Next Up in the Spotlight: Steff Lee
By Nicola Karasik
Now let’s meet our VP of Alumni Relations, Steff Lee!
Q: How did you get into sports?
A: Sports have always been a huge part of my life growing up. Whether I was shooting around a basketball with my best friends or watching baseball games with my dad, it has always brought me a feeling of comfort and I’d love to provide those same feelings to others.
Q: What made you want to work in the sports industry?
A: It's a level of comfort that I've known since childhood. Sports have always been a constant in my life and it's one of the few things in this world that can bring together a group of people of varying backgrounds. It has the ability to unite communities and provide a sense of family amongst strangers. I really appreciate how sports can transform a person's life and give people opportunities beyond their imagination.
Q: Who do you look up to in the sports industry?
A: Amy Brooks is the President of Team Marketing and Business Operations (TMBO) at the NBA. TMBO is revered in the sports industry across all leagues and professional sports teams. This department acts as an in-house consulting agency between the league and its teams. It is responsible for developing, compiling, analyzing, and sharing various ways to drive franchise profitability for 85 teams across four different leagues. As the Chief Innovation Officer, Amy Brooks drives innovative decision-making and growth across the league’s businesses. She has been recognized by SBJ (Forty Under 40) and Forbes (Top 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports). Her ability to balance her work life and personal life is something I admire and strive to do when I’m older. She is highly respected for her intellect and the experience she brings to the table. I also had the privilege of playing against her in the company softball tournament earlier this summer, and I have to admit she has a killer arm and swing.
Q: What experiences do you have working in the sports industry?
A: GW Women's Basketball Manager– As the GW Women’s Basketball manager, I was responsible for overseeing game-day and practice operations for the team. I also helped facilitate the distribution and organization of team belongings and equipment.
Marketing Intern with the Sports Fitness Industry Association– As a marketing intern with the SFIA, I assisted with social media engagements through TweetDeck and Facebook while also organizing the client database using Constant Contacts.
Retail Intern at the Washington Nationals– As the retail intern at the Washington Nationals, I generated and analyzed sales reports using Tablaeu and Retail Pro. On gamedays, I helped supervise a staff across 14 team stores and provided customer service to over 30,000 fans.
Global Partnerships Intern at the NBA– Throughout my internship with the NBA, I was part of the Branded Attractions team within the Global Partnerships department. For my team, I created a digital asset library for over 100 attractions, events, and partner activations to make the content easily searchable and identify ownership and opportunities for replication. I researched industry trends and presented decks that included new integration ideas for partners and activations. I also provided my team with case studies on halo business priorities for the NBA and generated 10 different metrics to integrate and collect consumer data from these locations. Aside from my specific department assignments, I was tasked to try and make the NBA’s developmental league more attractive to top high school prospects. I collaborated with four other interns to research player development programs and several ways to improve basketball operation for the G League that would leverage partnerships and increase the leagues overall attraction.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: I'm not yet sure what my ultimate goal is in terms of my profession. I haven't decided which part of the sports industry I want to work in, as I'm torn between the league or a specific team. However, I know I want to make an impact on fans' lives like sports has changed my life.
Q: What is something you wish you had known about going into the industry before college and applying to internships?
A: Grades are important but they're not everything.
Q: What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
A: The potential of how sports can influence or change someone's life. It's crazy how far the industry/games have changed, but there's still so much more room for improvement. Specifically in regards to technology, the potential is limitless and I think that's the most exciting thing about working in sports. There is constantly so much innovation to improve the game and fan experience.
Q: What are you currently doing that will further advance you to achieving your goals?
A: Being a sponge and absorbing any and all information that's available to me. Whether it's sitting in on meetings or reading the news, it's crucial to stay on top of the latest trends in the industry and be able to provide your own insight and opinions on the topics at hand. Employers want to see that you are up to date, but it's equally as important to show you can articulate your own thoughts about the subject.
Q: How would you describe your journey and how you got to where you are today?
A: I truly believe in the saying “everything happens for a reason,” and I feel as though that exemplifies my journey to where I am today. I never planned to go to college in a city, so stumbling upon GW was a surprise that would really shape my future. From the moment I stepped on campus, I tried to capitalize on being a student in the Foggy Bottom area – where we have access to a variety of professional sports organizations with plenty of volunteer opportunities and/or events. It’s important to get your foot in the door and start somewhere. I’ve probably applied to over 100 internships and only heard back from a handful, but it only takes one. And I think that’s the mindset someone needs to have in this industry because there are so many opportunities that can kick start someone’s career.
Q: What is one thing people should definitely know about you?
A: I love a good pun! But honestly, you will probably find me laughing at just about anything.