At the end of January, Georgia State sent a group of five from the athletics department to Indianapolis to participate in the NCAA’s Emerging Leaders Seminar. Among the 200 young athletics administrators and coaches – across all three NCAA divisions – at the start of their professional careers were GSU graduate assistants Bree Hicken (academic support), Thomas Howard (facilities), Gina Knutson (facilities), Rishawn Marshall (academic support) and Tyler Rosenberger (compliance).
The purpose of the seminar, according to a NCAA release, was to build “leadership awareness and a broadened perspective of intercollegiate athletics.” The hope was to gain valuable insight to help structure the next steps in their careers.
From the sounds of it, despite many being leery at the start, the goal was met – and even exceeded.
“It was actually really impressive. It was really inspiring,” Hicken said. “It helped you see other people in these roles and learn ‘This is where I started from, this is where I am.’
“We know we’re here for the student-athletes, and to hear other people say the same thing and have the same passion, it makes you want to be part of that group.”
Going into the three-day conference, Knutson had no idea what to expect. She wasn’t sure it would be worth the time. She too came away with a much broader appreciation for her career choice.
“It was phenomenal. We met so many great people from all over the place,” Knutson said. “Everyone had their own experience, own story, and learned off other people’s experiences.”
Both Hicken and Knutson enjoyed the DiSC personality test that helped them understand how to deal with others better. The idea of better understanding what other areas do outside of their specific path also resonated.
“We may be in facilities, but we need to know, learn how communications does things every day, how marketing works, all the areas,” Knutson said. “It’s important to know the whole globe of athletics and how others work in order to be successful. They showed us how you want to try to understand everyone else’s issues.”
Seems they showed them how to be better leaders in college athletics.