Dallas Sports Professionals Give Career Advice

April 1, 2010  

by E’Lyn Taylor

SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center hosted a panel discussion “Career in Sports” with local sports professionals on Wednesday evening. Five experienced sports professionals shared their experiences on what led them to choose a career in sports.

Preston Phillips, sports and entertainment director at the Marketing Arm, said, “Everyone you meet should be important.”

Melanie Jarrett, FC Dallas digital content editor, explained that her “interest in working for sports came out of what I was spending my life at that point of time doing, and how I could turn that into a career.”

“Don’t let your pride get in the way of turning something down. Even if it is an unpaid internship and you are really not getting anything from it, expect work experience and don’t be afraid to take that.  You may turn down the best opportunity that you have because you needed to have a salary on the end of it,” Jarret said.

Public and community relations director for the Dallas Cowboys, Whitney Brandon, said she was required to intern every year in college for eight weeks and those internships helped build her resumé. Brandon suggested students should include activities on their resumé that an employer would expect from day one on the job, and not to be afraid to use contacts from anywhere in the world.

“We were admonished to make sure we are preparing ourselves for the type of company we envision ourselves working for and most companies look for leadership positions,” said Brandon. “Pay your dues, get in there and stay there.”

Michael Lysko, professor of SMU’s Sports Management, said he is responsible for networking with sports professionals for prospective students. He advises students in sports career fields to “get involved early.”

Lysko also recommended, “The Comprehensive Guide to Career in Sports” by Glenn M. Wong to aspiring sports professionals. The book provides an overview of what students should consider and expect from the varied career options available. It also answers questions like what courses to take, what areas are available, salary expectations and how to secure their dream job.

“It’s about who you know and who knows you,” said Lysko.

Director of event management at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, Janell Fondry added that, “interning leads to networking.”

The panel offered the following suggestions for networking and looking for jobs:

  • LinkedIn.com
  • Career Fairs
  • Teamwork Online
  • University’s Alumni
  • Sports Business Journal

Students found the advice from the panelists to be very rewarding.

“I got a lot of contacts here. I’m hoping some of these can help me get an internship in the future,” said SMU Marketing major Seth Ramey.

Cary Staman, the Assistant Director at Hegi Family Career Development Center, explained why they decided to hold a panel focused careers in sports.

“There are a lot of students who are now interested in the sports industry. And with our new department that focuses on sports, we thought it would be very timely and would give some really good information.”

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