'Women in Sports' Profile: Linfield's Katherine Brackmann
Brackmann credits a mentor at Gonzaga University for influencing her career path.
Brackmann credits a mentor at Gonzaga University for influencing her career path.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Latest in a series

The second annual “Women in Sports” career seminar, presented by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, will be held Saturday, Jan. 24 in Portland, Ore.

Designed for college and high school females interested in pursuing sports-related careers, the seminar will take place in the Georgia Pacific Room at Memorial Coliseum.

The event will feature panelists from a broad cross-section of occupational paths, including coaching, administration, business, marketing, media, media relations, NCAA compliance, sports medicine, ticket sales, and officiating. Attendees will have an opportunity to interact with -- and seek career advice from -- a slate of experienced sports professionals in a round-table format. In addition, the seminar will include a "professional development segment" and networking reception presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Below is a profile on a panelist who will be featured at this year's event. 

Katherine Brackmann, Linfield College
Asst. Director External Relations/Senior Woman Administrator 

College attended: Gonzaga University 2010

College major: Sport management – B.Ed.

Current position: Assistant Director-External Relations/Senior Woman Administrator at Linfield College (NCAA Division III)

Years in current position: 1½ in current position, 4½ total at Linfield

Primary job responsibilities:

  • Sports information/communications
  • Game management
  • Marketing and promotions
  • Advisor to Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
  • Special events (Hall of Fame banquet, golf tournament fundraiser, etc.) and whatever else comes up!

Things I enjoy most about my job: It’s a real treat to interact with students-athletes and learn about their interests, activities and goals outside of sport. I also love the variety of my job; there are many routine tasks I complete on a weekly or yearly basis, but no two days in the office or at the site of competition are the same.

First job in the sports industry: Unless you count the short stint I had as a youth basketball referee as a high school student …  my current position at Linfield is my first official, post-grad job.

Previous jobs in the sports industry: During college, I completed media internships with the Seattle Storm (WNBA) and the Spokane Sports Commission. I also gained valuable writing experience working as a sports reporter for my college newspaper.

A key mentor who helped me on my career path: An amazing woman and member of the student life team at Gonzaga, Jill Yashinsky advised multiple organizations/clubs I was involved in as a college student, and served as a great mentor and role model for me as I developed into a more confident leader.

Most influential person in my early professional development: Kelly Bird, Linfield sports information director and my first boss, sets a high standard for excellence and servitude to our programs. Equally as important, he granted me autonomy from the get-go, which really allowed me to grow as a professional.

How I got involved in my professional career: Working in sports was really a no-brainer for me. I grew up as a multi-sport athlete, knew individuals who worked in the industry and saw it as the perfect chance to make a living doing what I love. I discovered the “sports information” avenue while doing a career project for a course in college. My studies in sport management, journalism and public relations seemed to provide a perfect background for that role, and I was fortunate enough to find a great opportunity at Linfield two months after I graduated.

Biggest hurdle I overcame breaking into the sports industry: Earning respect as a young professional fresh out of college was not an overnight process. In order to be seen as more of a boss than a friend to student workers, some of which were only months younger than me, I worked really hard to maintain clear boundaries and gradually grew comfortable with being authoritative when necessary. For my colleagues, I knew my work would eventually speak for itself, so I strove to do my job to the best of my ability until I earned a reputation for getting things done well.

Key attributes that have helped shape my career path:

  • Organization,
  • Strong writing skills
  • Ability to take on new responsibilities with enthusiasm

Knowing what I know now, the one thing I would do differently in college to help me on my career path: I really enjoyed my college experience and don’t have any regrets. That being said, I probably did not take advantage of campus resources – such as the career center and athletic department – to the extent I could have.

Best advice I’d give to a young female wanting to work in sports: As somewhat of an introvert when it comes to networking, I’ve found a great way to make professional connections is through volunteering at events. It can be less intimidating to make conversation when you’re right in the trenches with someone, and your actions (talents/work ethic) speak volumes.

If I could spend the day with one person (past or present), who would it be? When I was younger, my late immigrant grandfather invited me to accompany him on a trip home to Germany, but I had to decline due to school obligations. I would love to take him up on the offer to show me his home country, even just for a day.

Favorite sports team: Linfield Wildcats, Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Green Bay Packers.

Favorite athlete: My sister, Kris, who plays basketball for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Most memorable sports-related moment: I’ve experienced some great ones, both personally and professionally, but witnessing Linfield’s national baseball championship run – from the dugout – was an amazing ride I’ll never forget.