Mason Student Gets Firsthand Look at Business and Sports at Redskins Park

Posted: November 15, 2013 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: November 18, 2013 at 7:07 am

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Olivia Mershon with colleagues

Olivia Mershon with colleagues at Redskins Park. Photo courtesy of Olivia Mershon

George Mason University sport management major Olivia Mershon has had a pretty interesting semester so far. Interning with the Washington Redskins, Mershon describes running into quarterback Robert Griffin III in the hallway and even meeting former major league baseball player Tommy Lasorda on game day.

Working in the Business Development Department for the Redskins, specifically in the suites department, her semester has been very productive and busy, she notes. There are roughly 320 suites in FedEx Stadium and it is Mershon’s responsibility to ensure that all of the current suite holders are satisfied. She also provides the sales team with leads for potential clients.

Her other duties include researching information on CEOs in the Washington, D.C., area or with local branches of major companies throughout the United States. The purpose of this research, she explains, is to contact them and gauge their interest in purchasing a suite. This is typically done by explaining the networking benefits it can provide for their business. She also provides numerous lead lists with contact and background information on individuals to which the sales team can reach out.

“This internship has been a great experience for me. I have learned to adjust to the professional work atmosphere and schedule during my undergrad years, while meeting and interacting with some of the most intelligent and successful people in the area,” says Mershon. “The exposure I gained during this semester has increased my interest in working within the business and sport industry. My advice to anyone applying for internships for the upcoming semesters: shoot high and never be intimidated.”

Game days are always busy, she says, and the staff will meet with a lot of elite clientele. She is often tasked with pairing up “well-known” individuals with suite owners who hope to do business with one another. For example, Mershon recalls when the ambassador of Haiti attended a game, a company that had offices in Haiti hosted the ambassador so they would be able to discuss business while enjoying the game together.

Another time, during a game against the Lions, Mershon and the staff found a suite owner to host some NBA players and coaches from the Washington Wizards and the Orlando Magic.

“It was my responsibility to escort the basketball players on and off the field during warm-ups, then bring them up the escalators and introduce them to their host suite owners,” says Mershon. “While I was escorting the invited players, people would stop them and try to get autographs. I had to ensure that they weren’t hassled by other suite holders or general fans.”

This article appears in a slightly different format on the College of Education and Human Development website.

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

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