Into the Community with the Chicago Cubs: Brittany Reynoso '13 BSBA (Business Economics)
Aug. 9, 2016
Four Questions with Brittany Reynoso, Coordinator, Team Family Relations, Chicago Cubs
"I had never been to Chicago before taking the job, so it was a bit of a gamble. But it has been a phenomenal experience. I love being in a place with people from all walks of life and culture in every corner of the city. There is so much to love about what I do, but my favorite thing is getting out into the community," says Brittany Reynoso, pictured in front of Wrigley Field's iconic sign.
Three years ago, Brittany Reynoso was heading into her final semester as an Eller College of Management student while working as a public affairs assistant for the University of Arizona's BIO5 Institute.
In her "spare time," Reynoso was juggling internships in marketing and community relations for the Tucson Padres and volunteer opportunities with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Today, she eats her lunch looking out over historic Wrigley Field in Chicago and is learning to embrace the city's winters as coordinator of team family relations for the Chicago Cubs organization. The position supports the families of all Cubs players and coaches, and it includes a unique combination of responsibilities. Reynoso is involved in community initiatives, charitable outreach and fundraising for Cubs Charities.
Reynoso took a moment to answer a few questions about her experience at the UA and her work with the Cubs, who have had the best record in Major League Baseball for most of the 2016 season and are serious contenders to win the team's first World Series championship since 1908.
What was your path to, and through, the University of Arizona?
I was born and raised in Ventura County, California, and moved to Yuma, Arizona, at the age of 15. When looking at colleges, the UA was the best fit for me, hands down. I toured each of the state schools and fell in love with Arizona's campus, school spirit and culture — and, of course, the academic opportunities.
Before landing in Eller, I went through a year studying health sciences. It took me some time to figure out what I wanted to study, what I wanted to pursue after graduation, and if the two aligned. In the end, I graduated from Eller with a concentration in business economics, and now in my career I'm using my degree in ways I never thought I would.
In the spring semester of my junior year, I was looking for a job that would help pay the bills but would also allow the flexibility a full-time student needs. My goal was to find something that would provide relevant experience and help navigate the direction of my career. I was fortunate enough to find an on-campus job at the BIO5 Institute. As a student worker at BIO5, I was involved in a wide spectrum of tasks and responsibilities. Under the direction of Lisa Romero, the senior director of public affairs and communications, I gained priceless experience in project management, relationship building with internal and external stakeholders, communication, event coordination and so much more. With Lisa's help, I really came out of my shell. BIO5 was a great fit because it bridged the gap between my interest in science and the business behind the research. This somewhat ties to my career now. I don't play baseball, but I work in the business behind the sport.
I proudly became the first member of my family to attend and graduate from a four-year institution in December 2013.
How did you get involved with sports marketing?
The summer following my first semester at BIO5, I began working as an intern with the Tucson Padres minor-league baseball club — the Class AAA affiliate to the San Diego Padres. Interns were responsible for game day and non-game day promotions and activities. We were also exposed to several other departments and responsibilities, such as ticket sales and service, ballpark operations, grounds crew duties, sponsorship and marketing. This was a great way to learn the ins and outs of the industry and decide if this is the path I wanted to pursue. It was a ton of work for little to no pay, but I wouldn’t choose to have spent my summers any other way.
In addition to the Padres internship, I was able to take advantage of volunteer opportunities with the Arizona Diamondbacks that were a huge part of my introduction to professional sports. The Diamondbacks offered the most volunteer opportunities within driving distance. Fan Fest, networking meetings and seminars, and their annual golf tournament are all examples of ways to get in front of Diamondbacks front-office staff.
How did the combination of education and experience lead you to your current role?
I think what I learned most from Eller was how to think and problem-solve. In a real-world setting, the issues aren't necessarily presented in the form of an equation or jumping out of textbooks, but it's still up to you to find the solution. As I continue navigating my career, I'm learning more and more that the process is equally as important as the outcome. Eller helped teach me that lesson, and BIO5 allowed me to put it into practice — preparing me, more than I may have realized, to take on a career after graduation.
After graduation, the combination of my work experiences led me to a seasonal sales role for the Cubs. That first job was my chance to apply and demonstrate everything I learned at the UA, Eller and BIO5. While working at Cubs Park in Mesa, Arizona, I expressed interest in exploring opportunities in the Chicago office. I had four months to prove it was a good fit. Following spring training, I received an offer to join the fan services team in Chicago. Shortly after the move and five months into the season, I transitioned into the Cubs Sales Development Program. After eight months, that program came to a close and an opportunity in community affairs came up. The job required a bilingual candidate with interpersonal skills, process management and familiarity with the sports industry. I went for it and became the coordinator for team family relations.
What advice you would give to current undergraduates to reach their life and work goals?
Identify your internal motivation and let it drive you. Don't hold back. Explore every opportunity. Don't be afraid to express your goals with the right people. If you know what you want, go after it. Seek out guidance and mentorship. Ask questions from those around you who have proven successful in their own line of work. The truest and most inspirational people in my life are those who have both challenged me personally and led by example. It's people like my mom and grandparents who have been those external motivators for me. However, I've also been lucky enough to have professional mentors, like those at BIO5, who volunteered their own time and efforts to answer my questions, engage in discussion or simply act as a sounding board.
Now at the Cubs, there are individuals who I've grown to respect and admire. It's not often you come across people who truly earn your respect and admiration. I have found that it's important to cultivate relationships with those individuals. Those are the "right people" to share your goals and aspirations with. Give them a chance to tell you their story, and then learn from it.
Top photo courtesy Lisa Romero.