My start in the sports industry took a bit longer than most. Although I had interned in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers my senior year at UNC Charlotte, it took almost 3 years working in other industries before getting my true start. At 24 years old, I left my best friends and the city I loved to move back in with my parents, get paid minimum wage and work in Inside Sales with the Carolina Hurricanes. I knew my only option was to kick ass over the next 6-9 months and it would provide me with opportunities to be where I wanted, whether it was with the Hurricanes or elsewhere in sports. As humbly as possible, I did just that.
Working with the Hurricanes, my childhood team, was a dream come true. I immersed myself into the sales culture, and the organization. It has always been extremely important to me to build relationships with those around me. So naturally I did that at the ‘Canes, not just with the sales team, but other departments as well. I planned the Carolina Hurricanes’ Inaugural Hockey & Heels event, which allowed me to work with Sponsorship, Hockey Development and Marketing. I made sure to always be a happy and friendly face around the arena. It also helped that the entire organization was, and still is, top-notch. I have so many people to thank for my time there, from my Inside Sales Manager Dennis Fryer, to my mentor Tim Campbell, and our VP Sara Daniel, and SO many others throughout the entire organization.
When my sixth-month mark came, it was time for me to start thinking “next step.” I had made a map of the United States and pinpointed any cities I was willing to move to. And with the advice of my IS Manager, I made sure that 3 boxes needed to be checked. The Hurricanes made it a difficult decision – I mean really, when Don Waddell is pulling you aside to talk it’s tough - but ultimately, I made the decision to move out to Los Angeles to work for the Los Angeles Clippers as an Account Executive.
In a new city (across the country from my entire life), in a new league, and in a busy sports market, but specifically a Lakers town, working for the LA Clippers would challenge me. That challenge was exactly what I was looking for in my career, along with those 3 boxes being checked. Little did I know, just how much it would challenge me. In my year and a half at the Clippers, I transitioned from sales to service, and I’m not sure that would have happened if Jessica Bascara, the Membership Service Director at the time, hadn’t noticed my passion for service. Looking back at my career, it was very much a no-brainer, but many times – others truly see the best in you.
In October 2018, I decided to make a lateral move to work for the Los Angeles Kings as a Membership Service Executive. I’m a huge sports girl, but hockey has always been my number one, so the opportunity to continue to pursue what I was passionate about in service, as well as the sport I loved made the most sense to me at the time. In this last year, I was recently promoted to Senior Account Manager, VIP Services, and there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude and appreciation of the entire Kings organization, but especially Mason Donley, Evan Flagg and the rest of our leadership team. I truly get to live out my dream every single day.
Much of my advice is written above, but to reiterate to those looking to get into the industry and those currently in the industry:
Don’t give up – even when the process is a long one.
Strive to be the very best you can be every single day (especially you Inside Sales kids out there) – understand that position is only temporary, so why wouldn’t you give everything you have? It will pay off if you do things the right way.
Be a good teammate and get to know those around you - not only in your department, but the organization as a whole. We spend the majority of our lives at work – be human, and be a kind one!
- Lastly, work for an organization who appreciates you, trusts you and believes in your growth.
Christine Miller is a Senior Account Manager of VIP Services at the Los Angeles Kings. In her role she manages the service and retention of 200 of the Kings top accounts. Prior to the role with the Kings she spent two seasons with the Clippers and a season with the Carolina Hurricanes. A graduate of UNC Charlotte in 13’ she has a passion to give back and help others and is currently a Mentor in theClubhouse. You can connect with Christine by going here.