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February 15, 2018
CLARK TEUSCHER: Hello, and welcome to the seventh installment of the 2017-2018 CoSIDA Continuing Education Series sponsored by Capital One. My name's Clark Teuscher, I'm the Sports Information Director at North Central College and the chair of the CoSIDA Continuing Education Committee. I'll be moderating today's webinar as we discuss the many important factors to consider when deciding what changes to make in a career path and the resources we have as SIDs to do so.
Today's discussion is being recorded and will be made available, along with a full FastScript from CoSIDA's official transcript provider ASAP Sports for on-demand use at our on-demand community CoSIDA Connect.
Presenting on today's webinar are Scott Stricklin, Athletic Director at the University of Florida, Olivia Coiro Director of Athletic Communications at Syracuse University, and Michael Kobylanski Associate Director of Athletics For Communications at Southern Connecticut State University.
Attendees on today's webinar are welcome to submit questions in the chat window during today's presentation and we'll address as many of them as time allows. Our first presenter today will be Scott Stricklin who began his career in media relations at institutions such as at Mississippi State, Auburn, Tulane and Kentucky before transitioning into administration. He's here to share today what he's learned through his careers traveling and how he assessed different moves along the way. Scott, welcome.
SCOTT STRICKLIN: Hey, Clark, how are you?
CLARK TEUSCHER: Excellent, thank you.
SCOTT STRICKLIN: Appreciate you having me on and letting me be a part of this. Obviously I came up through media relations and really value the experiences I've learned there. And actually I think a lot of the situations that media relation professionals and communication professionals get put into develop skillsets and things that can help in a lot of administrative roles. I think it's certainly helped me, and I'll get into that as we go along here.
Really quick, you kind of mentioned some of the places I've worked at. I'll give a little background of how I got into media relations and then how I transitioned into general administration. I went to school at Mississippi State, and literally the first day of my freshman year, I walked into the athletic department and into the sports information office and I volunteered to work there. I tell people that I qualified for the position because I had a pulse, because it was a really small department and they needed a lot of help. So I was able to do that all four years as an undergrad, and obviously as I went through my undergrad career, I got more experience and I got more responsibilities. And so it was a really -- that's probably a common path for a lot of people in sports information.
But I was able to do that, and ended up traveling with the baseball team there for my last three years as the main contact for them. So I got to go around our league and meet a lot of people and develop a lot of relationships. That led to a job at Auburn when I graduated. I was there for five years, and then on to Tulane and four years at Baylor, back to the SEC, at Kentucky.
It was at Kentucky that up until that time it had all been pretty much media relations. At Baylor I had overseen marketing. It was the first time I had a different area to oversee. At Kentucky my direct responsibility was all media relations. I got to do some other things that prepared me for administration. Mitch Barnhart who was the athletic director who hired me there and he's still the athletic director there. He has been a huge influence in my career.
He gave me the opportunity to be a sport administrator, so I worked with our women's tennis program. It's funny, you know, when you first become an SID, you start off with a smaller sport. I started off with track and field when I was a student at Mississippi State, and I grew and got more responsibility where I was working with men's basketball programs. Very similar on the administrative side. I started with women's tennis and that was a great experience that was provided to me.
The other thing that happened there, I met a guy named Greg Byrne. We were coworkers. I was the development guy and he was the SID. He ended up becoming athletic director at my alma mater, Mississippi State. He's the first person who offered me a position with no media relations responsibilities. In other words, to go back to Mississippi State and to be a part of his team, his senior team and do some development and do some strategic planning. I was the men's basketball sports administrator.
So Greg was the guy that gave me in title the opportunity to branch out. So I'm very grateful to both Mitch and Greg for the roles that they played.
One of the things that I always enjoyed when I was coming up through the ranks is I always enjoyed spending time with other people in our department who had other responsibilities outside of media relations. Obviously, I love working with my fellow SIDs and the staffs that I've led. We had a lot of fun, and we tried to do a great job for the interests substitution where we were working. But also enjoyed being a part of the senior staff when that opportunity was available to me at Tulane, Baylor, Kentucky. And not just developing relationships with the other senior staff level administrators, but finding out why they did what they did and how it fit into the overall big picture of running an athletic department.
