Sports have always been a huge part of my life. From attending Packer games with my stepdad on Sunday afternoons to watching golf tournaments with my grandmother, I have always enjoyed the togetherness that sports brings to a community. When pondering what I wanted to do with my life at the ripe age of 18 I was not entirely sure, but I did know wherever I ended up, I wanted to somehow be connected to the sports world.

Fast forward a few years to my senior year in college when I made my first appearance in the professional sports world as a public relations intern for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fell madly in love with this career path. I continued down this road for the next three NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens (one Super Bowl winning season) and the Arizona Cardinals (two stellar seasons) until a new opportunity opened in Las Vegas – enter Kirvin Doak Communications.

While interviewing to become a part of the KDC team, Terri Maruca, Senior Vice President, was aware of my sports background and understood the role it played in my life. One of the first details she provided me was if I landed the position, I would be given the opportunity to assist on the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Las Vegas’ only PGA TOUR event – account. I had a feeling that working with such an impactful nonprofit like Shriners Hospitals for Children combined with my first love, sports, had the recipe for success.

Just a little background: With 22 locations around the United States, Canada and Mexico, the hospitals provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate as well as conduct world-class research. As a nonprofit, they rely heavily on donations to continue their amazing work and the tournament does just that through sponsorships, ticket sales and more.

After completing my first tournament in October, my gut feeling was accurate – it was an incredible experience. We interacted with some of the most patient and positive individuals I have ever met during the tournament week. The Shriners Hospitals for Children National Ambassadors, Clint and Katharine,  were up for any interview we secured and no matter the time of day, they had a huge grin on their face while doing it. They stood in front of the cameras and shared their incredible stories of perseverance after Clint lost his leg in an accident and Katharine was burned during a fire. Our team was constantly motivated to assist with proclaiming Shriners Hospitals for Children mission and was motivated to keep the message alive after spending just one week with such inspirational people.

When I first started this journey at KDC roughly 11 months ago, I was not sure how I would handle being detached from the sports world. The truth is I had nothing to worry about. While working on the golf tournament, I was able to experience firsthand how sports can bring a community of people together for one common cause – raise funds and awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Submitted by: Allie LeClair