The Next Chapter

Hey guys! This blog is going to be a bit more intimate blog as I have exciting news to share with all of you. As a senior design student in my last semester here at Marywood, my peers and I are getting ready for our senior show, graduation and post-degree plans. With that being said, I am taking a studio class with Christine Medley focusing on resumes, cover letters, portfolios, senior show and our personal websites and branding to prepare us for the real world. Many of us have started to apply for jobs and make plans after we leave Marywood, including me!

My educational and design career has not, by any means, been what I expected or planned it to be. Starting out at Pratt Institute, figuring out how to make rent, I struggled with my identity as a designer and as a person. After that, I decided to take a year off not even sure if I wanted to continue through art school, losing my love for art and design I thought maybe I’ll be a teacher instead.

After leaving Brooklyn and teaching preschool for a year, I transferred to Marywood coming in as an Early Childhood Education major. When I met my new volleyball team, one of the girls asked me why I left design and said, “I don’t know you well yet, but you should go back to art, I can just tell you’re an artist.” Then the next day, I went to my advisor and switched my major back to graphic design. Best decision I ever made.

Marywood allowed me to fall back in love with art, I was making some of my strongest and best work, work I was proud of. My mental health improved tremendously as I met some of the most wonderful and supportive people. At this point in my life, I realized I wanted to get into sports design after helping my volleyball team and athletics department out with some graphics for social media.

Sports and art have always been two separate yet important and influential factors in who I am and my character. Sports specifically taught me important life lessons: hard work, discipline, how to communicate with others, how to work together for a bigger picture, patience, and most importantly, to have a voice. I have been able to take these lessons and apply them to every aspect of my life. In addition to my personal aspect, sports have a major influence on society. Many people look up to these famous athletes and sports organizations as role models.

To combine sports and design is to combine the two greatest passions I have. With design acting as a vehicle of communication, the message we send out to the sports world is important. Doubling as a volleyball coach to young athletes, I feel that I can use my knowledge and mentorship to have the greatest impact in the sports industy.

Coming back to my exciting news, I started applying to jobs within the sports industry. Anything remotely related, just to get my feet wet. Of course, after about a hundred applications and a bunch of rejection letters, I heard back from an employer that I was sure was going to reject me. In early March, I heard back from the creative manager at the Philadelphia Flyers, a professional hockey team. She wanted to set up a phone call to talk about the Junior Designer role that I applied for! The idea of even having an interview was so cool and it really put into perspective all of the hard work that I have done over the two years here at Marywood to prepare myself for this.

The half hour phone interview was such an amazing experience, she asked me questions about my resume experience and was happy that I had some within the sports field, thanks to my Lackawanna Athletics internship. I wasn’t sure if I would hear back from her after that, but I followed up with an email linking my website that I improved just for this job.

Sure enough, within the week I heard back from her saying that I made it to the next stage of the interview process! Through my tears of joy and excitement, I read the listed design prompts she attached describing the graphics she wanted me to create. Of course, this is all taking place during midterm week and all I could think about is potentially working with the Flyers. Grinding through the week, I made it out alive and spent two whole days focusing on these graphics. Nervously, I sent them back to her on a Saturday afternoon.

The following Monday at 9:30am, I heard back with the news that they liked my designs and wanted to meet me in person at the Wells Fargo Arena where their offices are. Once again, through the tears, I set up a meeting to take the trip down to Philly to meet with her and the creative team.

My interview was on a Tuesday and my professors were happy to excuse me from class that day. As I drove down to Philadelphia that morning all I could do was talk to myself, reciting the interview questions and answers that I had prepared for myself. Along with imagining what my life would be like working at my dream job out of college.

To be at the executive offices attached to the arena was such a cool experience, meeting with the team, I went over a lot of my portfolio and related experience to sell myself as to why I am a perfect fit for this role. They showed me around this large bay of decorated cubicles consisting of their marketing and creative teams. At the back of the bay there is one set of tinted doors and when you open them up, its like you’re walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Walking into the arena to the buzz of workers getting ready for the game that night. It was such a surreal experience.

Leaving the interview, I sent a follow up to the manager to thank her for her time and how nice it was to be there. I wasn’t sure when I would hear back and what that news would entail. Either way, I would be once again crying. Within 10 minutes, I heard back that she wanted to chat on the phone the following day at 10am. At this point the nerves kicked in all over again.

As I paced the lobby of the art building, anxiously waiting for her phone call, my phone rang and I picked it up. First asking what I thought about the creative team and the Flyers organization, I expressed how amazing it was and all that. I could probably quote her verbatim as it constantly replays in my head. She told me that they wanted to offer me the position as her creative team had nothing but good things to say about me and my portfolio, and that they were super excited to work with me. Through the tears, which she could probably hear she told me that with my experience, personality and passion for the industry, that I’d fit in nicely to their team.

I am still in shock at the realization that I will be working as a Junior Designer with the Philadelphia Flyers after I graduate in May and I get to call the Wells Fargo Arena my 9-5 office. With this news, I recently signed a new lease on a studio apartment for me and my cat close to the arena.

I am truly humbled and blessed at this opportunity and I can’t wait to see where the next chapter as a sports designer takes me in Philly.

6 thoughts on “The Next Chapter

  1. Great blog post! Your journey to becoming a sports designer with the Philadelphia Flyers is truly inspiring. Congratulations on the new job and the upcoming move! My question for you is: how did your experiences at Marywood University prepare you for this opportunity and what advice would you give to other design students who aspire to work in the sports industry?

  2. Congratulations Shannon! We have absolutely loved having you in our classrooms and mentoring you forward to your dream career. You are an amazingly talented designer, athlete, and human. Congratulations Philadelphia Flyers! You just hired a powerhouse.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.