. CEFMA Launches Monthly Membership Spotlight :: NACDA :: Official Athletic Site
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CEFMA Launches Monthly Membership Spotlight

Dec. 4, 2017

In an effort to showcase its membership, the Collegiate Event and Facility Management Association (CEFMA) will be featuring one new member and one veteran member each month. For December, 2017, CEFMA is proud to highlight Kelsie Gory, assistant athletics director for game operations/SWA at Johns Hopkins University and Big Ten Conference Intern Therno Diallo.

Kelsie Gory, Assistant AD for Game Operations/SWA, Johns Hopkins University
Alma Mater: The Ohio State University

How many years have you worked in athletics/what are your previous experiences?
I have worked in college athletics for 8 years. I began working as an undergrad at Ohio State University, first with the Fan Experience Department and then 3 years with the Event Management team, which is where I fell in love with operations. After graduation I spent a year at the NCAA as a Post-Graduate Intern in Championships. I have been at Johns Hopkins for just over 3 years now. At Hopkins, I oversee our game operations, marketing and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and play a large part in our new student-athlete development initiatives.

What is your favorite part about your job?
I love interacting with our student-athletes on a daily basis and knowing that I have a small impact on their college experience and life. It is very humbling to work with some of the highest achieving student-athletes in the country, both academically and athletically. I enjoy working with them, facilitating their growth while they are at Hopkins and learning from them as I continue to develop.

Why did you join CEFMA?
I joined CEFMA as it is the premier organization for professionals in our field. It is a great opportunity to learn from my colleagues all across the country, to connect personally with colleagues that I may have never met and to foster my own personal development.

As someone working in facilities and event management, how does CEFMA help you?
CEFMA has helped me in many ways! First, the discussion emails are great as it fosters conversation on important topics and alerts me to any big picture items I may not have thought of yet. Second, the mentorship program is a wonderful new initiative that has helped me connect on a deeper level with professionals in this field. As we all know, it is important to have mentors that you can rely on to give you honest feedback, answer any question you have and champion your career. The CEFMA mentorship program has given me one more person in my corner that I can reach out to at any time.

What has been your proudest moment or accomplishment since joining the field?
A recent accomplishment I am very proud of occurred this fall during our fall conference championship weekend. The conference championships are hosted by the #1 seed in the sports of field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball, all on the same weekend. Hopkins had a tremendous fall regular season and we were the #1 seed for all four sports. Our small team of staff hosted all 4 conference championships and a regular season football game on one field and one court without a hiccup! The teams participating had a great championship experience and what’s better, our own Hopkins student-athletes were able to have that championship experience at home, with their fans cheering them on.

What's the best event that you've worked on or participated in thus far in your career?
While the event has not happened yet, I am most looking forward to working on the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship, which Hopkins is hosting in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Working at Ohio State and watching the event management team pour hard work, sweat, tears and laughter into hosting a National Championship, it has been a goal of mine to do the same. Serving as the Tournament Director for a Division I National Championship and creating a positive and exciting experience in which student-athletes achieve the pinnacle of success in their sport will be a rewarding experience that I expect will be hard to top.

When you're not spending time on campus or at athletics events, where/how do you like to spend your time?
I consider myself an amateur foodie and simply put, I love to eat. I always have a long list of restaurants I want to try and that is most likely where you can find me if I am not on the Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus.

Name one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
While I did not play college athletics, I was a competitive Irish dancer for 8 years.

Do you have any advice for administrators that are young in their careers?
My advice for young administrators is to work hard and have fun! This is an amazing career that we are all lucky to be a part of but it is easy to take it for granted. The hours are hard, the pay is not always the best, and you may not get a thank you every day, but we are impacting the lives of young men and women, what more could you ask for in a career. Find what you are passionate about in college athletics and pursue it with all of your ability. Commit to learning something new every day, step outside your comfort zone and do something that scares you, meet new people and stay connected with old friends, and just have fun!


