Words of WISdom from Alicia Lawrence
Tuesday, November 21 2017 12:00am
This week, OHIO Women in Sports Committee interviewed Alicia Lawrence (MSA '11), Director of the All for One Fund at Xavier University. Here are her words of WISdom!
Alicia Lawrence (MSA '11)
Director of the All for One Fund, Xavier University
What projects are you currently fundraising for at Xavier?
Part of my job is to work with sport specific initiatives and their short-term priorities. That said, we are an all hands on deck shop. Seth Breitentstein (MBA/MSA '12) and I are the fundraising team here at Xavier. Therefore, we also fundraise for capital needs. We are currently fundraising for a significant renovation project to the Cintas Center, which is the home of Xavier basketball. This includes a sports medicine area, new weight room, renovating the locker rooms, and many in-arena projects that impact the fan experience. We just went through a new seat selection that concluded at the end of June. The Cintas Center 2.0 will launch in November with the start of the season.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in athletic development?
People are fascinating to me. I love meeting them, learning their story, and finding ways to connect them with their passion. That's why it fits best for me. I love taking a step back at a large event and knowing that I had a hand in making it possible and creating a memory for someone. Also, as a former student-athlete, I want to pay it forward. Had it not been for the combination of my athletic and academic scholarship, attending college would have been difficult. As a first generation college student, I'm passionate about furthering the opportunities of student-athletes. Sport and golf, on top of focusing academically, created that opportunity for me and I want to be able to pay that forward during my career.
What has been the highlight(s) of you professional career?
There are many moments and it's hard to select one. It's not a highlight in terms of an accomplishment, but rather being a part of big moments. I played at a Division II school, NKU, and had the opportunity to go back there and work while they were transitioning to Division I as a member of the Atlantic Sun, then to the Horizon League. Then, fast forward to moving to Xavier and Men’s Basketball making it to the Elite Eight. We were sitting in a conference room at the hotel all day planning for what would happen if we advanced to Xavier’s first Final Four the next night. These were special moments because of the impact they had on the student-athletes, the fans, the donors, and all the folks it takes to make them possible. I love working behind the scenes and then seeing something come to life. Over my seven year career, those are some of the high notes.
What's been the biggest challenge you've faced during your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was losing my mom this summer. She passed away the week of the 4th of July from ALS. That has been the hardest thing to juggle because what we do in sport is not just a job, it's a career and a lifestyle. And so it's balancing all of those pieces of being there as much as you can for your family but yet being there for work. To let my work life suffer would have disappointed Mom because my parents sacrificed and encouraged me to pursue this career path. I was very fortunate to have a job that despite the crazy schedule, I have the flexibility to attend every doctor’s appointment and therapy session, or take a phone call in the middle of the work day. It may have meant that I needed to stay later to get things done, but I was able to do that. I had that support system in place professionally to where I could juggle what was going on outside of work. Our staff at Xavier is truly a family, and I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the past couple of years without them.
Which lesson that you've learned at OHIO has had the biggest impact on your career?
The importance of relationships. The relationships with my classmates and friends is irreplaceable- many Bobcats stood by my side through losing Mom and the beginning of the adjustment to life without her. This has been the biggest takeaway from my experience at OHIO. Two of my former co-workers and dear friends are Chris Hafling (MBA/MSA ’04) and Leslie Fields (MSA ’03). Members of the OHIO family drove in from Athens for her funeral, and one classmate drove in from Chicago. Many of my classmates reach out regularly to check in and I would do the same for each of them. They're the type of relationships where you don't see each other for months but you pick up right where you left off. Those relationships have had the biggest impact on my career because that support system is always there when other things are taken away. The Sports Ad program is truly a family, and it’s our duty as graduates to not lose sight of that as the distance in time grows from our time in Athens.