On a bi-weekly basis, Louisville Women’s Sports posts the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weisberg, Realtors ® Business Profile and features a local successful businesswoman with former student-athlete experience. To learn more about Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weisberg, visit: www.bhhsparksweisberg.com.
If there is a specific local businesswoman that you’d like to be featured, email future suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. This week’s feature is on former Assumption soccer star Hollie Hayden who is now a Community Marketing Manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
1. What is your athletic background (school and/or club) and education?
I started playing soccer at the age of three at the YMCA, and at the age of nine started playing club soccer for Javanon. I also played soccer all 4 years for Assumption High School and then went on to play D-1 soccer at the University of Louisville. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. I am currently the Community Marketing Manager for Dicks Sporting Goods and I am responsible for supporting, creating, executing and evaluating events, programs and marketing strategies at the local and territory level to uniquely brand Dick’s Sporting Goods as the No. 1 authentic sports and fitness specialty retailer for all athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
2. How did athletics teach you to overcome adversity in the workplace?
I tell people all the time that playing sports is what has made me so successful in the workplace. Being a part of a team teaches you how to handle diversity, adapt to different coaching styles because just like every CEO or manager, every coach has a different way of leading a team. You also learned time management, discipline and had the determination to always hit a goal but most importantly, it taught me how to work well within a team.
3. What was the most challenging point of your athletic career?
There were a couple of times that were challenging throughout my career – and one of them was when I tore my ACL for the second time my freshman year in college. I had secured a starting spot on our team and was scared of not being able to come back in top shape to earn that back. What it made me do was focus on being a better teammate and helping my team in any way I could while I was off. I went to rehab twice a day for three months straight and was able to return by the Spring season. Another difficult time was my junior year, we continued to get better every year with the young players that we were bringing in. More talented, more fit players were starting over some of the veterans on the team. It was tough to take in at first, but I had to learn what my role was on the team was. Even though that year I may not have started many games, I had learned that my role was to be the first “spark” off the bench, and to bring my energy on the field when it was my time to play. I was looked upon as a leader and had to make sure my actions showed that. I didn’t have time to sulk or complain about not playing because the coach knew what was best for the team and in no way did I want a bad attitude to bring the team down.
4) What has been the most challenging point in your professional career?
I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed working at every job I have had. I genuinely loved going to work every day because of the mission of my organization and I also loved the people I worked with. The toughest thing for me was when I was transferred offices out of state. It is never easy starting over in a new area, with a new position, and a completely new set of co-workers. It takes time to get acclimated to the new directors, new office atmosphere and new city, but I know the skill sets I learned while playing soccer is what helped the transition go more smoothly. You have to mentally go in confident that you can make a difference, and that you were put in this position for a reason. You need to show your new co-workers that you are a hard and dependable person and that is what I felt I did.
5) What is your advice to young student athletes today?
Don’t take for granted the opportunities that are being given to you. Whether it be high school or college, realize that being a part of a team is going to help you in ALL your future endeavors. A lot of employers hire former athletes because they know the skill sets we learned while playing will help within their organization.
In college, as an athlete, you are set up for success. You work with team advisors, strength coaches, academic counselors – all who are there to make sure you graduate.
Enjoy every second. In many cases you will get to travel all across the Country to play at different Universities and in my case see other parts of the World that I never would have if it weren’t for playing at UL.
Love your team – these people are going to see every facet of who you are and they will be there to help you through anything. Many of my former teammates are now my very best of friends.
Always thank your family, friends and past coaches – these people are the ones who pushed you to stick with your sport even during times you felt like you couldn’t go on, they attended numerous games in all weather conditions, and did whatever they could to help pay for your love of the game so you never had to lose it.