Me and the game ops person would go to lunch, right. I'd go sit down with the compliance person, pick their brain. And as everyone listening to this knows as the media relations person and as the spokesperson for the athletic department, a lot of times you have to have those relationships so you know how to best represent the athletic department when questions arise from external sources so that you can speak knowledgeably about it.
But I found that I was also learning a lot about what it takes to run an athletic department. And I think the media relations professionals are uniquely situated in athletic departments to end up touching all of these little pieces. I do it even today in my role. I called Steve McLane, who is our media relations professional here, runs our office, and Mary Howard who works alongside him. I'll call him and say, hey, we've got this situation. Can you call the business office and call the compliance people and pull this information together ask come meet me and let's figure out what our response is going to be.
So the media relations professional in my experience, that was an opportunity to really learn a lot about how to be an administrator. I saw how it fit together, how it all tied together and how key relationships were in that process.
The other the other thing I think having a media relations background was really helpful, and I'm going to compare this to my friends that came up in the development field, and as you know there are a lot of athletic directors who were fundraisers early in their career. But a lot of times, a fundraiser, they travel around with the donors and they spend a lot of time with them as you would expect. But when they don't do a lot of traveling with the team and media relations staff, and I did it with baseball, basketball, women's basketball, men's basketball, football and other sports, we do a lot of travel with our teams.
As you guys know, that's a lot of late nights. It can be a lot of long hours, and it gives you a firsthand view of what coaches and student-athletes have to go through. These seasons can be a bit of a grind. There's usually a core nucleus of support staff, trainers, strength coaches, managers, SIDs, that are part of that travel party and get to see that day in and day out.
I really think that once I became the administrator, that really helped give me perspective and understanding of what coaches and athletes go through. That I'm not sure that people may have come up through different parts of the athletic department had the same perspective, and I think that's really valuable. Because I think it helps create -- it's helped me in relationships with coaches and athletes, because I do understand when there is a road game on a Wednesday night in basketball, that I know what that next day is going to be like for them, and they'll probably get in at 2 a.m. or have to leave early the next morning get here and miss half a day of class, and all the things that go into that. Then turn around and leave again on Friday sometimes for a Saturday game.
I think it gives you a good perspective. It's helped me as athletic director. I know everybody in the department kind of knows that. But once you live that and you ride those buses and you're on the airplanes, I think it gives you a unique perspective.
So with that, I'll turn it back over to you, Clark, and I'm available for any questions.
CLARK TEUSCHER: We do have one quick question for of before we move ahead. For someone who perhaps has started out in media relations, moved into another area of -- another functional area of college athletics and is now in a position where they feel like they want to go back, any particular advice or any guidance you might give on making that transition back?
SCOTT STRICKLIN: Back to media relations?
CLARK TEUSCHER: Yeah.
SCOTT STRICKLIN: Well, I've never been asked that question. That's a great one. It's funny in this day and age in social media was just ramping up when I got out of media relations. In this day and age some of the communication skills that we used to use in our press releases and our formal ways we used to use for external constituents now social media has totally changed that.
So there are so many skills that everybody uses on a daily basis, and I'm just sitting here thinking what would I do if I went back into the media relations role? And I think the first thing I would want to make sure is I understood the messaging component and how important that was to what we do today. Whether I first left media relations and went to development, there were three things that gave me confidence that I could do that, and that is when I was in media relations, you spend a lot of time developing, messaging for your department. You spend a lot of time developing relationships for your department, and you spend a lot of time combining those two things and delivering the message to key constituents.
Then sometimes you had to have hard conversations with a media person or even a coach in a tough situation. Well, that's what a lot of development is. You come up with key messaging. You develop relationships with the donors, and then sometimes you have to develop the message in a way, and it's not easy asking people to part with their money for your program. So that's where the difficult conversation parallel comes into play.
So I do think there's a lot of things that translate from media relations to other parts of a department. I would think the inverse is also true. That once you have those traits, they would transfer back into the media relations role pretty easily.
CLARK TEUSCHER: Olivia Coiro is the chair of the CoSIDA Young Professionals Committee. She recently wrote an excellent post on the Sparkles and Sports blog which she co-founded about the recent job change that brought her to Syracuse. She's here to share a little more about that experience today. Liv, welcome.
OLIVIA COIRO: Thanks for the introduction. That's a tough act to follow, I guess. So what I'm going to talk to you guys a little about today, give you a little background and then I'll touch upon what Clark mentioned, my move to Syracuse and why.
