The Verona High School lacrosse players are now hard at work for their 2019 season. As they do so, they may be wondering what will come next. Julieanne Mascera, VHS ’12 and former Hillbilly lacrosse star, has a few ideas.
After VHS, Mascera played lacrosse at Fairfield University, amassing a record 75 goals and 23 assists. Today, she is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Malka Sports, a Jersey City-based sports marketing and representation agency. But as she recently told the “Well Played” podcast, it wasn’t a straight line between a varsity athlete and a career in sports.
Partly, that’s because she didn’t think she was meant for such a career. Mascera had envisioned her future as a teacher and majored in psychology and education at Fairfield. Her top tip for student-athletes: “If you’re looking for schools, make sure they have majors that you could see yourself doing. Before she even graduated from Fairfield, she received an offer to teach at a charter school in Harlem.
But after five months of teaching, Mascera knew it wasn’t working. “I felt a complete void in my life,” she said. “I have spent my whole life playing sports and hanging out with people who have the same competitive nature as me. I was so miserable.
Fate came in the form of a job offer at college sports marketing agency IMG College, as executive assistant to IMG president Tim Pernetti. (Pernetti played football for Rutgers University and was Rutgers University athletic director from 2009 to 2013.)
Mascera, who was one of VHS’s fiercest athletes, admits her first week in her new role has been “terrifying.” “I had never had a desk job other than answering the phone for my dad in his office during the summer,” she said. His father, Greg Mascera, is a partner at Bannon, Rawding, McDonald & Mascera, the Verona law firm. The fear subsided and IMG became the stepping stone to its future.
After about two years of working at IMG, she met Pat Capra, then president of Lunar Sports Group. Capra, who runs the Anthony Fasano Foundation Golf Tournament and Bocce Bash in Verona Park as well as Jason and Devin McCourty’s sickle cell awareness campaign, was merging his company with Malka Media and looking to hire new employees. At the end of 2018, Mascera became one of them.
“Change is a difficult thing,” she said. “But I was ready to learn more and make my own identity in this industry.” Today, Mascera manages and manages social media accounts for several Malka Sports clients, and also works on business development for them.
Mascera’s advice to current students is to network as much as possible and learn. “There is so much that people don’t know,” she said, “and the only way to learn is to showcase yourself and meet new people. And she has another key piece of wisdom: “There is nothing wrong with taking a couple to try and find where you are supposed to be.”
You can listen to the full episode of the “Well Played” podcast here.