Sports marketing

Helmich explores career in sports marketing through internship at Harrisonburg Turks

JMUSports.com feature by Maya Waid

From the moment his uncle started teaching him to play volleyball, Elisabeth Helmich knew she had a future in the sport. Now, as she explores opportunities in sports marketing and digital media while training for her junior season with the James Madison volleyball team, Helmich is interning with the summer baseball team. Collegiate Church of the Harrisonburg Turks. Helmich has connected with former director of broadcast services for JMU Athletics, Curt Dudleyto set up the course.


“I’ve known Curt for a while and he ended up texting me and [asked if] I was interested in sitting in the press box to see what it was like,” Helmich said. “We hung out during the game and he mentioned [the Turks were] looking for a marketing intern.”


Helmich discovered her passion for graphic design when she was in high school in order to develop her creative side. After realizing she didn’t want to pursue a career as a lawyer, she took advantage of opportunities at JMU to further explore graphic design.


“I’ve always been super creative and loved art in general,” Helmich said. “I took AP graphic design classes in high school. I loved it, but I never really considered it a job. JMU happens to have an amazing [design] program, so it’s really cool to be able to combine my two loves of graphic design and sports.”


Since starting her role with the Turks in June, Helmich has traveled with the team and mostly helps design graphics for bigger events.


“I do a lot of custom graphics such as game images,” she said. I did the image draft for Nick Zona and created the star graphics as well as all the special high profile graphics.”


One of Helmich’s biggest challenges over the summer has been learning to balance maintaining two internships while working and being a student-athlete recovering from a serious injury.


“I was very overwhelmed at times, but working for the Turks was very rewarding,” Helmich said. “I’m interning for the JMU sports marketing office while working as a lifeguard. I never have a free minute, but I like to be busy. Any opportunity I can take I will, even if it means I’m incredibly busy.”


As an athlete herself, Helmich enjoyed staying in the sporting atmosphere and being connected to the Turks the same way she is with her own volleyball team at JMU.


“I didn’t know much about baseball, I was just going to watch my friends play and really got into it,” she said. “Now some of these guys have become my really good friends. It’s just super fun to watch them and be part of the team vibe. There’s so much opportunity that lies in athletics and the relationships that people have.”


As Helmich begins to research potential job opportunities over the next few years, she is confident that whatever field she finds herself in will involve athletics in one form or another.


“I don’t think I will ever be able to close the door, I love sports,” Helmich said. “I grew up playing sports and I just can’t lose that connection. I feel very lucky that the area I’m going into isn’t the one that’s going away. It’s [a field] who needs people like me, which really excites me. There are a lot of opportunities and my dream can come true.”


In his own athletic career, Helmich is focused on recovering from open hip surgery. The change of pace allowed him to improve the mental aspects of his game.


“I’ve just been taken away from volleyball, so I just want to go out there and show everyone that I’m going to be the best version of myself,” she said. I’ve come a long way just in our spring season since shadowing and had to really take a step back from volleyball because I’ve never had so much free time. Being thrown into a new role in the spring was exactly what I needed to build my volleyball IQ, dive deeper into the game and focus on building relationships with my teammates.”


Entering his junior season, Helmich and his team are fully prepared to play in the Sun Belt Conference and take on new competition.


“One of the most important aspects for me of being a JMU volleyball player is the relationships I have built with my teammates, my coaching staff and our support staff,” Helmich said. “We want to win a Sun Belt championship, go there with guns blazing and absolutely drawn, which I have full confidence we have the ability to do.”


Through his experience with the Turks, Helmich learned that it is possible to find work that meets his passions.


“From my experience with the Turks and with the JMU athletics office, I know that the job I will eventually get will be one that I will like and will not feel like working because it It’s something I will appreciate,” she said. . “Keep pursuing your interests because you can make money doing things you love.”


Despite being busy and trying to balance all her commitments, Helmich has learned the value of stepping out of her comfort zone to explore new opportunities.


“Find your comfort zone and try to step out of it,” she said. “If I had said to myself, even four or five months ago, that I would do two internships, that I would recover from open hip surgery and that I would work everything at once and manage it, I I would be shocked. However, I would be so sorry if I had said no to any of the opportunities I was given this summer. While it has been incredibly busy, it has also been incredibly fulfilling.