I took a little bit of a different path breaking into our profession. I was a student worker for four years at my alma mater, Lasalle College, and I did a three-year, undergraduate, internship kind of at Lesley University which was also in the Boston area. After graduation, I didn't know if this career was something I wanted to continue to pursue, so I kind of got out of it. Then in the fall when school started up and everyone was working and in and around sports and I was not at games anymore, I really missed it, so I decided I was going to apply.
In November of that year, after graduation of 2012 I got hired at Lynn University. They were starting a men's lacrosse program and I had lacrosse experience and I swear to this day that's the only reason Chad Beattie hired me, but it worked out because he gave me an opportunity that I didn't think was possible.
I didn't know grad school was an option for grad assistant jobs or a possibility. I didn't know that they had post graduate internships. So I graduated and six months later decided I was going to try to find a full-time job. So I got really lucky. I was at Lynn for three years, and I loved it. I kind of knew that I didn't want to spend my whole career at Lynn. But while I was there, I wanted to be a sponge and just absorb everything that I could, so it would help me to get to the next stage of where I wanted to be.
Also after three years I started to get really homesick to be in the northeast. It's really tough not having New York pizza all the time. So I started to plan my future and my exit plan. That's when I started to get more involved in CoSIDA, because I realized that, especially convention, there are so many resources there for you.
So I went to convention, and I sat in on a job seekers panel, and I was like, okay, I think it's time. So after three and a half, almost four years at Lynn I left for UNCG, and I spent 16 months at UNCG, which was also not intentional. I took the career move to UNCG because I wanted to get closer to home and I wanted to move to a Division I school. So I thought that the comparison to Division II is mid-major level, and the Division II and mid-major Division I level would be an easy transition for me, and it absolutely was. I hit the ground running in the middle of soccer season, and by the time basketball season rolled around, I felt like I was there for three years.
You never know when your next opportunity is going to happen. I was at UNCG for 16 months before I got a call from a former co-worker who had now worked at East Carolina, and his name was Chip Welch, and he gave me a call and said, hey, our women's basketball position is opening up. Would you come here if you could get the job? And I said, well, I don't think I can get that job. I don't have experience. That's the American Conference. It's a group of five school, and I'd never been at a school that had football, and I knew that I'd have football responsibilities too.
So I was really nervous, but I talked it over with some people in my circle and my family, and I knew that that was a really good opportunity for me if I could get it. I talked it over with my boss at UNCG Matt McCollester, and he was so encouraging of it. He said I know you looked a little this summer and interviewed some places, but this is an opportunity and it's an easy move for you. It's right across the state.
So I got my job at East Carolina. I started in January of 2017, and obviously here I'm at Syracuse now in February of 2017. Same kind of thing happened. I saw Pete Moore had posted that they were hiring at Syracuse and to backtrack a little bit, in June when I had my evaluation at the end of the year with Tom McClellan, my boss at ECU, he asked me was I looking to leave. I said absolutely not. I love Greenville. I love my coaches and student-athletes. I loved the environment that East Carolina University had and the people that were there, especially in our communications office. And I told him no, there was only like a handful of schools that I would even think about leaving for and that would be if it was the right position for me, and Syracuse was one of them. I had no idea that six months later Syracuse would be posting a position.
So I applied, I interviewed, I got the job and it was kind of a no-brainer to me. I knew three big things I wanted for myself and my next step was to be closer to my family in New York, which I'm in New York now. I'm about five hours from them, as opposed to an 11-hour drive.
I wanted to work with a really successful women's basketball program. I love being a woman's basketball SID. I didn't start as one, but I've grown to love it, and that's a sport I know that I want to continue to work with. If someone tried to switch me to men's basketball or football I would probably throw a fit because I'm really passionate about working with my female student-athletes.
The very thing I knew I wanted was I wanted to try working at a Power Five school. I worked Division III. I worked Division II, and I worked a mid-major group of five. And I always felt the next step for me was going to be the Power Five level.
One thing I always get a lot of slack for, and sometimes it's not just in this profession, it's really in like my family and people who don't understand what we do, oh, you switch jobs so much, you move so much. You have no loyalty. It's not that I don't have loyalty. I'm very loyal to where I work, but I'm more loyal to myself. And I know if there's a position I want or something that might be a better situation for me in the future or right now, I'm going to go for it, and I encourage anyone to do the same thing.
