Mentee Spotlight: Danielle Tate and Jenny Stephens

Danielle Tate is a Championships Intern at the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Jenny Stephens is an Athletic Communications Assistant at UC San Diego


1. If you could have a one-on-one conversation with anyone in history, who would it be and why?

Danielle: I would love to have a one on one with Michelle Obama. Not only to find out her beauty and workout secrets, but also to understand how her life transformed through her husband’s presidency and how she has been able to keep herself and her family grounded under immense pressure.

Jenny: I would have a conversation with Jackie Mitchell, the female pitcher who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, because I have always been fascinated by her story.

2. What has your career path been?

Danielle: I started my athletics experience while completing my Bachelor’s at LSU. Afterwards, I came back home to Birmingham where I interned for an event management firm called Bruno Event Team. Afterwards I did a brief stint a the University of Kentucky, and I’ve been here at the SWAC since last August. I also completed my Master’s degree from the University of Alabama this past August!

Jenny: After graduating from Pepperdine University, where I was a student worker for the athletic communications, I was the Media Director for a summer baseball league in San Diego in 2017. I then accepted a job as the Assistant Director of Athletic Communications at Oswego State in Oswego, N.Y. I worked there for a year and accepted a position as an Athletic Communications Assistant at UC San Diego in August of 2018.!

3. Who has had the greatest impact on your career to date?

Danielle: Easy! Julie Cribbs, the Director of Game/Event Management of LSU, and my first boss. She threw me in the fire my first months on the job, but we became so close over my time working under her. She took the time to make sure I understood why we do things the way we do, and she really gave me the tools and confidence to go out into the workforce! Thanks Julie!

Jenny: I would say my boss at Oswego State, Mike Bielak, has had the greatest impact on my career to date. I came to Oswego with video and writing experience, but I had never used Stat Crew, Sidearm or Photoshop before. He helped me improve on the skills I was lacking as I started my journey in athletic communications..

4. Who is your mentor?

Danielle: My mentor is Jaunelle White, who is the Senior Associate AD and SWA at IUPUI.

Jenny: My mentor is Darlene Camacho, Assistant AD, Annual Fund at University of Texas.

5. What is a highlight/positive experience you've gotten out of the program so far?

Danielle: One highlight that I’ve had in the mentor/mentee program thus far is meeting Jaunelle at the National Convention! We talk every 1-2 weeks so we’ve been able to really connect these past few months, but to finally meet her in person was so inspiring. The amount of people she knew in the room from all over the country made me so excited to one day have my own “girl gang.” She connected me with other women and allowed me to expand my network.

Jenny: The mentorship program has been such a positive experience so far. It came at a perfect time, as I transitioned from a position in athletic communications at Oswego State to one at UC San Diego. Darlene sent a card to my office congratulating me on the position; it was so sweet! She has been so helpful to me. I went from an office of two people (including me) to one of five and she's been helping me navigate a different office dynamic. She also has been open with me about her experiences at Texas, which has allowed me to see how she leads her team and how a large Division I school operates.

Women Leaders in College Sports provides the opportunity for members to connect and grow together in a fully virtual mentorship program. The program runs in concordance with the academic year (September-May) In 2018, we were able to match 164 mentor/mentee pairs! For more information on the program, please click here. Please mark your calendars for July 2019 when we will open up applications for the next iteration of the Mentorship Program.

For further questions or inquiries, please contact Megan Cairns