Your Path Isn’t Defined By Your Past, the Journey of Jackie Bartolomeo

This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration

By: Amari Dryden, @Amari_Dryden

Jackie Bartolomeo, Program Coordinator for the MLB Player’s Trust

Jackie Bartolomeo is the Program Coordinator for the MLB Player’s Trust. Jackie’s journey didn’t start out in the sport industry. She majored in Communications at NYU and her first few internships were in media. Her first internship was with Hearst, a major publication company and then to Condé Nast where she focused on media and fashion.

“My favorite part was the fast-pace and competitiveness.”

During her final internship fall of her senior year, Jackie started to think about her future and what she wanted upon graduation. She realized she wasn’t getting prepared for the career she wanted after graduation.

“I wasn’t getting as much responsibility as I wanted or the freedom to guide my own path.”

Once the internship was over, she thought about what her dream job would be.

“I thought I would love to work for the New York Rangers. I was always a big sports fan and I loved the Rangers, so I applied for an internship at Madison Square Garden and sure enough I got it.”

After graduating from NYU, she realized she still wanted more exposure to the sports industry.

“I took a full-time internship with the MLS in their communications department. I assisted with the everyday responsibilities including creating their media guide and website to compiling clips and helping out at Red Bulls game and US friendlies. From there, I got my first full-time position with the SportsBusiness Journal in their advertising and conference sales department, and now I’m where I am today.”

Even though Jackie’s journey didn’t start in sports, she has still been able to apply her skills to her current job. The internships she’s had have prepared her for her future roles by strengthening her time management skills and exposing her to public speaking.

“I highly suggest having an internship while in school because it makes you develop your time management skills. I’m thrown many different tasks every day. From coordinating programs, updating our website, scheduling meetings dealing with last-minute obstacles, no two days are the same regardless how prepared I am. I’m on the phone a lot-interacting with representatives from the 30 different MLB clubs, various charities or ballplayers. My previous experiences have prepared me to get over the initial fear of public speaking. I don’t think you can necessarily learn that in a classroom. I now have the confidence to speak in front of people from all different fields across the industry.”

What she loves about her job is that it allows her to witness firsthand professional athletes giving back to the communities where they work and play.

“The players aren’t just helping people in need by dedicating their time, money and energy to put a smile on someone else’s face, but encouraging others to give back as well.”

Her work is also very rewarding because she not only gets to work in the sport industry, but also work with kids.

“It is very rewarding to be able to watch players teach the game of baseball to youth during our City Clinics. Many of these children may not have the opportunity otherwise to experience America’s great pastime. I am able to play a small role in brightening the day of these children. It’s a unique opportunity, getting to work in sports and also for a non-profit.”

She recently coordinated a baseball clinic at the end of April in St. Petersburg, Florida where they worked with the Miracle League of the Gulf Beaches, a little league for children with special needs.

“I was able to go out there with five players from the Tampa Bay Rays. It was a great opportunity to witness their interactions with the kids. Some of the kids have participated in the Miracle League for years, so they knew many of players who had stopped by before, and the children were excited that the guys remembered them. The players jumped in taking their various positions. Drew Smyly was there bright and early even though he had just pitched the night before. It was special seeing the bond between them.”

Because of the MLB’s long season, scheduling charity events can be difficult for Jackie.

“From a coordination standpoint, logistical issues are the main obstacle. It’s difficult to have events the mornings of games in the middle of a home stand. People don’t understand how long the baseball season truly is. In addition to the commitments players have for games, they also have commitments outside of baseball including their families, friends, health, etc. We’re limited given scheduling. Ballplayers are willing to give back, but the most difficult part for some of them is finding that opportunity where they can dedicate time given their hectic schedules. They have a lot of time-consuming demands and being able to fit charity into their busy lifestyle can be tough.”

Her advice for working in the sport industry is to be passionate about your work and find your niche.

“Work hard and have determination, passion and drive because you’re going to face many obstacles, and you must continue to power through and not let anything hold you back. Being passionate, resourceful, hardworking and determined are great traits, but specifically in this industry you need to build a network.”

Even though there aren’t many females in this competitive industry, Jackie was lucky enough to have created a network of other women who work in the industry who are also very passionate, hardworking and are successful at what they do. They not only role models, but they want her to succeed and continue to grow and use that passion toward her career.

“Tina Jain has been a great mentor to me. I don’t know where I would be without her and her network. There’s so many people I can call my friend because of Tina. I used to hate going to networking functions, but meeting people like Tina made it easy, and fun. It’s important to attending networking events because that is where you find opportunities. You need to find the right people who are not only successful, but want you to be, too.”

We would like to thank Jackie for her time and insight and we wish her the best in all her future endeavors! You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn!

This interview was presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration