SPORTS SERIES – This April, we’re casting a spotlight on T. Howard Foundation (THF) alumni who are working and/or pursuing careers in Sports. Each week we will highlight an alumnus who will share their experience(s) working in the industry, how they got started and advice for others interested in pursuing a career in sports.
Marissa Marshall (THF ’18)
Please describe your role.
I am currently a part of the NBA Associate Program, a two-year rotational program that allows you to explore four different departments (six months each). The intent of the program is to allow associates to gain an understanding of the different elements of the business. Associates generally offboard into a full-time role with one department. I just finished my first rotation with the WNBA in the business operations and strategy group, and I am now with the Global Media Distribution and Business Affairs group.
What do you enjoy most about your company?
What I enjoy most about the NBA is their commitment to innovation. The NBA is constantly evolving and thinking outside the box, which encourages creativity and fresh ideas from all levels. I appreciate this because it challenges me to think differently. In addition, I enjoy how diverse the organization is, it creates an enhanced safe space where you feel understood and represented. Furthermore, allowing me to be my authentic self.
In what way did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
I’ve always been a big proponent of the NBA and WNBA. At first, I wanted to be a sports broadcaster, but in college that changed. I became very interested in the business of sports, specifically on the WNBA side. I was hungry to be one of the individuals who helped grow the game behind the scenes. How can I help innovate and spark interest? Due to this growing passion, I got my first internship with the Los Angeles Sparks and from there everything started to unfold. It led to internship after internship, including NBC Sports, SCOUT Sports & Entertainment, IPG Media Brands and the Golden State Warriors. These internships ultimately equipped me with the necessary tools to be qualified for the NBA Associate Program.
How has your affiliation with the T. Howard Foundation influenced your career?
My affiliation with the T. Howard Foundation has influenced my career greatly. I initially became a part of T. Howard in 2018, where they helped me land an internship with IPG in Digital Marketing. I applied for T. Howard the following year (2019) and they helped me not only land an internship with SCOUT Sports & Entertainment, but a full-time role with the NBA Associate Program. T. Howard helps bring qualified students to the frontlines, when we may be otherwise overlooked. In a short statement: T. Howard has propelled me.
The relationships and resources the foundation has are incomparable and they genuinely care about the students they represent. Perhaps that’s the best thing about T. Howard, the effort the staff puts in to help students receive their dream internships and/or jobs. In addition to this, T. Howard has helped me build relationships through the alumni network, which has helped make my career transition seamless.
What personal attributes have been essential to your career success?
The personal attributes that have been essential to my career success have been my curiosity and ability to connect with people. I’ve always been very curious about the opportunities that are available to me, which put me in positions to receive them. Had I not been curious, I’d be siloed into what other people think I should do. Throughout college, I was constantly trying to find ways I could do and be more, I think that’s what led to my current career success. I maintain that curiosity in my current role as well. Relationship building has also been very essential. I’ve been very fortunate to have the ability to connect with people very easily, which leads to enhanced relationships. Who you know in the industry is just as important as what you know. I think it’s important, though, to ensure you are being authentic and genuine about it.
If you were entering this career today, how would you prepare to facilitate entry?
If I were entering this career today, I would prepare to facilitate entry by making sure I have aligned with my incoming manager and anyone else I may work with. Ask them if there is anything I can do that will help me be best prepared for my first day. I would also freshen up my research on the company, so I feel as confident as possible walking through the doors.
Do you perform your work in a cubicle, office or open workspace? Please describe what’s on your desk at this moment.
On my desk: Currently working from home, but in the office my desk features: Beyoncé’s Vogue Magazine; Devotional Flip Calendar; Post-its; Pencil/Pen Holder; Lysol; Hand sanitizer; A Christmas Card; Lotion
Use one word to describe how you practice self-care?
Are you an early bird or a night owl?