I'm not saying just up and leave them. I mean, when I left Lynn, I was there for three-and-a-half years, and I left opening weekend of fall sports. I could have left right away, but I said, okay, I gave three weeks notice to get them through that weekend. So there is a way to still be loyal to where you are and leave at the same time, I guess.
The same thing with when I left UNCG, and when I left ECU, I left over Christmas break. I was in Greenville moving my apartment, and I went to a women's basketball game to help out because I knew they needed it before the game. So it's not that I'm not loyal to where I work, it's I'm more loyal to myself and my goals, and it's really important to have goals. I didn't have any. I always thought five-year plans were a joke. They're not. Have a five-year plan. Have a six-month plan. Have a ten-year plan. Even if you don't achieve those things you want in that plan, have a plan though.
Don't just say I'm content, and don't ever be complacent with where you are or what you're doing. If you love where you are and you're not looking to leave, ask for different job responsibilities. Scott just talked, and he started in communications, and now he's an athletic director at one of the most popular schools in the country. He was given those opportunities. He asked for those opportunities, and that's really important.
Another thing I want to really touch upon is to have a support group. As a young professional, it is so important to not only just make friends in this industry, but have people you can trust and you can go to. Part of the reason that Katie Gwinn Hewit started our blog, Sparkles and Sports was because we didn't know anyone that we could go to for advice, and so we thought if we created this platform for females who were young and getting into the field and we could give advice to them and reach out to older females and get advice from them, that would be really good resource. There wasn't really anything like that.
So Katie, obviously, was one of the first people that was ever in my little group, and my support group as I like to call it. So having insight in athletics is important. There is a group I talk to a day to day basis. I bounce ideas off them. We don't even work in the same conference. Some work in the NAIA. It doesn't matter. They're just like-minded people. You're not going to find them at the library in town or restaurant in town. They're not going to be like-minded as you because they don't do what you do and might not understand what you do.
So definitely find your support group, get involved. I think it's really important, especially with career planning. CoSIDA has a lot of great resources. I'm chair of the Young Professionals Committee, which is a great resource for people who are young and in the field learning. We learn from each other.
We just started -- we're starting something. I don't think we've announced it yet. But we're starting something pretty big that will definitely give a voice to young professionals, and there is the Job Seekers Committee. The Job Seekers Committee does an incredible job helping people shape their resum√É¬©. Plan for applying for places, interview process. They've done a really good job with that committee.
It's just, you look at CoSIDA, and you think it's just an organization and you nominate for awards through it. But it's so much more than that. It's a foundation for what your career can be. And I really think that CoSIDA has provided me with that. So, thanks.
I guess the last thing that I really want to touch upon is that networking is huge in our industry. I would not have ended up at any of the jobs I've gotten since Lynn if it wasn't for networking. At UNCG, the marketing assistant at the time went to college with me. At ECU, I mentioned it was a former co-worker from UNCG. And at Syracuse, I knew who Pete Moore was because of CoSIDA and he's a past President. But I also new who Sue Edson was because I had interviewed her on my blog almost two years ago. So when my name came up to her, she remembered me, and that helped. So don't be afraid to reach out to someone. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone, ask them a question. If you like what they're doing, shoot them an email.
Don't just make those connections and drop them one time. Really establish those connections and run with them. So I think that's kind of about it. Are there any questions?
CLARK TEUSCHER: Yeah, we've got one before we move forward. You mentioned talking to your supervisor about your career ambitions, taking on more experience or different responsibilities. That conversation is a source of anxiety for a lot of people, not just in sports information but in business in general. How do you go about setting up that conversation? How do you start it?
OLIVIA COIRO: It is a source of anxiety for me too. Thinking about it gets me anxious. So I wasn't always open with past bosses about my ideas for my career, and to be honest, when I left Lynn, they had no idea I was even interviewing anywhere. I just came in one day and said, "Hey, Chad. How's your day going?" And he said, "Did you get a new job?" So I felt kind of bad about that.
So I would say be open with them. From the time I got to ECU, Tom and I talked about it all the time, I was going to go work women's basketball at a Power Five school. I was going to move back north, closer to my family. I'm from a huge Italian family from New York. I'm the furthest from them now, and every time I call grandma it's, "When are you coming home?"
