Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can’t Lose

by Tim Fox

Nicole Nardi, ’16, grew up with sports — especially football. So naturally, she was thrilled to land a position with the Oakland Raiders after completing her studies in Maryville’s Rawlings Sport Business Management Program. “I love to talk about football every day, and that’s what I do in my job,” Nardi said. “Working in corporate partnerships for the NFL was my dream.”

As coordinator of corporate partnerships activation for the Oakland, California-based professional football team, Nardi ensures that all contract terms between the Raiders and its corporate sponsorship partners are fulfilled. She also manages day-today contact between the team and the partners.

“Right now we’re working on ‘recaps,’” Nardi explains. “At the end of the season, we present a PowerPoint to each partner showing them how we activated things like game day promotions, company ticket day and signage at the games.”

Nardi said the education she received in the Rawlings Sport Business Management Program — and one class in particular — set her on her career path. “My corporate sponsorships class helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do in the field,” Nardi said. “I realized it was a perfect match for my personality and what I wanted to do professionally.”

But it wasn’t an easy path. Nardi transferred to Maryville as a junior after attending and playing soccer for Hannibal-LaGrange University in northeast Missouri. At Maryville, she worked two waitressing jobs, played club soccer and completed an internship in the St. Louis Cardinals’ ticketing office.

“I love being busy, but I was afraid the internship might be too much,” Nardi said. “One of my instructors, Jason Williams, director of the Rawlings Sport Business Management Program, convinced me to do it. That decision helped me get a job in the Raiders’ ticketing office. I was promoted to my current position less than a year later.”

Nardi’s academic advisor, Daniel Schmidt, program coordinator for the Rawlings Sport Business Management Program, helped as well. Schmidt previously worked for the St. Louis Blues and has connections in professional sports. “Even after I had earned my degree, they helped me prepare for my interview with the Raiders. Maryville faculty are never too busy for students,” she said.

For Nardi, the most exciting times may be ahead. In 2020, the Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas, and she plans to move with them. “It will be a lot of work, but I love my coworkers, and every department has gone out of its way to help me,” she said. “I feel very prepared for what lies ahead, thanks to the education I received at Maryville.”

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