It isn’t just about what you see on the court or on the field when it comes to a sporting event. There is always a team behind the team that makes it all come together. Heather Sammons, Director of Alumni Engagement interviewed Hannah Shank ’11, an events coordinator for the San Francisco Giants. She is one of those people behind the scenes creating a fun and engaging atmosphere for the San Francisco Giants and their fans.
After you graduated from MA in 2011, you went on to Kenyon College. How was that experience?
I loved Kenyon! My goal was to attend a small liberal arts college that would feel like a natural fit/transition from MA. Kenyon is in a small, rural location so the campus and everyone living there forms a very close-knit, supportive community. I loved the small discussion-based classes and was fortunate to foster amazing friendships with both classmates and professors as a result. I was also recruited for volleyball and knew I wanted to continue playing in college, so everything lined up perfectly!
In 2015 you got your feet wet in the sports world with the San Rafael Pacifics before getting a job in client retention services with the San Francisco Giants. Soon after you returned to school at the University of San Francisco to get your Master’s Degree in Sport and Fitness Administration/Management. What is it about the sports world and specifically baseball that drew you in?
I always played team sports growing up. I started with T-ball in kindergarten and played softball for a while before eventually settling on volleyball, which I played through college. I loved the ‘team’ aspect of sport; the ‘bigger than one’ mentality, the camaraderie, and the spirit that was always such an important part of being on a team. And of course, the competition! When my senior college season was over I knew that I wanted a way to stay connected and involved in sports career-wise - working in the industry seemed like a natural next step. While we aren’t physically practicing or playing on the field, our jobs still revolve around the game and the feeling of ‘team’ is still there. My family is a big baseball family and the Giants were my team growing up - I remember sneaking out of class to go to the Founders Lecture Hall to watch a couple minutes of the 2010 Playoff run while I was at MA. Working for them was the ultimate dream.
You are currently an Events Coordinator with the San Francisco Giants. Tell us about your role and what you do. And does your job get easier or busier when the team makes the playoffs?
I am fortunate to be involved in a number of different projects with the Giants. I work in the Event Strategy & Services department, specifically developing and executing special events for our season ticket members ranging from wine tastings to back-of-house tours; anything to enhance their overall experience. I am also part of the small teams that manage the Giant Race series, our Arizona Spring Training Operations, and our new fan program The 415. I love being involved in all of those areas because they are each so unique. It keeps my days varied!
The job gets a bit more unpredictable in the playoffs. We are all superstitious so nobody wants to plan too far in advance. But at the same time, you have to set yourself up for success and stay prepared - everything intensifies but in a good way.
Getting a job in the professional sports world is incredibly competitive. Do you have any tips, tricks, or words of advice for our current students or alumni who may be interested in working in sports one day?
Network! Don’t be afraid to reach out to MA alumni, friends of friends, or even random people who have interesting sounding jobs. People are always willing to answer questions and help out however they can, especially for students starting out. We’ve all been there. I am always happy to answer any questions!
What do you love about working in sports and with the SF Giants? Will you share with us a favorite experience or opportunity you will never forget? Feel free to brag! :)
I love all that emotion, and because the Giants were always ‘my' team I get to experience it as both an employee and a fan. While there is a rhythm to a sports season, there’s always so much that’s unpredictable, I love that my job is always so varied. And getting to go to work at Oracle Park every day is pretty special.
My favorite day of the year is always Opening Day! It feels like Christmas morning, all the planning and preparation comes to life. The excitement, the happiness, the optimistic ‘what if’s’ surrounding the season, and just the overall energy at the ballpark is incredible. I was asked to run our operations for Spring Training in Arizona this past spring. Getting to be there to welcome fans back in person after everything we had all lived through in 2020 was so rewarding.
Thank you, Hannah, for taking the time to do this Q&A and for being willing to say yes to this idea during the heat of the postseason.
What are you up to? If you’re a MA alum and would like to be interviewed, please reach out to Heather Sammons, Director of Alumni Engagement, at email@example.com.