So for me, he knew my goals from the beginning. Matt at UNCG, when he was my boss, we talked about them, but I still was kind of just star struck almost to be this whole new level of Division I, and there was a lot more to learn there that we never really communicated at first. But as time passed and I told him this job's open, and I really might want to apply for it, we became more open about it.
He told me one day, "Olivia, don't be afraid to tell me. I want you to succeed." Not only because it makes you better, but it makes him better too. When I had a boss like that I went, wow. He knows I'm not going to be in Greensboro, North Carolina forever, and he understands that.
He encourages me to get out there and apply. He gave me all the tools to get more involved in convention at CoSIDA. He's sent me to convention. He's encouraged me to do a bunch of new things and try new things and that opened the way for us to talk. At ECU, the first time that conversation happened in my year-end review. You have those year-end reviews and it's like, okay, you want the good or bad first? And then it's that awkward after when are you're still talking to each other. That's a good time to bring it up. You ask your boss, where do you see me staying here? Do you see that I have potential to do something else? Maybe get into a different area or take on more responsibility? Ask questions. That's what your review is for. You're not supposed to just sit there and get the good and bad and say, all right, bye. That's an opportunity to have your voice heard, so why not?
CLARK TEUSCHER: Okay. Great. Thank you very much. As an organization, CoSIDA has extended a lot of effort toward making sure professionals have the resources to assist them effectively in the job market. In addition to being a three-time CoSIDA volunteer recipient, Michael Kobylanski is also a member of our Job Seekers Committee. He's here today to detail that committee's efforts on behalf of the membership. Michael?
MICHAEL KOBYLANSKI: Hello, everyone. How's everybody doing today? Spectacular, I hope. Good morning or good afternoon, wherever you may be. Thank you, Clark, and, again, couple of tough acts to follow with Scott and Olivia, but extremely pleased to be joining you here this morning or this afternoon.
As Clark alluded to, I'm currently in my role here at Southern Connecticut State. This is my 11th year here at Southern. Prior to, I spent six years at Quinnipiac University as assistant athletic director and sports information director. I try to make my background and synopsis relatively brief here. I attended University of Massachusetts as an undergrad, and worked in the athletic media relations office for three years. Upon graduation, I pursued an opportunity, an entry level opportunity at Quinnipiac, when I called to accept that particular position, the SID on the other end said, "Mike, that's great. I was really looking forward to working with you, but I'm leaving to go work in the private sector."
So I had about a six-week audition, and I was fortunate enough that Jack McDonald, the athletic director at Quinnipiac at that point, afforded me the opportunity to be elevated into the full-time role.
I'll be the first to admit it, I certainly caught a break. 22 years old, four months out of undergrad, and hear I am an assistant athletic director for sports information at a Division I program. But I will say that I'd like to think that my hard work and efforts certainly played a factor in that as well. I know that had I displayed complacency or at the same time not communicated to jack my interest in the position that things might have gone a little bit differently.
Quinnipiac was a tremendous run during the course of the six years. I had the chance to develop so many great relationships, folks that I still stay in touch with extensively to this day. For those of you who don't know, Quinnipiac and southern Connecticut are just about five or six miles apart in an adjoining town here in Connecticut. It's a difference of two exits on the Merit Parkway. For me, I have a little bit of a different path in terms of the geography as it relates to what Scott and what Olivia have gone through. I'm from Southern Connecticut. I grew up in this area. The only time I had to venture away was from my time as an undergrad at UMASS. For me, this is home. My family, my friends that I went to nursery school with, elementary school with are still here in the area.
I've been, again, cognizant of the fact that I'm fortunate from that perspective to not have had to make an extensive number of moves here at this point in my career, especially now as we have a young family at home.
As I said, Quinnipiac was a great run, but there came a point where I was seeking a new challenge and was able to seek the opportunity here at Southern Connecticut. For those of you who don't know, my predecessor here was Rick Letty. Rick is a legend in the industry for those of you who don't know him. He was here at Southern for 40 years.
Certainly to say big shoes to fill would be an understatement. But I've tried to do the best we can here over the course of the past 11 years. I really can't believe it's been 11 years already. It seems like time has flown by here overnight.
So all total, 17 years in athletic communications. For me, I really enjoy the ability to come to work every day and have the opportunity to just really not know what's taking place. We have a basketball game tonight, I don't know. Is there going to be a situation where somebody's going to make a highlight reel play that could be Sportscenter worthy. On the flip side of that there is also the crisis management series of baskets there. I also don't know if there's something tragic that's going to happen on any particular day.
