“I’ve been playing sports since I could walk,” recalls McKenna Straube, Business Management major, with a Sports Marketing specialization, and athlete for the Lesley women’s soccer team. “I was one of those kids that got into probably every sport that was possible.”
It was this passion that led McKenna to a marketing and game day promotions internship with Harvard University, where she helped make everything run smoothly during Harvard sporting events. One of the things she liked most about her internship is that she was able to practice marketing for a variety of different sports. “I got to see firsthand and be on the field. I wasn’t limited to just one thing.” She promoted basketball, hockey, and swimming in the winter, and tennis, baseball, and lacrosse in the spring, giving her a wide range of real-life experience with Sports Marketing.
As a lifelong athlete, McKenna is no stranger to the importance of teamwork, which has helped her off the field just as much as it has on. She worked closely with fellow undergrad interns and graduate interns under the Harvard Athletics marketing director to make sure each game day was a success. “It doesn’t really matter what level of significance your job is for an event,” says McKenna. “It takes every single piece to make it work. Even though I’m doing smaller jobs, without me and my team of interns, it wouldn’t happen. It wouldn’t have gone through smoothly.”
A Family Influence
Growing up just outside of Portland, Oregon, McKenna was surrounded by her family’s business and discovered early on that she wanted to pursue a career in a similar field. Sports Marketing was simply a natural fit for her. “My family was super business minded and I was in love with sports and that kind of took over my life leading up to here,” she says. “Being able to intermix them was perfect because it combined two things that I was really passionate about from a young age. It doesn’t even feel like a job.”
Looking to the Future
Before coming to Lesley, McKenna had always planned to return to Oregon to work at the Nike headquarters, but interning for Harvard has made her consider other possibilities. “Since I’ve been here, it opened my mind a lot to collegiate athletics,” she says. “It broadened my perspective that there are more options out of sports marketing than just Nike or Adidas.” She is also considering event planning for marathons as another avenue after graduating.
Wherever she ends up, McKenna is confident that sports will continue to be a big influence for her going forward. “Sports have been a benefit in my life because they give you something to look forward to. They’re always an outlet,” she says. “Sports have helped me become who I am as a person.”