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Rising Stars: Sales - Her Ticket to a Dream Job in the NBA

By Laura Gordon

Maureen's college internship opened the door for her in sales training and managing, eventually leading her to an exciting, fast-paced job with the Boston Celtics that combined her childhood passion and her newly acquired skills.

Name: Maureen Keyo
School: Holy Cross
Major: Political Science, Spanish
Years Out of College: 5-10
Title: Premium Sales Manager
Company: Boston Celtics
First Steps

After graduating with a degree in political science and Spanish, Maureen took a job with a company as a sales coordinator selling audio and web-based conferencing. More than a year later, she was promoted to the title of National Sales Manager. This entailed selling to 15 major accounts all over New England. Working at this company was an overwhelmingly positive experience for Maureen. "I had terrific sales training and really learned how to sell, and it was my experience there that enabled me to be hired by the Boston Celtics," she said. Not only did she gain valuable knowledge, but she also found a mentor in her boss, whom she calls "tremendous," and to whom she still turns for advice on major career decisions.

Though she enjoyed her first job, Maureen knew she was looking for something else. "I learned that in order to be really happy in a position, I would have to be passionate about the product I was selling. I couldn't be truly passionate about selling conferencing tools, but I have believed in and been passionate about sports--and specifically the Celtics--since I was a kid."

From Then to Now

As her experience dictates, Maureen encourages recent graduates to consider jobs outside of their fields of study. "It is important for recent graduates to resist pigeonholing themselves into a specific role or function," she said. "If you know what you want to do, that is terrific. But most of my classmates coming out of college were not sure, and that was totally fine."

Maureen acknowledges that her job has almost nothing to do with her political science degree, but she values her liberal arts education for the opportunities it gave her to be a "well-rounded and versatile job candidate." Though her career path was unexpected, this successful sales manager has shown that hard work can turn a strong interest into a solid job.

My Experience

Working for a professional sports team is any sports fanatic's dream job. And Maureen doesn't deny it. "My job is very exciting: I attend every Celtics home game and get to live the ups and downs of professional sports." At the same time, her job isn't all about free tickets and star athletes. Maureen does a lot of "proactive selling," as she puts it, which involves "reaching out to corporations, former season ticket holders, and others to express to them the impact that Celtics premium tickets can have on their business, personal lives, etc."

And these aren't just trivial clients, either. She calls on the heavy-hitters in the corporate arena: "high level decision-makers--executives who have been very successful and who challenge me to make sure I am giving them the best value for their money."

Next Steps

Maureen is currently pursuing an MBA at Boston College, a step that she feels will make her a much more valuable asset to the industry. "I am extremely happy working for the Boston Celtics right now, but want to make sure I am furthering my education to make me more valuable to my employer, whether it is the Celtics or another organization. In my current job and any other job, what I want most is financial security and the chance to truly feel like I am contributing to the company's success."

Advice for Others

To industry hopefuls, Maureen advises, "Make sure you explore every opportunity open to you and do not settle for anything. If you want to work in professional sports, you can. You might have to look and be willing to start at the bottom, but the opportunities to advance are there."

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