Saturday, April 15, 2017

Speaker Spotlight: Kristina Navarro

March 29, 2017


Dr. Kristina Navarro is the active faculty advisor of the Sports Business Club at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a current assistant professor and Assistant Athletic Director for Leadership Development & Strategic Partnerships at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.

Navarro attended UW-Madison herself from 2002-2003 with an intended major in Management and Human Resources, but later transferred to UW-La Crosse in 2003 to pursue a B.S. in Business Administration, Sport Management, Strength and Conditioning that would go on to receive in 2006. During her time as an undergraduate, she was also a NCAA student athlete from 2002-2006.

From 2007-2009 she received her M.A. in Sport Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Navarro returned to UW-Madison in 2009 to complete her Ph.D. in ELPA-HPCE (Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis - Higher, Postsecondary, and Continuing Education). Dr. Navarro added her most recent accolade in a long list of achievements in 2016 with a certificate in Athlete Development/Player Engagement from the incredibly prestigious University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

In her speech, Dr. Navarro discussed the idea of "crafting your career trajectory," as she said it. She advised students to align their passion with their purpose, emphasizing the importance of the relationships and networks that students need to make while in school. The best way to make these networks is to volunteer and engage with the field, and start early by getting involved with anything that allows one to build his or her résumé by, "getting your foot in the door." Professor Navarro stressed valuing class relationships, because these classmates could help with future projects or business ventures down the road.

Dr. Navarro also talked about being intentional in your thoughts, energy and actions; have a purpose in what you are doing, and commit to it 100 percent. She stressed not settling for the status quo in the industry; be persistent, follow up with things, and show an interest in what others (such as SBC-UW guest speakers for instance) have to say. Dr. Navarro suggested students utilize the following list of professional associations to grow their own networks today.

Navarro’s List of Suggested Professional Associations:

For SBC members actively seeking employment or internships in the sports industry, especially opportunities in the world of college athletics, Navarro had this to say:

On how to make the most of your college experience for sports business …
  • “Be intentional with your thoughts, energy and actions. Don’t float through your undergrad. Have a purpose. Having a plan and working toward that plan will really help you.”

On networking in Navarro’s experience …
  • “Think about who’s on your life executive board. Relationships and taking those to the next level. After any kind of presentation there are probably about 50 people that come up to you and give you their card, but I am probably not going to just call them out of the blue. I am going to call the people who I have developed a personal relationship.”

On working in college athletics vs. professional sports …
  • “The biggest difference between college and professional athletics is that you are bound by an institution in college athletics.”

On public school vs. private school athletics …
  • “Working at a public school vs. a private school is completely different. State budgets at public schools dictate a lot more with segregated fees, student services, recreation and sports."

On benefits/favorite part of working in college athletics …
  • “The connection to the University and the university setting is a benefit. You have a core, center mission other than just winning games. There are a lot more rules in college athletics, but I like to think you’re working for a bigger cause.”

On approaching graduate school …
  • “Think about where you want to go, don’t just apply to anywhere and everywhere. Where do you want to develop your network? Where are you going to have your most connections? Being intentional, once again. Have a bucket list of dream schools and schools you think you have a strong chance of admittance, but make sure you apply to both." 

On importance of master’s degree in sports business …
  • “If you’re going to go into college athletics, you’re going to need a master’s degree. If you’re going into Division II or III, you’re going to be wearing a lot of hats, so having a master’s degree allows you to work with undergraduates." 

On challenges with pursuing a master’s degree …
  • “One of the things I faced was that I had 10 years of education but not experience, so my experience had to catch up to my education.”

Thank you to Kristina Navarro for making the trip down from Whitewater and taking the time to share her invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working for a college athletic department like UW-Whitewater as well as the education pursuits necessary to get there.

Learn more about Kristina Navarro
Follow Kristina Navarro on Twitter: @DrKMNavarro

Study Abroad Opportunity

Lastly, Dr. Navarro discussed the upcoming Global Influence of Sport and Recreation, 3-Credit study abroad opportunity taking place in Australia over the winter break between Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. Navarro is helping coordinate the program through UW-Whitewater, but strongly encourages UW-Madison students to apply because all three credits are transferable back to UW-Madison.

Global Influence of Sport and Recreation Information:

Students will develop an enhanced understanding and appreciation for international sport and recreation. Students will be introduced to and apply concepts of international sport marketing, branding, sponsorship, fundraising, and grass roots program development via an international experience in Australia. This course seeks to broaden students’ perspectives with respect to the global influence of sport and recreation on culture.

The course is designed to complement classroom learning for the Department of
Health, Physical Education, Recreation and coaching (HPERC) as well as those interested in sports and recreation. This course seeks to broaden students’ perspectives via an international experience paired with classroom instruction.

For any further information regarding the study abroad trip or any other questions members may have for Dr. Navarro, please feel free contact her via email.

Application Deadline: Sept. 9, 2017
Click Here to apply

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