"Make it a priority"

Many of us aspire to become professional athletes when we are younger. As students those aspirations fade as we dream of careers more in line with our education. Yet imagine if you were able to use your education to secure a career in pro sports. Nicole Lee has managed to forge a professional career working in sports ranging from basketball, baseball, golf, and hockey. Nicole was able to translate her competitive instinct and passion in sports into a career she describes as phenomenal, exciting, and fun.

Chief Editor Ali Kasim attempts a longrange pass during the Division 2 Indoor Soccer tournament (photo/Matthew Filipowich).
Chief Editor Ali Kasim attempts a long range pass during the Division 2 Indoor Soccer tournament (photo/Matthew Filipowich).

Like many students Nicole cherished campus life and was hesitant to abandon what she still considers the best years of her life. When she learned of the Masters in Sports Administration program at Ohio University she decided to seize the opportunity and continue her education. As a part of the program, she worked several internships where she was able to gain valuable working experience as a volunteer.

Upon completion of her graduate studies she took on an internship with Disneys Wide World of Sports in order attain a working visa. This would ultimately lead to a full-time job in sports as the experience gained working the FUNAI Classic enabled her to procure a position as a Sales and Marketing Manager for Michelob ULTRA Open. Longing to come home she eyed an opportunity that would bring her back to Canada working with the NHL.

Serving the NHL as an account executive, Nicole oversees and facilitates promotions and programs that capitalize on existing partnerships. A definitive perk and one of the many highlights of a job with the NHL was being able to work on and attend this years Winter Classic held at Wrigley Field.

A Career in sports has provided her with opportunities to meet and work alongside names like Annika Sörenstam, Natalie Gulbis, Lorena Ochoa, and hall-of-famer Mark Messier. Given that she is still at the beginning of her career, its a safe bet that Nicole will only be presented with further opportunities to work alongside more of the sports heroes we admire.

Her advice to students looking to pursue a career within the sports industry is to make it a priority.   She emphasizes the importance of the volunteer work she engaged in during and after her graduate studies, as it allowed her to gain valuable experience while building a network of contacts within the industry. Its not easy, it is competitive she stresses, before giving assurances that if you are persistent and work hard, you will be rewarded.

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