June 3, 2010

Lessons learned at NCAA Forum to boost Mayo and Tech soccer team

Will be one of six seniors on 2010 Golden Eagle soccer squad

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Brooke Mayo is already a leader on the Tennessee Tech soccer team. Thanks to her selection and attendance at the recent NCAA Career in Sports Forum, the soon-to-be-senior from Garland, Texas, has a greater understanding of herself and her leadership abilities.

Mayo was one of only four Ohio Valley Conference student-athletes selected by the NCAA to attend the inaugural event in May in Indianapolis.

“I learned a lot more than I thought I would,” Mayo said. “I learned a lot more about myself.

“I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity from the NCAA,” she added. “We were learning things the entire time. They taught us how to network. I feel I already know so many people in my future field.”

During the past year, Mayo served as president of the OVC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). This coming year, she will be president of the Tennessee Tech SAAC.

She was nominated to attend the Forum by Dr. Lance Jasitt, TTU assistant athletics director for student welfare and academics, along with coach Becky Fletcher.  The process included an application and submitting a resume.

“I think one of the primary reasons I was selected is my involvement with SAAC (student-athlete advisory committee) at Tech and the OVC SAAC,” Mayo said.

The four-day event was designed to educate NCAA student-athletes on careers in sports, with a primary focus on collegiate athletics. This year’s Forum was open to student-athletes who have interest in coaching. Foundational skills such as communication, networking, recruiting, managing culture, transitioning and budgeting were covered with participants.

A total of 391 student-athletes participated. In addition to Tech’s Mayo, the OVC has two representatives from Southeast Missouri and one from Tennessee State.

“It was really an awesome experience,” Mayo said. “They kept us really busy. We heard keynote speakers at every meal and attended breakout sessions for most of the day.”

Mayo said the “team” sessions focused on how to “build yourself.”

“You learned about yourself and how to ‘build’ your brand and identify your values, and how those values associate with your professional and everyday life.”

She said the Forum included sessions on how to interview, how to prepare a resume, plus sessions on etiquette, among other activities to help her in her future endeavors.

“I feel more knowledgeable and more prepared,” she said. “It helped me realize that you can’t just make a transition after you graduate. You need to become more professional throughout your senior year so that your peers and other professionals start seeing you as a professional.

“You need to start living your values and being who you want to be right now,” she explained. “It helped me realize that you never know who’s watching you, wherever you are. There are potential employers, potential colleagues.”

While benefitting Mayo personally in her quest for a coaching career, she feels the Forum will also benefit the Tech soccer program with her serving in a leadership role within the team.

“The team will benefit because I’ve learned how to be more effective as a leader,” she explained. “I know what I need to focus on. One of the things I learned from one of the keynote speakers is that you can never have a bad day. You can have a bad hour, but not a bad day. You have to find a way to change it.

“This is one of the things that I’m going to try to bring to the team as a player,” she said. “I’m going to ask myself ‘am I the best teammate that I can be?’ and help everyone else get that same attitude.”

Mayo said she would highly recommend the NCAA Career in Sports Forum to anybody who is interested in a career in sports.

“I learned you need to be passionate about coaching to be a successful coach,” she said. “It’s so time consuming to be a college coach, especially when you’re just getting started and it’s not financially rewarding. You have to love what you do. You need to have a family that’s okay with you being a coach. It’s important to balance having a family and being a coach.”

Mayo plans to include some of what she learned at the Forum when she prepares a Year in Review presentation about the OVC SAAC for Commissioner Beth DeBauche.