For Monika Graf ’11, the industry connections she made thanks to the Warsaw Sport Marketing Center’s network were and continue to be its most important resource. Below are Graf’s responses as part of an ongoing question and answer series with Warsaw Center alumni.
Describe your current position and role.
I'm the founder and principal of KA Consulting, and I am currently consulting with the collegiate partnerships division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, where I’m working to ease the pathway to the podium for collegiate athletes with Olympic aspirations. I'm also the director of product intelligence solutions at MindClick, a supply chain data analytics company that rates products based on their environmental health profile.
How did the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center help shape your career?
The Warsaw Center equipped me with a diverse set of sports business skills (sponsorship, finances, event oversight, sports law) that have continued to aid me in my career—both in the sports industry and beyond. More importantly, the relationships I made at the center have been a defining factor. The sports industry is a small one, and understanding how to connect and build meaningful relationships continues to provide pathways to career opportunities.
What key sports business trends are you following?
Collegiate athletics continues to fascinate me. The effects of pending legal decisions and governance changes at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)—as well as the connection between professional, Olympic, and collegiate sports—have far-reaching effects across the industry (many of which tend to be overlooked outside of collegiate athletic departments).
I'm also keenly interested in the effect that women are having on the sports industry. Whether it be Muffet McGraw and Kim Mulkey facing off in the NCAA women's basketball championship game; women's teams and leagues fighting for equal pay; center director Whitney Wagoner leading the Warsaw Center to new heights; or apparel companies prominently featuring women as brand spokespeople, cultural leaders, and focal points in advertising campaigns—women are the next face of sports, and I couldn't be more thrilled.
What do you miss about Eugene?
I lived around the corner from Prince Puckler's Ice Cream one year and became quite fond of their galaxy ice cream. I have yet to find that flavor anywhere else. It's the best!