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These changes are pushing us all with regards to innovation and communication (internal and external) and while the uncertainty is less than ideal, we know that athletes need goals and competitions embody these goals.
Director of Events
U.S. Figure Skating
Day to day, I am overseeing the competitive structure of our sport, striving for a consistent environment for all our athlete experiences. I often joke that I am a “professional emailer” acting as a liaison to our Local Organizing Committees (LOC/Figure Skating Clubs), Committee Chairs, Volunteers and Officials.
No two days are alike on our team and for better or for worse, over the past few years we’ve eliminated our off-season – our Singles, Pairs and Ice Dance season now runs from June to January with our Synchronized Skating season beginning in October through March/early April and our competitive adult season from December through April and these are just our “qualifying competitions”.
Then we factor in our annual ISU Grand Prix Series event, Skate America (October) and every few years a World Championship. Figure skating is truly a year-round sport and our growth as an Event’s Team is a good problem to have.
Over the last few years, I’ve also had a hands-on role with the development of our own Event Management System (EMS) which covers everything from competition registration for our athletes and coaches to overall event management for the figure skating clubs we work with. This has provided an opportunity to engage with the sport from Learn to Skate USA to Team USA providing consistent competitive environments and collecting data on where we are as a sport and we’re going.
I’d be remiss not to comment on the impact of COVID-19 but at this point, I prefer to focus on the positives – these changes are pushing us all with regards to innovation and communication (internal and external) and while the uncertainty is less than ideal, we know that athletes need goals and competitions embody these goals.
We’re hopeful Fall will bring our “return to the ice” but we’ll continue to monitor and evaluate, and more importantly be prepared to act on what comes next…
I’ve always believed in the mantra of “over-prepare and then go with the flow” for events but this has really changed the game and I believe we’ll come out stronger.
I interned for US Club Soccer while I was in school at the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks) and this internship led me to a full-time position at Anthony Travel (ATI) where I served as an Event Coordinator. US Club was a client of ATI and this transition was a testament to how important relationship building is within this industry, regardless of age or experience.
I was fortunate enough that ATI agreed to hire me after I completed a final internship at the Olympic Summer Games in London (2012) that led to the incredible first day on the job supporting the Emerald Isle Classic in Ireland.
And then I was off to Dallas to join their office, where I had the opportunity to focus on sports travel and its impact on the success of your event (from the hotel partnerships to working with Sports Commissions and CVBs).
I spent nine months in this position which like my first day, led me to some very cool events inclusive of Disney Sports and the Final Four but ultimately, I knew this was a pit stop, not my destination.
I was consistently keeping my eyes open for “what was next” and I wouldn’t say figure skating was end-game but as soon as I saw the posting for a Competitions, Coordinator on U.S. Figure Skating’s website – I knew that I wanted it and I started working all the angles I could to get my foot in the door.
I didn’t know what was going to come from the opportunity other than a relocation to Colorado Springs, but I was excited. I grew up in the sport and it truly felt like an organic step and seven years later and a few title changes, I’m still excited and there’s a lot more work to be done.
For me, this is an all-encompassing question – when you work with something that you love, you need to handle it with care and I’ve found that over the years, I need to check my feelings at the door to the ice rink because I do have a deep passion for this sport but more importantly, I have a job to do.
Similarly, it’s hard to turn the switch off because the investment feels so large but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way (much to my husband’s chagrin).
Everyone is wired differently so above all else, as a leader, it’s important to be aware and flexible – and that applies to who you’re working with and the projects you’re working on. Having a strong sense of awareness, in addition to effective communication provides a solid foundation for your team and in my case, has supported my growth to become a Director.
Further, I don’t know if I’d categorize leadership as something individuals are born with but there are certainly personality traits that make the evolution simpler.
For me, I’d say I was born loud with a lot of personality but that’s something I’ve had to refine as I matured, as a leader doesn’t have to be the loudest in the room but a strong voice is important….as is knowing when to use it.
For me, there are two things that make U.S. Figure Skating unique.
First and foremost, we are a membership-based organization and wouldn’t be able to exist without our vast group of volunteers, many of whom have been involved in the sport from an early age. It may sound cheesy, but there truly is a figure skating family that never ceases to amaze me with their support of the sport, on and off the ice – it’s a family that I’m proud to be a member of.
Secondly, I am very fortunate that my position extends from grassroots programs all the way up to our NBC broadcasted events. We have a fantastic event’s team at U.S. Figure Skating and ultimately, no project or competition is too small or too large for our group to be a part of.
You can sense Mia Corsini’s passion for figure skating, even just through her words. Her strong leadership skills have really helped grow U.S. Figure Skating into the successful organization that it is. I love her saying “a leader doesn’t have to be the loudest in the room but a strong voice is important….as is knowing when to use it,” and I think she really embodies that.