Alum Highlight: LaRhonda Burley
Ten years ago, LaRhonda Burley was one of the first people admitted to Georgetown’s graduate program in Sports Industry Management. It was 2007, and the program’s website had just been launched. Burley—then a lacrosse coach and administrative coordinator at Maret School in Washington, D.C.—found the site through a Google search and decided to apply.
“Going to Georgetown shaped my career,” said Burley, now Senior Director of Partnership Marketing for the Washington Redskins.
By any estimate, it’s a career that took off very fast. And it’s amazing to see how prescient Burley was about a program that had just been created.
Burley said that, while she loved working at Maret, “it was time forme to think about the next step. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I needed to invest in my future and prepare a ‘toolkit’ that I could apply in various areas of business. The curriculum and real-life application of the program appealed to me and my personal learning style. I felt that I would gain the knowledge and understanding of the industry I needed to make an educated decision on where to a take my career.”
She was right, on all counts. After graduating she worked for the Washington Mystics (which later merged with the Washington Wizards to form Monumental Sports & Entertainment). She then joined the Washington Redskins in 2014.
At Georgetown, “I met people who were willing to help me, and willing to share their time and expertise,” Burley said. Now she does the same for current students as an adjunct instructor and Capstone advisor.
“It takes courage to ask for help,” Burley said. “If someone asks for guidance, do what you can and pay it forward.”
Alum Highlight: Aaron McCollum
It was 2012 when Aaron McCollum first heard about Georgetown’s graduate program in Sports Industry Management. He was interning for DC United and his supervisor at the time had recently completed the program. McCollum was immediately intrigued.
Eager to see what the program was all about, McCollum decided to sit in on a media relationships class, during which a Washington Post sportswriter gave a guest lecture. Instantly, he knew that this was the right program for him.
“I met up with the faculty director right after class and said, ‘I want to go here!’”
McCollum is nothing if not enthusiastic, and that passion has helped him climb the ranks at DC United, where he is now a Group Sales Account Executive. While he loves soccer, he enjoys making connections with people even more. One part of his job is arranging group ticket sales for events like Scouts Night, Italian Heritage Night, and Peace Corps Night (when Peace Corps alums come in the jerseys of their former host countries and march in a pregame Parade of Nations around the field). He has also arranged group sales with a number of embassies, including those of Spain, Israel, Costa Rico, Panama, Italy, Finland, Jamaica, and Canada.
Georgetown’s program offered McCollum hands-on training, classes with some of the leading figures in sports management, incredible networking opportunities, and an unbeatable location in the nation’s capital—which just happens to be the number one soccer market in the country.
“If you want to get into the sports market, what better place to do it than in Washington, D.C.?” McCollum said. “I think you’d be hard pressed to find a city like D.C. and a program like Georgetown’s anywhere else.”