Sunday, March 8, 2015

Speaker Spotlight: Kayla Gross

This past week, Kayla Gross, the Community Relations Coordinator for UW Athletics, spoke with SBC about her role in the athletic department here on campus.

Kayla is a 2013 graduate from UW, which means that yes, she is young. But that hasn't stopped her from being driven and passionate about working in community relations. Kayla was strategic about her involvement, and advised SBC members to "tailor [their involvement." She learned PR skills from a company called Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, worked with UW Athletic Department Guest Services, and volunteered her time as a member of SBC. Kayla suggested taking a directed study while in school as well. Additionally, she had a panel of "advisors" that she knew she could come and talk to at any time, and highly stressed that SBC members find their own panel to help guide them.

Kayla's current role as the Community Relations Coordinator involves a number of tasks, all of which keep her busy:

  • Reports to the Associate Athletic Director of External Relations
  • Devises and manages all community outreach related content distributed via UW Athletics communication channels
  • Serves as the media contact for all Badgers Give Back related media inquiries
The main program Kayla oversees is Badgers Give Back. This is a program in which student athletes participate in community service by visiting Madison-area schools and hospitals. Badgers Give Back is based on a platform consisting of four areas: education (Bookin' it with Bucky), mentorship (Flat Bucky), helping hand (visiting the American Family Children's Hospital) and health and wellness (WiscFit).

Kayla also talked about what she called "truth bombs." She talked about the pros and cons of working in intercollegiate athletics: low pay, little "vacation," large amounts of "responsibility" (aka stress), lots of hours, and slight upward mobility. You have to be prepared for criticism, and build your "resilience arsenal."

Kayla said that right now, networking should not be the priority. Instead, figure out now what your inspiration is, and find yourself first. Then move forward from there.

She left us with this quote from Brian Michael Bendis: "The trick isn't caring what EVERYBODY thinks of you, but just caring about what the RIGHT people think of you.

SBC would like to thank Kayla for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk to members of the club!

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