Day 17: Ignore the Negative Voice

Jessica Schafer-Thomas 2018

It’s always hard to know whether a person has your best intentions in mind, especially when the only way you’ve conversed with them for months is over phone and email. The voice in the back of your head constantly tells you that this is real, that what they are saying is going to be true when you meet them for the first time, but occasionally it says, “you shouldn’t believe this shit,” or, “it’s too good to be true,” which is what mine said most of the time. Lorne and Bailey talked a good game. They painted a picture in my mind, that had me captivated by what this program and family could do for me, but I didn’t always believe it. I spent months trying to secure an internship position and began doubting myself because some companies did not want to take a chance on my work ethic or the fact that I have never been to NYC. I was using up every penny in my bank account to make this move and the real things weren’t clicking, so it was hard not to listen to the voice that said, “this shit is too good to be true.”

“I’m grateful because I listened to the voice in the back of my head that said, “this is real, Lorne and Bailey got you” and not the one that said, “this shit is too good to be true.”

I knew that deep down I was made to be in the city and work in the sports industry because I grind 24/7 (thanks mom and dad for teaching me the value of having a great work ethic). That was the number one thing that I told Lorne and Bailey all those months over the phone and through email, and they listened. I finally secured a position within Hashtag Sports as their Marketing & Events Intern, knowing they had their annual conference in two-and-a-half weeks. It was crunch time, so I was thrilled to jump right in and start grinding. Anthony, Steve, and Emily took note of that, giving me free rein to coordinate all the volunteers and exhibitors that would be on-site for this year’s event. I had to coordinate with over 120 volunteers, scheduling them over three days at two different venues while giving them jobs that they would enjoy and making sure it fit their availability. I spent days emailing back and forth with our partners, making sure they had everything they needed to make the event successful for them and utilize their partnership to its fullest potential. I was one of the go-to people when our speakers needed to have their guests registered in our system or making sure people were RSVP’ing for our great array of evening networking opportunities. It all sounds so simple when I write it out on paper and actually doing it was a lot more stressful, BUT I loved it. I loved the grind of having to do five things at once and crunching to hit a deadline before I would head out at the end of the day. I loved coming back to my dorm after attending our MSBA programming and grinding out more work until 1 or 2 AM.

When the conference finally arrived, I was ready. All that grinding for two-and-a-half weeks was about to pay off. My number one priority was to be that person who runs around like a chicken with my head chopped off making sure everything was good in terms of volunteers, exhibitors, and my colleagues. I feel like I did that perfectly (I’ll ask my boss Emily and get back to you on that one, though). Being “that person” allowed me to meet Hope Solo in the dressing room so we could both fix our hair on day two. It allowed me to eat my lunch with LZ Granderson in a very little time frame on day three and learn that he is from Detroit and knows where Saginaw Valley State University is (GO CARDS); he also told me that he can’t believe I spent time living in Sag-nasty (unless you’re from Michigan you won’t get this reference).

It allowed me to end day two singing karaoke with Elie Bouka from the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 AM after we spent time listening to some great comedy at Bleacher Report HQ. It allowed me to sit down and spend 40 minutes listening to Mike Greenberg talk about how to be successful in this business and that the key to success and building your brand is to be “authentically yourself”. It allowed me to have my boss, Steve, come up and ask me to do an important job for him because he knew I would be able to get it done.

All in all, being “that person” allowed me to receive some great opportunities and – now that my three days of being “that person” are over – I’m excited to see what the rest of my summer entails, not only at Hashtags Sports, but with MSBA as well, because at the end of the day I’m extremely grateful. I’m grateful because I listened to the voice in the back of my head that said, “this is real, Lorne and Bailey got you,” and not the one that said, “this shit is too good to be true.” So grateful that I came home after the conference and cried because they had their best intentions in mind for me and never looked back. I appreciate that more than they will ever know.

P.S. The important job Steve asked me to do meant I had to put on my big girl panties and talk to Victor Cruz, which resulted in this picture: