The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.
Today, meet Zoë White: manager of marketing integration & operations at the Atlanta Hawks. The daughter of a basketball coach in the San Diego suburbs, White attended Stanford University with the hope of one day pursuing a career in the sports industry. She earned her degree in human biology but eventually decided to explore another side of the industry.
“I started working for Stanford Athletics in their marketing department and went to start looking for jobs in professional sports during my senior year,” she recalls. “I ended up finding a position with the Hawks and I had never even been to Atlanta before. I just thought I’m going to take this with both feet in and try something totally different and then here I am still today.”
White credits her family’s support in being able to make the switch from the medical field. She took well to marketing, beginning as the Hawks’ marketing integration & operations coordinator. She stayed in that role for about two years before being promoted to senior coordinator. Within the last six months she took over the Hawks’ marketing integration and operations team after internal restructuring. Growing into a leader within the Hawks organization is a great point of pride with White.
“Getting the opportunity to be a manager, I think is a really cool experience that I’m super grateful for,” White states. “It’s still a work in progress and I’m still learning a lot but I’m excited to see what we can all accomplish together.”
Moving across the country site unseen was something of a risk for White. The move, however, ended up being one of the best decisions of her life. Getting out of her comfort zone helped her achieve success.
“Coming from a small town in California and also going to college in California, I’d been kind of in this bubble my whole life,” White says. “My parents were really pushing me to do something different and get outside of my comfort zone. I’ve got so many great opportunities that I would have otherwise had. Of course you don’t want to be uncomfortable, but just push yourself to do new things and take on projects where you don’t always know what the outcome is going to be. I think that has always really boded well for me so far.”
White’s key advice to the up and coming professionals is to not be afraid to reach out and learn from those who have been there before.
“Build relationships with your professors, talk to people, meet up with people, and do informational interviews with people that have the job that you want,” she suggests. “I think that is something that can be valuable no matter what career path you’re going, you’re going down. Just talk to them, not try to get something from them, but just try to learn. If you maintain those relationships, there will be opportunities that will come to you.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.