My mentor, Diana Sabau, shot me a text in March of 2012 that would end up changing my life. Ohio State had just made it to the Final Four a few days prior and I was planning my trip to leave later in the week.
I called Diana and she said that she had an awesome opportunity for me to work with Nike and Nike Fuel at the Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana. She said it would involve Twitter, social media and talking about Ohio State.
She said only one student could be selected and she instantly thought of me. She wanted to sign me up but had to get my consent before she could do so. I said absolutely, I was extremely interested. From there I had a contact in Oregon that I chatted with on the phone and he instructed me about the events that would be going on down in New Orleans. He then said I would have a different on-grounds contact in New Orleans, and it wouldn’t be him.
So we drove all night to New Orleans, extremely giddy. I didn’t sleep much- I don’t do well sleeping in moving vehicles, I prefer driving. So after about five energy drinks and a few cups of coffee, we completed our 16-hour venture.
Then, I remember getting into contact with my on-ground contact that I would have from Nike for this experience. Her name is Brittany. She was super-cool and really eager to help us out (I was with my friend Cayla at the time).
Cayla and I with Brittany from Nike (middle) before the Waka Flocka concert. Brittany (like myself) is actually a diehard Waka fan. March 2012.
Cayla and I weren’t able to check into our Hostel yet, so we went and changed in a Wal-Mart bathroom. Yes. Then headed out to meet Brittany. She gave me brief instructions on what they expected, gave me some gear and said meet you gals back here in two hours for the Waka Flocka concert.
My bestie Waka Flocka Flame and I. March 2012.
We went on to meet Waka, who ended up being really nice and probably my favorite celebrity I’ve ever met. He was really down to Earth.
From there, I was instructed to #makeitcount. Nike wanted me to show that not only are the players activated and fueled on the court, the fans are doing the same in the stands. They hooked me up with a Nike+ Fuel Band, set me with a goal of 1960 (because that was Ohio State’s first and only championship year), and off I went.
Making it count in the Superdome at the Final Four. March 2012.
It was a challenge with the Kentucky fan – they paired us head to head. Let the record show- even though Ohio State didn’t win their game, the Ohio State fan (yours truly) earned more Nike+ Fuel that weekend than the Kentucky fan. And always: The Buckeye Bounce #Counts.
Gear I received from Nike for being the Nike Fuel Fan. The red shoes were my favorite because that was the team shoe for March Madness. March 2012.
So how did this change my life? I realized I want to work in digital. I want to work in a social media sphere where I can serve as the brand activating customers and engaging consumers on a global scale.
One day I hope to work as a Community Manager for an agency or brand to engage customers- like how Nike did with me during the Final Four. April 2012.
A lot of what I learned this weekend- from Brittany and Nike- I would carry onto the Buckeye NutHouse (where I served a Community Manager role from the beginning of March 2012 to the end of April 2013). I would create the “6th Man” NutHouse campaign with the mindset that I gathered during the Final Four weekend.
So here I will thank Diana Sabau, for not only serving as a mentor to me while working on basketball plans but for setting me up for a life changing the experience.