I've known Becky Murdy for over six years. When we first met, we were working on the same Community Partnership team for Google+ Sports. She was working out of their Boston office, while I was working out of a remote office in Houston, Texas. We worked at the same company for a year, before finally meeting in person. Fast forward another year, and she left Google to work for Octagon, where she recruited me to come work for her full-time about six months later. We have had the opportunity to plan activations for AllState's NCAA Sponsorship, ESPN and the Special Olympics, Mastercard & Gwen Stefani, and create social media campaigns for a group of 20+ exhilarating Action Sport Athletes for Sony. While we no longer work at the same company and our careers have taken us to opposite coasts, we still keep in touch and reunite when work or life brings us together -- i.e., Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.
For readers who don't know you, tell us a little about yourself…
To start, I'm an East Coast girl living in a West Coast dream. I am currently the Vice President of an incredible sports start-up in San Francisco and living my best life. I recently moved out to SF from Connecticut where I also worked in sports at Octagon, before that I was with Google in Boston and even before that I was with the Olympics (USA Volleyball) out of Colorado. I'm originally from Bangor, Maine (Julie the Cat Gaffney) and went to Penn State. I have a kick ass sister who is still in Boston, a boy friend who is an NFL agent, lovely parents and the greatest french bulldog of all time, Phoenix.
What inspired you to work in sports?
When I was about 10 years old my father brought me to a Patriots game for my birthday. There was one woman on the sidelines and I was curious as to what she was doing down there. I asked my dad what she did he ran down to ask her for me. She worked PR for the Patriots and I thought..hey if I can't take an actual down on the field, I can at least be around it. I've been training myself to work in sports ever since. One other note about sports is that I have seen a game do incredible things for people in times of need. Whether its a natural disaster or just a bad day, sports has connected people to happiness and hop for a long time. I will never ever get over that feeling.
After graduation you moved to Denver, however since then you have moved to Boston, Connecticut, and now you reside in San Francisco. What are your thoughts on location having to do with opportunity?
Since the beginning I told myself I would move anywhere for a job opportunity. I highly recommend just allowing jobs in the beginning to take you across the country and even for some, across the world. It's very important that when you can be mobile that you are, because later in life that isn't as easy.
What is the craziest thing you have ever done to get a lunch/calendar with someone?
True story... I once emailed a guy from the NFL for information about a volunteer opportunity at an upcoming Super Bowl. I knew it was difficult to get and of course it was volunteer so there was no money but I felt I had to do anything I could to get a meeting with this guy face to face. I asked if he would grab coffee with me for 15 minutes. He countered with a meeting in the NFL offices and I accepted saying I wasn't far from their location. A few days later I took a 9 hour train ride to NYC. I also got accepted into the volunteer opportunity.
How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your career?
At the end of the day it is the only thing that matters. I always say that your vibe attracts your tribe. So if you have a positive giving vibe, and open yourself up to meet a bunch of people, you will always be surrounded by top-notch people. I've never ever gotten a job without someone personally referring me. I give my network 100% credit for where I am and where I have been lucky enough to be.
What’s one piece of advice you have for women out there that are looking to start a career in sports?
To educate themselves on all opportunities within sports. There are so many amazing jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc. in sports that will help pave your career path. I thought a side line reporter was the only job available for a female in sports and I was VERY bad at it so I didn't know if I'd make it in sports. Then a few bad ass mentors of mine introduced me to so many other departments, properties, job titles so that I could expand my search and really see where I fit within the arena.
What challenges do you face as a woman in your field?
Luckily there have not been too many that have held me back but I think being a woman in sports allows for less access to certain jobs and also makes you have to be on your game at all times. As a woman, I have never played a sport that I have worked for, so my knowledge around a table of men who have all played the sport is obviously less than them. I had to make sure that in every day conversation my sports trivia knowledge was high and my current events knowledge was also exceptional.
How do you deal with being in a male dominated industry?
I have had an incredible career path that has been surrounded by very powerful women and men. I've worked for women that celebrate women and men that acknowledge and embrace smart and fearless women. I think as women in a male-dominated industry, one of the greatest things you can do is that when you get to the top you send that elevator back down to get the next woman to rise.
Your boyfriend also works in sports, in fact you both met while working for the same company. How do you balance love and career?
We balance it quite well actually because we love what we do and we are both finding ourselves in our career at the same time. He is an NFL agent so that allows me to learn about the athlete side of the business as I'm not as in touch with that and he can learn from me how the marketing side of the business works. We both respect each other's side of the business and use each other in a lot of the deals that we do. Luckily neither of us have ever needed a break from sports... yet.
What’s your "B" Word? And how do you redefine it?
BOLD - being a boss is being bold. Be bold about your decisions and if those bold decisions are made through passion then you will find yourself becoming a boss very quickly. For any woman who is aspiring to build her brand and/or her career, my piece of advice for you is to find a good group of women that support you and that love to see you succeed. If you don't have any of those people... call one of us. We happily will root you on!