But fortunately for myself, and I know a lot of others in the business as well, there are a lot more good days than bad ones, and, again, I really enjoy that part of the profession.
Couple things that I want to talk about here, and I know it was touched on a little bit. For me, the mentoring piece is a big part of this. And I'll talk a little more about the Job Seekers Committee and the role in a little bit for those of you who might not be familiar with it.
But I think it's extremely important on both sides of the fence to, as a professional, certainly as a young professional, a rising professional, and even as you get certainly more established through the ranks, is to try to develop those relationships and seek out a few mentors along the way. As I mentioned, I've been extremely fortunate, first with Jack McDonald at Quinnipiac, and then with Patricia Nicole here at Southern Connecticut. Just the ability to work with two outstanding mentors who were able to be cognizant of my professional aspirations, my aspirations for the department and where I saw our trajectory both short-term and long-term. It's just extremely mutually beneficial.
So, again, I can't thank them enough for their support. On the flip side of that, I feel like I have a responsibility to pay it forward. The thing that I'm most proud of in my professional career is the fact that there are 40 individuals who have moved on in either the athletic communications field, professional sports, whatever it may be, and are out there now either at the Division I, Division II, the Division III levels or the pro ranks as I mentioned.
It really brings me great joy to work with aspiring professionals and try to help serve as a resource for them going forward. So that's a characteristic and trait that I try to bring to some of my academic work. I serve as adjunct professor here at Southern Connecticut and at the University of New Haven. And I feel that it's extremely important to try to utilize some of the resources that I have available to help them as they're progressing.
In my class here at Southern, we just went through some resum√É¬© and cover letter writing last week. One of the things that I went through in the class in detail was the CoSIDA job seekers primer. I certainly, I think it emphasizes how big of a believer and how big of a proponent I am of the work that the committee is doing both tangibly and also what you see at the convention, but also what you see on paper with things such as the job seekers primer. Again, it just comes back to that responsibility. I want to help craft and hone the next generation of professionals in this industry.
I've certainly been in athletic communications and also in college athletics as a whole or professional athletics, whatever route they decide to go.
So for me, those are just a couple of big things. Just a little about my background and a few points of emphasis that I wanted to make. Just in addition, for those of you that aren't familiar with the Job Seekers Committee, you know, the intent of the Job Seekers Committee is to just be a consistent resource. Olivia talked about some of her experiences with the committee early on. Certainly, yes, there are workshops at the convention. There is the ability to come in and see some of the different pitches and see some of the different postings that are available throughout the course of all three divisions. But the committee as a whole, starting at the top with Lawrence Fan and Danny Campbell, and everybody that's a part of the group, I feel there is a genuine, sincere interest in helping rising professionals try to take the next step, wherever they may be at this point in their professional career.
For myself, I really enjoyed some of the conversations that I've had with professionals at the convention. As Olivia shared some of her experiences, I've found others to be in the same boat where they're not quite sure of some of the opportunities that are available within the industry. So if there is some small piece of advice that myself or one of my colleagues on the committee can help share, then we're doing our job and trying to help pay it forward and take it to the next level.
There have been different points in the year where, again, we're all charged with working with some different individuals on the committee. We're assigned resum√É¬©s and are asked to stay in contact and have that relationship extend beyond just kind of a one-time deal.
So that's, again, that's a big part of what we're trying to emphasize and do as a committee as a whole. Certainly another big benefit that's taken place here in the last several years is the alignment with NACDA, and the convention coming up in June again later this year. I know for myself, I've thoroughly enjoyed the ability to interact and network with individuals from the general administration area, from compliance, marketing, whatever it may be, that are attending those conventions as well, I think there is certainly tremendous benefit. Seeing the conventions aligned only enhances collectively what we're doing as a group professionally to try to help everybody progress forward and take things to the next level.
One other thing that I wanted to touch on, the transparency piece. Olivia touched on it earlier, and I would also emphasize the fact that if you're at a point in your professional career and you have aspirations as I've been in that chair, Olivia has been in that chair, and I'm sure Scott has been in that chair earlier in his career. I encourage the transparency. Now I'm cognizant of the fact that there will be times when there are very tough conversations, and there will be times where you may feel awkward or challenging or difficult to have those particular conversations. But having a genuine self-evaluation of where you are consistently in your career is extremely beneficial. And having those conversations with your supervisors and your mentors and the other folks that you trusted in the industry is extremely important.