Therno Diallo, Intern, Big Ten Conference
Alma Mater: State University of New York at Cortland

How many years have you worked in athletics/what (if any) are your previous experiences?
Overall, this is my fourth year working in intercollegiate athletics. A lot of my previous experience has been on the Division III level where I wore multiple hats doing many different things. Whether its coaching, event management, marketing, or academic support, all of those experiences has contributed to my desire to pursue a career in college athletics.

What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about being a CD Henry Intern at the Big Ten Conference is the diverse experience that I’m gaining. My position allows me to work in Football Operations, Basketball Operations, and Olympic Sport administration. Everyday has been a valued learning experience. In addition, the staff members at the Big Ten have done an outstanding job of embracing me and teaching me different areas of Division I athletics. The diverse experience, coupled with the staff support, has made my experience very memorable thus far.

What are your long-term goals in this industry?
My long-term goal is to become a Division III athletic director. I want to be able to oversee an operating budget, manage staff members/coaches, and provide opportunities for student-athletes to be successful on and off the playing surface. As a former Division III football student-athlete, I understand the day-to-day challenges that comes with juggling academic responsibilities as well as athletic commitments. I firmly believe in the Division III model which is to: Discover, Develop and Dedicate. Certainly, the experiences that I’ve gained and the relationships that I’ve been able to cultivate, will put me in a good position to accomplish my long-term goal.

What is one thing you wish you would've known when starting your career in facilities and event management?
One thing I wish I would’ve known prior to working in event management is the time commitment that’s required. Event managers typically put in 50-60 hours a week - depending upon what events are taking place. Because of how athletic events are scheduled throughout the school year, working late nights and weekends is a part of job description. Event Managers tend to miss out on birthdays, parties, and other non-athletic events going on in their personal life because of the commitment to their job.

What has been your proudest moment or accomplishment since joining the field?
One of my proudest moments thus far working in event management was having the opportunity to serve as the primary event manager for the 2017 Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Baseball Tournament hosted at Francis Marion University. I was responsible for set-up/teardown, ticket sales, concessions operations, merchandise sales and VIP Hospitality. In addition, I assisted with coordinating team logistics regarding locker rooms, practice slots, hotels etc. It was extremely helpful that I had volunteers and other support staff to help me accomplish those responsibilities. In addition, I’m extremely thankful to have had the athletic director trust me with those tasks.

What's the best event that you've worked on or participated in thus far in your career?
The best event that I’ve participated in is unquestionably the Big Ten Football Championship Game. The preparation leading up to the event was phenomenal. The Big Ten works with so many external constituents to execute the event. Months leading up to the game, I experienced: site visits, production calls, security meetings, signage meetings, hotel meetings etc. Every detail was critically important not only from an operations perspective, but we wanted to provide a world class experience to all of our supporters. For me to be a part of the process was a great opportunity for me to learn and expand my knowledge on intercollegiate athletics.

Why did you join CEFMA?
I joined CEFMA to learn more about the intricacies of event and facilities management. Every facility and every event is different in its own way. To have the opportunity to interact with CEFMA members and learn more about some of the challenges and fulfillments they go through is very insightful.

As someone working in facilities and event management, how does CEFMA help you?
CEFMA provides a platform for event managers across all three Divisions to come together and share best practices. As an administrator who is still in the early stages of their career, being a member of this organization has become important to my development both personally and professionally.

When you're not spending time on campus or at athletics events, where/how do you like to spend your time?
I spend a good amount of time working out and staying physically active. Whether its playing basketball, tennis, or football, sports are important to me. Even though I’m no longer a student-athlete, I make every effort to exercise and stay in shape for my own personal health. In addition, I enjoy socializing and having a great time with my family and friends.

Name one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
Many people don’t know that Therno is the “American” way of saying my name. Culturally, my parents, siblings and relatives call me Cherino. My cultural background is from Guinea, West Africa.

About CEFMA:
CEFMA is dedicated to the needs of collegiate level event and facility professionals and the challenges that exist within the scope of their responsibilities. CEFMA will seek to promote the growth, leadership, integrity and success of administrators and professional staff in collegiate athletics. For more information about CEFMA, please visit: www.cefma.net. CEFMA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.