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 Olivia Witherite: social media director at MASN. During her time as a college student, Witherite took note of the rapidly changing media landscape and prepared herself by double majoring in advertising/public relations and journalism.
“When I first went to college,” she recalls, “I thought that I wanted to be a beat writer. I always knew that I wanted to work in the sports industry, but I felt a little limited by my options. At the time it was during the meteoric rise of social and digital media. I was able to see that there is more to working in sports necessarily than being just a writer.”
Witherite joined MASN as an intern in 2011. The next season, she was hired full-time as a digital content administrator and stayed in that role for nearly five years. Witherite then became the organization’s social media director in December 2015.
“What I’m most proud of is using social and digital media to connect athletes with fans,” Witherite says of her time in the digital space to date. “Whether that’s showing the human side of an athlete through different digital initiatives that we do, or connecting with fans on a personal level on social media. It’s important to establish meaningful connections between not just our brand and the fans, but between athletes and some of their biggest fans.”
Working in digital media can be a massive undertaking for those who are not prepared for it. Witherite, however, has taken to the workload like a fish to water.
“I knew it was going to be a grind, but you don’t really realize how much of your life goes into it. There are no real days off, especially during a season. It’s crazy hours but it’s so worth it to me. It’s so much fun compared to other jobs that I would never see myself doing.”
Broadening her horizons led Witherite to sustained success in her career up to this point. She advises many young people that she encounters to do the same in order to begin a career in sports.
“I hire a lot of interns and part timers and one piece of advice I always give them is to broaden their horizons when they’re looking for opportunities. I think a lot of people when they’re looking for internships or jobs, they automatically look at a team or a league, which obviously has great opportunities, but there’s a lot more beyond that. I got my start, and I’m currently still at, a regional sports network. I’ve had so many opportunities that I might not have had if I was at a bigger type of operation. There are a lot of opportunities out there, but it’s not as cut and dry as it used to be.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.