change anything about your career path?
No. There are times where I may have felt that I had “wasted my time,” but looking back, I have been able to come from a very well-rounded background which sometimes can be unique. When you study and work in the exact same field from start to finish, it can be easy to get stuck in a box or only see or know things a certain way. By dabbling in a few different departments and organizations, I feel the unpredictability of my career path has actually done me some good – Not only professionally, but personally too. It takes a few failures and tough decisions to help you grow as an individual, and I’ve had a great journey so far.