The responsibilities of a communications professional has evolved to include skills that weren’t grouped together 10-20 years ago. Today, you have to be savvy in writing, statistics, graphics, video production, photography and social media to best showcase your athletic programs.
Football Coordinator of Career and Professional Development
The Ohio State University
The interview with Candace Johnson was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
1Tell us about your role as Football Coordinator of Career and Professional Development at The Ohio State University. What does a typical day look like for you?
We have a three-person player development staff and my focus is career and professional development.
I oversee our Real Life Wednesday program. The goal of the program is to introduce our student-athletes to careers outside of football and to make sure they are successful off the field.
Some highlights of the program are presentations by guest speakers, internship opportunities and a job fair.
I also prepare our student-athletes for life after football by helping them create resumes and business cards, walking them through how to dress and conduct themselves during interviews and showing them how to network effectively.
2I notice that you previously held the role of Assistant Director, Athletic Communications. What were some of the benefits and challenges of jumping into your current position?
I’ve been around our football program for the last two years while helping on the communications side of things, so it wasn’t a hard transition.
It was good that I already knew most of our coaching staff and players so the move never felt overwhelming.
I also get to use my communications background when it comes to:
Best practices for social media
3How were you able to transfer the skills you acquired working in communications to your new role? Are there any specific skills you find yourself utilizing in your new position?
The responsibilities of a communications professional have evolved to include skills that weren’t grouped together 10-20 years ago.
Today, you have to be savvy in writing, statistics, graphics, video production, photography and social media to best showcase your athletic programs.
Coming from having to do all those things for say six different teams prepared me for the fast-paced environment with football. I’m used to being on the move and getting multiple things done throughout the day.
I definitely see a correlation when creating resumes touches on my writing background, or doing mock interviews goes back to my communications roots.
I use skills from working in athletics communications every day in my new role.
4In the sports industry, we all get by with help from our friends and peers that we meet along the way. How important has it been to the success of your career to build good relationships with other professionals in the sports field?
I wouldn’t be where I am without the relationships that I’ve made over the years.
I have been fortunate to meet incredible people who have wanted nothing but the best for me.
To have friends and peers that want to bring others up as they continue to advance in their own careers is priceless.
It is truly uplifting to have people that are champions for you.
5There are a lot of women looking to pursue careers in the sports industry but hesitate, unsure if they belong in a heavily male-dominated industry. Did you initially feel this way? What advice would you give these women?
I don’t think I realized that it was such a male-dominated industry until after I graduated and started my first job.
That is when I noticed most of the people in the sports industry, especially in communications and executive-level positions were men, which can be intimidating when you are just starting out.
For women looking to get into sports, I would tell them to never let anyone else dictate their value and what they can bring to the table.