By Melissa Estepp '15
Before attending OU this fall, I was given an opportunity through Ohio University’s Fellowship Program to work with Alumnus and Director of Marketing, Matt VanSandt ’11 at the Big South Conference in Charlotte, NC. As the Marketing Assistant I found myself in various roles that enabled me to learn key sets of industry skills and take ownership of diversified projects.
Three of my biggest projects were the 2012 Big South Back-to-School Tour, Big South 5K, and the 2013 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Through each of these events I was able to take away new skills and improve upon many others.
During the Back-to-School Tour I worked marketing tables and represented not only the Big South Conference, but some of our top corporate partners as well. Communicating with our various partners and institutions to ensure a smoothly run event was key. I also received help on the day of these events through the Big South Internship Program that I ran throughout the year. This project gave me further insight into delegating work and staying organized. As part of the relationship with our sponsors I also created Proof of Performance Presentations that included events throughout the year, including the Back-to-School. Below is an example of State Farm’s POP.
Currently going into its fourth year the Big South 5K Road Race benefits Charlotte-area middle school athletic programs. Through sponsorship revenue, and for the first time ever, we were able to give back 100% of entry fee dollars to those schools that had individuals race in its name. I was required to prospect for new business; cold-call, meet with potential sponsors and build relationships with sponsors, and close sponsorship deals. I am very grateful for the experience with corporate sponsorship and sales.
Much like its name, the 2013 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships was a long and exhausting week of basketball and promotions, but that is one reason the experience will stick with me for life. As the Promotions Coordinator I got first-hand experience about what it is like to run on-court promotions. From pitching promotion ideas to sponsors to picking up the protein bars, blow-up tubes and numbers off of the court as the referees signal for the players to return to the court, being able to see this event through from start-to-finish really opened my eyes to the ins and out of promotions.
As a result of Ohio’s Fellowship Program and to the great staff at the Big South Conference, I can contribute more and share my new found knowledge and experiences with my classmates. During my time I was also given the opportunity to represent the Big South Conference at the 2013 NACWAA/NCAA Women’s Leadership Symposium in Indianapolis.