As an Accounting major, I am very interested and have become fond of learning about the varying business aspects within the sports industry. As a result, I decided to conduct my interview with a professional that is associated with the business operations of athletics. The person that I interviewed was Dawn Reynolds, the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Business and Finance here at the University of Miami.
After initially getting in contact with Ms. Reynolds a few weeks ago, I was finally able to meet with her briefly and conduct my interview on November 30, 2010, in room 261 in the Hecht Athletics Center.Just to give a bit of background information about Ms. Reynolds, she is from Elmira, New York and now currently resides in Coral Gables, Florida.
She graduated from the University of Miami with a major in Finance and started her career at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where she worked for four years as their budget coordinator. As a past president of the College Athletics Business Managers Association, she was named the College Athletic Business Manager of the Year in 2003 and has since served on various committees including the ACC Finance Committee and chairs the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee.She has worked with the University of Miami for the past 20 years and is currently the Chief Fiscal Officer for the Department and is a member of the executive management team. Below is a list of ten questions and answers from the interview I conducted: Q: How did you break into the sports industry? A: I didn’t really have an interest in the sports industry.
I initially worked on the main budget in the cross campus office, where one of my main responsibilities was to try to project the revenues and expenditures for athletics.Working with the media and reporting aspects of athletics, I made a connection with the person that used to have the job I have now. Working together on several occasions, she was aware of my capabilities. One day, she came up to me and asked if I was interested in taking a position that had just opened in her department. I knew that this was a great opportunity for me and I should not miss out on it, so I had to take the offer. Although I had no aspiration to work in the sports industry, now that I am a part of it, I love it and cannot imagine myself doing anything else.
Q: At what point did you decide this is what you wanted to do? A: Once I started getting more involved with my position, I knew that this was something that I wanted to do; there are just so many national organizations on the business side that are great to be a part of. I would never want to get out of the business aspect of athletics because I have no aspirations of becoming an athletic director. This is where I want to be.
I have met a lot of friends and acquaintances across the country that I have become fond of.Being a part of athletic business operations is like working within a small community because you get to work closely with a group of people that you end up becoming good friends with. It is a lot of fun working in this department and working with numbers.
Q: Can you discuss some of your job responsibilities? A: I oversee the planning and administration of the department’s budget, fiscal operations, accounting functions, human resources, and facilities operations. I pretty much supervise all of the financial reporting (internally for athletics and externally for the senior administrators) and fiscal operations for athletics.Q: What is your educational background? A: I graduated cum laude from the University of Miami where I received my Bachelor’s of Business Administration, with a major in Finance. Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring sports administrator? A: In the world of business, it is very hard to get your foot in the door especially on the accounting side. It is difficult to land an internship in accounting because it is difficult to train someone to do different responsibilities with confidential information. If you are interested in accounting, try to work in a business office either volunteering or as a student to gain experience.I recommend that you take every opportunity that is given to you. You must be willing to start in an entry level position and work your way up.
Q: How did you get to your current role? A: I worked in the University’s Budget Office for three years before working in athletics. I began my career in Athletics in 1993 as the Senior Business Manager where I worked with day to day activities and reconciling. I was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director in 1999 and Associate Athletic Director in 2005. On September 2010, I was offered the position I hold now: Senior Associate Director for Business and Finance.Q: What do you like/dislike about your job? A: I love the people I work with and love being a part of this great program. I enjoy the people I am around and I enjoy working with numbers. The only downside is the amount of hours you have to work. There are times where I have to work long hours and put in a lot of extra time.
Q: What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far? A: When you are in my position, you get to travel with the football team so I must say the most memorable moment of my career was being able to watch the Hurricanes win a National Championship at the Rose Bowl.Q: What keeps you motivated? A: I try to always have a positive outlook on things. I have a great husband and a great family that supports me with my work. My personal relationship with God has also been able to keep me motivated over the years. Working with amazing people and having a great boss that has integrity, is very supportive, and trusts me, has allowed me to do my job. Q: Is there someone you consider to be the most important contact or mentor in your career? If so, who? A: I do not have just one person who has been extremely important to me.I am involved with the College Athletics Business Management Association (CABMA) which has helped me a lot with my work.
When you are a part of such an organization as CABMA, you meet so many people that you can fall back on. Honestly, there are just so many people that have been there for me and have helped me, that I cannot just name you one. After conducting my interview with Dawn Reynolds, I was able to relate too many of the topics discussed in this course and was able to gain more insight on the different aspects and attitudes surrounding the business operations within the sports industry.The interview allowed me to get a better perspective on whether or not I actually want to pursue a career path similar to the one Ms. Reynolds undertook.
This interview was beneficial because not only was I given different tips on the best ways of entering a job concentrated on the business side of athletics, but I was given the opportunity to network with a professional within the sports industry. 19