Rising Stars Spotlight: Maddi Cumpston

Maddi Cumpston began her career as a volleyball student-athlete at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. She later transferred to Oklahoma State University where she worked in athletic marketing and student-athlete development and would eventually earn her B.S. in Sports Management & Marketing. Maddi’s juco experience not only inspired her to pursue a career in athletics but also provided her with many opportunities to which she is forever grateful for. After undergrad, Maddi continued her education at the University of Oklahoma where she recently graduated with her M.Ed. in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration. While at OU, Maddi worked in Residence Life, Football Recruiting, Men’s Basketball Recruiting, Baseball Recruiting, Athletic Academic Services, and Compliance. No matter where Maddi goes in in life, no matter how busy, she will always take time to mentor others that want to break into this field!

Why did you join Women Leaders and how has the organization helped you in your career?

I heard about the organization from a friend that attended the 2018 WLS and she told me that I would really enjoy it – SHE WAS RIGHT! I absolutely loved my experience and made so many connections in a small time frame. Women Leaders has provided me with other women that have the same mindset as me and allowed us to connect. Especially during this “down time,” I have been reaching out to women in football recruiting and talking to them about their experiences. We all are connected by this organization and I love seeing everyone succeed! 

What did you enjoy most about working with University of Oklahoma Athletics?

 Honestly, what didn’t I love? Going in, I was skeptical as I graduated from Oklahoma State University and have bled orange and black my entire life. All the experiences and people I had the chance to meet, including all of my student-athletes, have made me into the woman I am today. I was able to get my hands on so many projects and departments that it helped me realize my passion of working in recruiting and academics. 

Having served in various departments within college athletics, which has been most impactful, and why?

 This is a hard question to give a straight answer as they all have provided me with the tools to be successful. Working in football recruiting my first year of graduate school, it opened my eyes to a whole world in athletics I had yet seen. It was a seamless transition into Men’s Basketball recruiting because of all the knowledge football gave me. Recruiting is such an important part of PSA’s journey and I love being able to show them what OU has to offer. Once I got into Academic Services, the most impactful part was having the opportunity to work with all of our student-athletes and helping them transition into college life and balancing academics and athletics. Then, working in Compliance, it gave me a look at the other end of recruiting and how it gets approved. I am extremely thankful for all the positions I have held and all the women that have helped me along the way. 

What have you learned about yourself since you began graduate school 2 years ago?

I learned that you make your own experience and you have to put yourself out there. I am extremely extroverted and love to meet new people, I made sure to use this strength of mine to make all the connections I could in 2 years. I also learned that no matter your roots, you can fall in love with another program. I was so scared to go against my Cowboy roots, but I am so ready to explore other universities, while loving all the institutions I have been a part of. 

What’s your favorite Women Leaders virtual offering right now? 

I have loved the Happy Hours and being able to hear about how other women are handling and processing the pandemic in their workplace and what has changed. 

The best University of Oklahoma…

Tradition: Football game days. It’s in absolute ELECTRIC atmosphere and I really feed off the energy of the players and fans. My first game there, I had the chills from the roar of the fans and the team taking the field.

OU/Texas has been my favorite event to attend. It is a true rivalry game that is played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas every year (this is where the Texas State Fair is held during the same time). 

My favorite course(s) were the Compliance I and II classes taught by our Director of Education in OU Athletics Compliance office, Toby Baldwin. I found it to be the most useful as you need to be familiar with all the bylaws and know how to read the manual. 

How will you be celebrating your graduation this year?

 OU had a virtual graduation ceremony on May 9th, but I decided to wait until June to celebrate with my whole family so everyone could be here for it! 

What are you looking forward to most as you begin your new professional journey?

 I am so excited to just grow more professionally and meet new people! With COVID-19, it has been extremely challenging finding a position as everyone was put on hiring freezes. I decided it was in my best interest to pursue an internship with athletic academic services and prepare myself for a full-time position in academics or recruiting.

Having earned the title of Maddi Cumpston, B.S., M.Ed, what is the most important thing that you’ve ‘Mastered’ in your professional journey thus far?

I am a MASTER multi-tasker. Wearing so many hats has forced me to become a pro at multi-tasking. I would have a basketball recruit coming that I am preparing for, while doing grade checks, my own personal homework, and getting hours in for my internship with compliance. I am a go-getter and a work-a-holic so being busy, makes me so happy!

What is one piece of advice you wish to share with fellow Rising Stars?

  Use the directory that is on the Women Leaders website and reach out to other women that are in the field you’d like to pursue. We are all here to lift as we rise and I truly believe in that. 

Rising Stars is a members-only program designed to assist emerging professionals in developing, connecting, and advancing in their careers. If you're a student, intern, graduate assistant, or young professional with less than three years of full-time experience, this is the program for you!

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