What was your major/minor and what year did you graduate?
Business Administration, 2007.
Tell us about your current position. Can you describe a typical day?
I’m a Director for Buffalo Brand Invigoration Group, a sports marketing firm based in Reston, VA. We are a division of Billy Casper Golf, the largest golf course owner/operator in the country with around 150 courses in our portfolio. Buffalo BIG is a 15-year boutique agency with 60 client-partners, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
I drive global marketing and PR strategies for leading sports institutions – primarily golf and soccer. We specialize in communications, strategic planning, digital marketing, social media and creative design. I also spend time on business development and acquisition of new clients.
No two days are the same in my business. I travel frequently and have been fortunate enough through my job to attend The Masters, four U.S. Opens, five PGA Championships, the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, the Solheim Cup, an MLS All-Star Game and many other sporting events. When I’m in town, most days are filled with conference calls and client meetings to ensure our team is achieving objectives and exceeding expectations on a daily basis.
How do you think your major/program prepared you for the job you have now?
There were several marketing, communications and finance courses in the Business Program that provided me a strong foundation for my career. In my opinion, the job training I’ve received has provided the necessary tools to be successful, but my UMW education has helped me to go above-and-beyond in every employment opportunity.
How did you become interested in your field?
I’ve always been interested in sports business. Who knew that golf is a nearly $70 billion industry that supports two million jobs in America? TV rights, athlete contracts, sponsor relations, conference realignment and numerous other topics from professional, collegiate, amateur and youth sports headline media outlets each day. The idea of working in the sports industry, either as a coach or marketer, was always on my mind.
After graduating from UMW, I was offered a position as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the men’s soccer team at Virginia Commonwealth University and enrolled in its Center for Sports Leadership Program. Initially, I was intending to become a college soccer coach, but during my first semester I was selected to present to the Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference. I received a huge thrill standing in front of powerful decision-makers and convincing them to implement the marketing campaign I had created. Following graduate school, I worked for Octagon, Nike and Junior Sports Corporation before landing at my current company.
There have been several people along the way who have fueled my passion for sports and guided me through a very challenging and competitive industry. For this reason, I enjoy mentoring UMW and VCU students and hope they find the sports industry as fulfilling as I do.
What’s the best career advice you have ever received?
My parents are the two hardest working people I know. I’ve tried to follow the example they have set for me in my daily routine. They have instilled an incredible work ethic in me and, for this reason, I’ve always strived to outwork the person next to me. In sports, this means long hours, nights and weekends.
I lean on my Dad for career advice all the time. He has always stressed to me the importance of preparation and rehearsal. Each week, I carve out multiple hours to conduct research and prepare “tough questions” in advance of meetings and presentations. This allows me to be accurate, knowledgeable and quicker on my feet in the heat of the moment.
Was there a professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you or helped you when you were at UMW?
One of the main reasons I attended UMW was because of my older sister, Whitney (Gray) Himes. She was one year ahead of me and continues to be a huge influence in my life. I visited her several times during my senior year of high school and fell in the love with the school and community.
What’s your fondest memory of UMW?
As a captain of the men’s soccer team, my fondest memory was beating Salisbury on Homecoming during my senior season. Go Eagles!
Why do you stay involved with the College of Business?
UMW’s College of Business taught me necessary skills which allowed me to be successful in a very competitive industry. For this, I’m grateful for the experiences I gained as a student and the ability to translate them to my career.
It’s exciting to hear the College of Business has created a Sports Management Minor and maybe its own major in the near future. I hope to provide additional assistance to Dean Richardson as the program develops further.
Are there any special accomplishments you’ve achieved after college that you would like to share?
In 2014, I obtained my U.S. Soccer Federation National “A” Coaching License. In the same year, I was also named to SportsLaunch Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list.
This year, I was asked to participate as Communications Chair for VCU’s Center for Sports Leadership Alumni Council. In addition, I was named Co-Chair of the Millennial Task Force for GOLF 20/20, the industry’s trade organization. Our 12-person group has members from GoPro, Google, Twitter, PGA TOUR, LPGA, USGA, PGA of America and others.
How would your family or friends describe you in seven words or less?
Loyal, driven, passionate, hard-working, energetic.
Would you like to add anything else that we missed?
Ironically, I was born at Mary Washington Hospital. When my parents first moved to Fredericksburg in the 1970’s, they lived on Brent Street just outside the main gate to Mary Washington College. They hoped one of their children would one day attend and graduate from the school. Well, they had two!