I know that for myself, I've had different changes and aspirations in my own professional career. I think if you had asked me during my first few years at Quinnipiac I would have told you without question that my aspiration would have been to become the head SID at a Power Five school.
Over the course of the next few years at Quinnipiac, my aspirations changed a bit. I had an interest in maintaining my background in sports information, but also gaining some experience in the additional areas of the athletic department. A little more administrative experience. Truthfully that was one of the factors and one of the reasons that led me here to Southern Connecticut was the little bit more broader scope of this particular position in comparison to the one I was in at Quinnipiac.
Also, for those of you, again, that may be looking to pursue additional education, I strongly encourage looking at some of the opportunity for advanced degrees. Whether it be masters degrees or doctoral degrees. Myself, I took advantage of the masters in journalism program at Quinnipiac and had a great experience there. It was certainly extremely beneficial then and still is now in a lot of respects and a lot of different classes and academic work for the duties that I'm doing in my sports information role.
Then going forward, when I pursued a masters degree at the University of New Haven in management sports industries, there were a lot of things that I took from that program academically that had benefit not only in my sports information career, but also for hopefully where I aspire to be down the road from an administrative stand point.
So, again, I encourage you to try to be proactive. Have those conversations and seek out the opportunities that are available, whether it be from a professional perspective within your current position or also from an educational perspective. Taking advantage of such resources like this and everything that CoSIDA has to offer is certainly going to be beneficial for you.
CLARK TEUSCHER: We have one question for you before we move ahead here. You mentioned the importance of mentoring kind of on both sides of that fence. For somebody who is looking to make a move or make a change and wants to seek help or contribution from a mentor in that capacity, what is the appropriate way to go about that? Is there a certain amount of timing that needs to be considered or at a certain point in the process? What's the best way to do that?
MICHAEL KOBYLANSKI: Speaking for myself, the relationships and the mentors that I've been able to foster relationships have just kind of fallen into place naturally over the course of time. But it goes back to that transparency point. I was able to have open conversations with Jack and with Pat, and now with Jay Moran, our AD here at Southern. So they have a firm and clear understanding of what my aspirations are in terms of how I can benefit the organization in the short term, but also where my aspirations are for the short term and the long-term.
So I think it comes back to having those conversations at the outset. If you sit on your hands or you keep your mouth shut, it's going to be a little bit troublesome to be able to develop those relationships.
So Olivia hit the nail on the head. You're your own biggest advocate and your own biggest proponent. So you need to make sure you take care of yourself. Let the organization and the mentors that you seek out know that you're seeking their guidance, you're seeking their expertise. You've known that they've been in your shoes before. They can provide a perspective that you're not familiar with and hopefully can be a benefit to you down the road.
Again, having been in this profession 17 years now, and I think a lot of folks on this call and webinar would agree with me, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find folks in this industry that aren't willing to lend a hand. That's one of the great things about it. If you asked the question and you asked for help, I really do feel there is a genuine, sincere kinship among those in this industry to help the next generation. It all starts with asking the question.
CLARK TEUSCHER: Scott, the first part of this, there is kind of a two-part question, I'll ask the first part and once you've answered, I'll ask the second part here. In your opinion, CoSIDA is an organization in sports information professionals. What is the reputation there among athletic directors, and have you seen that change over the course of your time in the industry?
SCOTT STRICKLIN: You know, it's hard to speak for my colleagues. There is a traditional view of SIDs, and that view, I think, someone has their head down in the book or computer. They don't have a diverse skillset. I think in the last 10, 20 years there are a lot of SIDs that have changed that traditional role and traditional view.
What I see happening, and I had this thought while listening to this, it seems to be the whole external side of things continues to, I don't want to say be blurred, but continues to merge. The marketing video, the social media, the graphics, the media relations, communications piece is really becoming harder to differentiate from because, you know, if I'm -- I follow a lot of our -- I follow all our teams when they're competing, and I use Twitter to keep in touch in realtime. A lot of times I don't know if that's a media relations person updating that account from the road or if that's a marketing person or, heck, sometimes it's a team manager. But they're putting out one voice as if it's the university's voice.
