In June, a group of Oregon student-athletes journeyed to California for the LA Experience, a week in Los Angeles full of professional development opportunities in the sports, advertising, entertainment, finance, entrepreneurship, and health/wellness industries. The group networked with University of Oregon alumni and other leaders of influential organizations in these spaces, including:
- Riot Games
- NFL Network
- Fox Sports
- Bally Sports
- LA Dodgers
- Verve Northwest Communications
- Warner Studios
- City National Bank
- American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
- Cedars Sinai
We heard from three of the female student-athletes who went all about the trip and the lessons they learned. Beforehand, Cami Wilson (rising junior – Acrobatics & Tumbling), Terra McGowan (redshirt senior – Softball) and Ally Haden (rising senior – Beach Volleyball) were excited and thoughtful about how they would use this experience to develop their professional career aspirations. All three expressed an interest in learning more about the sports marketing, advertising, and media fields.
Cami was especially eager to meet with a few big name sports properties in the media space. “I am most excited to go behind the scenes of amazing companies such as NFL Network and FOX Sports. The relationships and bonds that we will build on this trip can set us up for success in the future. It’s extremely exciting to get a glimpse into what my future career could look like,” she wrote.
As part of their preparation for the networking meetings, student-athletes were asked to think about potential challenges they may experience during the trip and what type of company they may want to work for in the future. “I want all of my conversations to be organic and not forced…I have questions prepared, but I also want to make sure I’m keeping very normal and real conversations,” Ally said.
When asked about organization fit, Terra replied, “I want to work for a company that empowers athletes, and more specifically female athletes. I also want to work for a company that is in touch with the community and are open to innovative ideas. Lastly, I want a company who values their employees.”
After the four-day trip, student-athletes reflected upon their experiences to see how their thoughts about the industry and their career path may have changed. “I learned that you can never know what a genuine relationship can bring to your career. As we present our true selves, we can relate to others outside of just work tasks,” Cami said.
For Ally, meeting with a broad range of people in various roles provided her with new perspective. “I think it’s opened my eyes to new possibilities and opportunities that I don’t think I was interested in or have had. I’ve talked to some important people and connect… I can ask them even more questions about how to get to where they are,” Ally stated.
The group also was able to witness firsthand how the University of Oregon network is strongly connected. “This showed me that people want to help us,” Cami said. “Every single person [on] this trip was genuinely interested in helping us in anyway that they can, which made me truly appreciative of this experience.”
The work doesn’t stop there. Our group walked away from LA Experience with a list of skills to build upon as they continue to navigate their future career plans. Terra plans to focus on “how to network effectively, take advantage of any and all opportunities, and meet new people to partake in my network.”
SUPPORT EXPERIENCES LIKE THIS ONE
Trips like LA Experience are made possible by the generous support from the Oregon community and network of alumni. We welcome support in many capacities, including financial donations that directly impact the female student-athlete experience, hosted professional development opportunities with you and/or your company, and more.