First event, person, or job that sparked your interest in this field of work?
There are two very influential people that have led me to where I am today. The first of which is Dr. Ted Bulling, of Nebraska Wesleyan University. When I was a student-athlete under Coach Bulling’s direction, he allowed me the opportunity to assist in the hosting of our annual high school track meets. This was my first taste of meet management!! He would allow me to assist with officiating, packet pick-up, timing, and other general meet operations.
The second person is Da’Nelle Earl, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I will never forget sending Da’Nelle an email as I was teaching junior high Social Studies to introduce myself and ask if I could assist her in her duties at Nebraska. In one of her busiest times of year, Da’Nelle opened up her office to me and allowed me to work as an intern. It was during those evenings in the Husker Track offices that I truly decided that I wanted to pursue a career in Operations and leave the field of education.
Best career or work advice you ever received?
I was once told to take every opportunity that was placed in front of me if it would allow me to grow in the profession or meet people within the track and field community. I believe that these words can far outstretch the world of just track and field. A person never knows who they will meet during one of these unique opportunities. I’ve had the privilege to volunteer and work at a variety of championship events which has allowed me to build friendships and led me to where I am today within my profession.
If you could go back to your first day on the job and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
If I could go back to my first day on the job or as an intern, I would tell myself to slow down, take notes, think outside of the box, and ask questions! I’ve learned very quickly that every institution has a different idea of what exactly their Director of Operations will be responsible for. The people around you are great resources, and people that we shouldn’t feel intimidated to ask questions to. Be receptive to their advice, but at the same time don’t be afraid to take their advice and make it your own!
Name one new thing you want to accomplish this year.
Here at the University of Notre Dame, I have the opportunity to host cross country and indoor track meets. As we are preparing to wrap up our final indoor track meet, I’ve started to turn my attention to next year. At our annual Meyo Invitational this year, we had a local group of 3rd graders come to the track meet to cheer on a student-athlete who had been assisting in their classroom. Next year, I want to incorporate an opportunity for more local students to attend a meet. Track is so often seen as just “running” and I really want to create an environment for young kids to see how fun a track meet can be!
As you look at the athletic operations field, what is one area that is growing/changing the most?
I think the thing that is changing the most is college student-athletes are seeing the operations field as an end goal and not just a stepping stone to the coaching profession. As I graduated in 2013, I was unaware that the position of Director of Operations was even a thing. I thought if I wanted to continue working within the area of collegiate track and field I would either have to become a coach or volunteer my time as an official.