Kristin Porter is the first person to admit that she is lucky in regard to how her career has played out.
“I was in the right place at the right time and knew the right people,” said Porter, Michigan State University’s Men’s Basketball Operations Assistant. “I have my dream job. But for girls or women who don’t just happen to be in the right place at the right time, or know the right people, I want to give them a tool to be intentional about how to get from college to their dream job.”
So, Porter decided to start an organization called FAB, short for Females in Athletic Business, in order to give students and industry professionals opportunities to make the connections and resources they need to succeed in the world of sports.
Launched in February of 2016, the business is only approximately nine months old, but with 257 members in 16 states, no one would have guessed that this budding new organization is less than a year in the making.
“Right now our organization’s members are just about 50 percent students and 50 percent professionals,” said Porter. “We’re really proud of that and it’s really happened without much effort of trying to keep it even.”
Keeping the organization’s members at around a 50:50 ratio is important for both parties because the more even the numbers are in that respect, the better the organization will be able to do its job of connecting students with professionals and vice versa.
“Our whole goal is to help give students and professionals the connections and resources they need,” said Porter. “For students, that means connecting them with job shadow, internship or networking opportunities.”
But what FAB offers doesn’t end with the students. For professionals, FAB can represent professionals and their businesses at job fairs, free of charge, connect professionals with students for internships and connect professionals in the industry through networking events.
“We just had a student do a job shadow with someone who works with the Columbus Blue Jackets because she’s interested in working in the NHL,” explained Porter. “The Blue Jackets is one of our professional partners and the student is one of our members. That’s sort of how the connections work.”
Cara Kaye, a senior at Michigan State University studying marketing, works with Porter at FAB doing social media. As both a student and a worker, she has felt the impact of FAB.
“I’ve always kind of had an idea that I wanted to work in sports,” said Kaye. “I’ve learned when people say that, it could really mean 100 different things. Through [FAB] we get to meet people who actually work in sports and see what they do. It has opened my mind about the types of jobs I will be searching for when I graduate. Instead of just something in marketing, I could now look for something in operations, a sector of athletics that I never would have thought of before this.”
Cedes Powers, a sophomore at Michigan State University, has had a similar experience with the organization, saying that she didn’t realize there were so many options and that FAB exposes students to what’s out there in regards to career options.
“The events really give us a chance to network and get to know the right people in the industry,” said Powers. “That’s huge.”
FAB hosted its first event in September, the Strong Women in Sports Summit, where many key speakers including Lauren LaParl, recruiting coordinator for the Detroit Pistons, gave career advice and spoke on specialized topics.
With Suzy Merchant, head coach of the Michigan State University Women’s Basketball team, as its chairwoman and the ever-driven Porter leading the helm, this organization and business is one to watch. Visit fabsportsorg.wixsite.com/faborg for more information.