Managers on a Mission Helped a Basketball Manager Find Her Next Calling

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Photo credit: Managers on a Mission

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It often takes a single transformative experience to find what the next step is in a person’s professional journey. For Kate Wilkins, this experience was a three-week mission trip in Uganda with Managers on a Mission (MOAM).

Formerly a manager with the University of Nebraska’s women’s basketball team, Wilkins learned of MOAM shortly after the organization’s inception.

“When I was an undergrad at Nebraska,” Wilkins remembers, “I was forwarded this email about MOAM right around the time that they started. I immediately loved that so much of their vision statement aligned with what I was interested in.”

Wilkins made the trip with MOAM in 2015, where they taught Ugandan children a variety of sports and led Bible studies most mornings.

“The biggest reason that I wanted to get into athletics in the first place is that I believe that it’s one of the greatest platforms for influencing and developing young people,” Wilkins states.

“We wanted the older kids especially to think about how the lessons they learned through sport can be applied to life off the court. So I loved the aspect of service and I love the aspect of being able to develop my leadership skills as well as the children’s. This was an awesome opportunity for me to network and build relationships with other people in the industry.”

Wilkins admits that the trip also made her fall in love with the continent of Africa. About a year later, she returned to Africa as an athletic director with the Rafiki Foundation in the country of Zambia.

She stayed in Zambia for two years before moving to Atlanta to work with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

“MOAM prepared me for the jobs I’ve had since in not only knowing how to plan and execute these camps on a large scale, but also being able to do that cross-culturally by communicating effectively. The network has also been incredible.

“They end up getting the cream of the crop of super-talented people that are interested in serving and giving back to the sport and are invested in what they’re doing. So, getting to network with and know those people have been hugely beneficial to me.”

Applications for the 2019 summer mission trip are due March 1. For any aspiring athletic professionals looking for new insight into athlete development, Wilkins believes you have nothing to lose. In the end, Wilkins’ service with the organization turned out to be a bigger assist than any she’d seen on a basketball court.

“You get the opportunity to grow and be developed as a leader. You have the opportunity to serve and to see new things and do new things and be stretched. Nothing great that we do is ever within our comfort zone. All of the greatest things that we accomplish come when we step outside of it. This trip will be one of the greatest opportunities you’ll ever have in your life.”

Applications for the 2019 summer mission trip can be submitted here. Potential applicants should contact MOAM Director of Discipleship Seth Ralston at sralston@managersonamission.org with any further questions.