Words of WISdom from Shannon Buckner (PMSA '18)
Friday, March 2 2018 12:00am
As she is getting ready to graduate from the PMSA program, Shannon Bucker (PMSA '18) reflects on the impact of her degree on her current role as a Partnership Activation Executive at the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx
Shannon Buckner (PMSA '18)
Partnership Activation Executive, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx
Why did you decide to pursue a career in sports?
I went into my senior year still not entirely sure of what career path I wanted to pursue after graduation. At the time I was working with football recruiting, and I started to see that my passion for sports could actually be a career. I then spent my senior year continuing to work with football recruiting as well as interning with Big Ten Network and the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was these internships that made me realize I definitely wanted to pursue a career in sports.
You had a few internships while you were in school at Ohio State. Could you please talk about the impact those experiences have had on your career?
The great thing about internships is that they allow you to sample different career paths and see what you may be interested in pursuing full time. When I started interning with the Columbus Blue Jackets in their Corporate Development Department, I immediately fell in love with partnership activation and have been working towards the job I have now ever since. This internship also helped me have a better understanding of what working in professional sports is actually like. I was in the office throughout the week and worked every home game, so I knew upfront the kind of hours and dedication it would take for me to have a career in this industry.
What activation strategy that you've implemented with the Timberwolves are you most proud of?
I started at the end of the Lynx season and shortly before the start of the Timberwolves season, so I had to immediately hit the ground running on activations. Now that I’ve been able to settle in, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some new activation and start ideating with our partners. PMSA alumnus David King did a great job bringing Arby’s on board with our “We Have the Seats” promotion, where people can win four great seats to our most in-demand game of the month. I’m proud of the work we did in conjunction with Arby’s agency and Fox Sports North to quickly get this activation up and running, and so far we’ve been really happy with the results. I’ve also recently started working with our partner Hy-Vee and I’m excited to see our ideas for the partnership come to fruition over the next year.
What are the most important skills/experiences for young professionals starting a career in sports?
For young professionals starting a career in sports, push yourself to keep learning. Our industry continues to evolve, whether it be in the use of social and digital channels, advances in facility design, or the rise of E-Sports. By continuing to educate yourself on the direction the industry is headed you’ll be able to show your dedication. Another skill that’s incredibly important is being able to build relationships. I try to live my life by the Maya Angelou quote: “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” I take this into my everyday interactions at work, whether it be with the people on our partnerships team, people from other departments, or our game night staff at the Target Center. Every day I interact with so many different people, so I put high importance on building relationships.
What class/lesson that you've learned during the PMSA program has had the biggest impact on your career?
Every class I’ve taken in the PMSA program has been valuable in its own unique way. I often find myself relating things I’m working on to something we’ve talked about in class, and it’s helped me feel more well-rounded. Two classes that stand out though are Sports Law and Events and Facilities. Sports Law was by far my most challenging class, but it’s been incredibly useful. A large part of my job is understanding what we’ve contractually agreed upon and making sure it happens. As soon as I started my current job, I read through my partners’ contracts and have often referred back to them throughout the season, especially recently with the Timberwolves potentially making the playoffs. With the experience in the Sports Law class, I am much more comfortable reviewing contracts than I would have been before. Events and Facilities was also great because it opened my eyes on how to truly be prepared and account for all the “what ifs?” Now when I’m planning an activation, I stop to think of all the “what ifs” and make sure we are safeguarded from all different directions.