So I think that technology and just the way communication in general has changed is in a good way breaking people out of traditional boxes. It's creating value in what's being done. The tools to do it are different, and you don't have to have a certain title next to your name to be effective in promoting the university and communicating with your external constituents or the internal constituents for that matter.
CLARK TEUSCHER: What do you think that CoSIDA as an organization can continue to do to champion its members for advancement and development in their careers?
SCOTT STRICKLIN: That's a great question. I remember when I was involved with CoSIDA, that was always a question that came up. I'll go back to some of the comments made by the other panelists. It's hard to give an answer that's global. But on a specific level, those media relations professionals who make an effort to learn about what else is going on in the department, to make an effort to be an indispensable person within the structure, those are the ones that get other opportunities. It's all about creating value -- I'm sorry, demonstrating value that you bring to your organization.
I'm blessed that I've worked with a lot of media relations directors when I was young, and I came up I worked for a guy named David Housel who ironically became an athletic director at Auburn. David, even as a media relations SID person, was incredibly valued by everybody in that department and by the fan base. So I saw that model.
Then since I've been on the other side, I had the opportunity to work with really talented -- people who don't just stay in their box. They're willing to branch out and learn. I think as an organization, the more people can do that -- when your athletic director you need things to get done, while you have to have structure and accountability, how it gets done, as long as it's being done with integrity and being done the right way, you value the people that can help you accomplish the things that need to get done, regardless what their title is.
CLARK TEUSCHER: Okay. We have a couple more before we close up here. The membership is certainly excited to have you here and deservedly so. The subject of resum√É¬©s. When you're looking at resum√É¬©s, what are there certain elements that you look for in a prospective applicant? How do you evaluate the process of going through resum√É¬©s?
SCOTT STRICKLIN: You know, it's funny. I get a lot of young people like we all do who come into our office and ask that kind of question, what should I major in? And the fact of the matter is what you major in, while education is very important, the actual program you major in is not as important as the hands on experience. I look for two things. What actual experience does this person have? What was the setting they got in that experience? What was their role? Then I think Olivia mentioned how important networking was. That is as imperative.
When I was a student, I was finishing up my freshman year at Mississippi State and I remember asking. We had an intern or grad assistant, and I asked him, how do you get a full-time job in this business? You have to have a degree and you have to find somebody that will hire you. So the networking piece, that second part is critical. You've got to meet enough people and make a good enough impression, because whenever I see a resum√É¬© I look at where the person has worked.
I see what their experience level is and I start thinking who do I know that might know this person and can give me some insight and background on the kind of job they do and what kind of value they bring to their organization.
CLARK TEUSCHER: On the subject of resum√É¬©s and applications, for professionals who are a little further along in their career, looking to make a career change how would you recommend they go about addressing those types of things in the application process?
SCOTT STRICKLIN: With their current employer or prospective employer?
CLARK TEUSCHER: In the application process, addressing perhaps a gap in the specific experience that they're trying to or position they're trying to get?
SCOTT STRICKLIN: Yeah, that's a challenge. For one, you've got to be honest and put what you've done. You know, that's where, to me, the networking piece comes in. Because it's hard for a resum√É¬© to really stand out and communicate the true story, no matter how good the resum√É¬© is put together. At the end of the day, somebody has to help you tell that story. I really believe that.
I mentioned Greg Byrne gave me the opportunity to have my first job outside of media relations, and it was because we worked alongside each other. For some reason I tricked him and he saw some skill traits that he thought would transfer into other areas. You've got to have somebody that can champion that for you to somebody that may not know you but somebody that can go out and champion you to those people to say this is why this person could do this job. Here are the skill sets they have.
The other thing is I think in all of college athletics, we get hung up on titles. And where someone has been and what their position has been there, at the end of the day, we're hiring people based on skillsets. What is their talent. Where are their talents? How can they bring those talents and adapt them to our environment and be successful? And sometimes you need -- it's hard on a piece of paper to really demonstrate that. You need somebody who can champion for you, who may not be in media relations, may be in a different area of an athletic department.
CLARK TEUSCHER: Thank you very much, Scott, for your time today. That's all the questions we have. We'd like to thank each of our presenters for giving of their time today. We continue to appreciate Capital One's ongoing sponsorship of the continuing education series. The recording of today's webinar, the ASAP Sports FastScript and presentations you saw today will be available for on demand use at CoSIDA Connect later today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports