As of yesterday, I have formally accepted a new job at Fordham University as the Athletic Facilities and Events Manager. After a short one year at American University as the Athletics Operations Manager, I am moving on and really excited for this new opportunity. Before I get into this post I would like to personally thank my boss Jordan Tobin at American University for the opportunity to work for him over this past year. His leadership, industry knowledge, willingness to work, and support over this recent process have been everything I could ever have asked for in a boss with my first full time job. I don’t take that for granted, and will be forever grateful for my experience here and where it has lead me.
For those who follow my blog, this may come as a bit of a surprise. I have been on record talking about the challenges I was looking forward to entering year two at American, and coming into this role being that it was my first full time job in college athletics, I had every intention of staying for multiple years to try and make a long lasting impact. However, I have also spoken several times on the importance of family, and how that sacrifice in almost every case is necessary if you are determined to advance in this industry. Think about it: Division I athletic program, school that values education, specific department openings (2-3 positions per department), just about narrows it down to really 2-3 schools (and really 2 total jobs that I’m qualified for!) that I would be willing to take a chance on and continue my career at, that also happen to allow me to live home and be close to my family. Needless to say, the opportunities are scarce, and I found one.
I am so excited for this new opportunity, and after 3 years of working, learning, and networking in order to get a head start in this industry, I have finally found a place where I can excel in my career and be around my family, both things I put such a high value on in my life. I also recognize that this is something I should not take for granted. Yes I have worked hard to get here, but I still have a long way to go to really get to where I want to be. The hard work is only getting started…
As I have mentioned before, time and time again, this blog is meant for me to try and inspire people who want to pursue this career path, or any career path, that motivates them to no end. I have a purpose, I have figured out the “why” and I am not going to stop until I have accomplished everything it is that I want to in this industry. So many people have expressed the challenges that come with working in college athletics. Multiple internships, volunteer experiences, low salaries early on, but I wasn’t willing to accept any of it. I always knew if I worked hard, treated people right and put a value on building strong relationships with successful people in the same industry, that when the time was right I would be ready for any opportunity. For those looking for that first job, or for those grinding away from home sacrificing so many elements of their life just to advance and reach their goals, use this today as a glimmer of hope that you can achieve whatever it is that you want to, wherever you want to. Put in the time, work on your craft, and avoid complacency at all costs.
The truth is, however, this experience has been extremely humbling. I am going to provide a list of people below that I need to thank for assisting me in the process, who have guided me to this point and have helped in some way, without ever asking for anything in return (I apologize if I missed anyone):
Jordan Tobin- American University
Dr. Michael McFarland- Bloomsburg University
Kevin Wood- Springfield College
Matthew Conway- Boston College
Jim Paquette- Loyola
Brad Bates- Boston College
Gene DeFilippo- Turnkey Sports
Tom Mandato- UMBC
Greg Smith- Emory College
Alan Fioravanti- Boston College
Andrew Smith- American University
Josephine Harrington- American University
Kevin Sponzo- Seton Hall
Steve Novak- Boston College
Thorr Bjorn- University of Rhode Island
Vince Nicastro- Big East Conference
Soak that in for a second….yes, people from all over the map, some who I have never even met in person! All of them are beyond established individuals who have been so willing to talk, mentor, in some cases supervise, and never hesitate to pick up the phone when I have a question (and I have a lot of them!). That is the beauty of this industry, and it is why this blog is something that I started. Early on, it’s hard to give back, so by me writing these posts, I hope it shows them that I am trying to pay it forward myself and help anyone I can who wants to get their foot in the door. Each one of these people have made so many sacrifices in order to pursue a career they were passionate about, understand the process, and have been so willing to help an eager young professional like myself who is just trying to find his way.
Why am I showing you this? Because the industry, while competitive and popular, is extremely small. You can’t do it alone, and seeking assistance from people that have had success in the same category is the only way to truly learn, grow, and take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of you. Every single element of my career that I have advanced in is owed to the people that I have listed above, and many more. When I graduated from UMass, I thought I had the path figured out. Very quickly, I realized that this wasn’t the case, and if I was going to get started on the right foot, my work ethic, leadership skills, and ability to seek mentorship were all going to have to improve. The faster you humble yourself and learn that there are people out there who can genuinely help you succeed, the better chance you have of making a real impact, regardless of the industry that you are in. I look forward to transitioning back home, and starting on this new journey!