Skip to content


Building relationships, professionalism, and persistence. Those were the key take-aways from the  building and work ethic. That was the theme of the day at the 16th Annual Partners in Sports Fall Conference held Oct. 25 in the Wolf-Kaplan Room at Neyland Stadium. More than 170 students, faculty, and guests attended the event to hear from five outstanding sport professionals.

It was also great to have three program alumni as speakers this year as well. Natalee Anderson (M.S. 2009), CJ Fayton (B.S. 2005), and Dara Worrell (M.S. 1994) were joined by Victoria Kline and Marty Mulford as speakers this year.

All discussed their career journeys and described the ups and downs of working in sports. It is important to be persistent and keep searching for the position that will lead to the most professional fulfillment. The high-profile position may not always be the most rewarding or the best fit. Each speaker also mentioned that taking chances is also part of the journey in sports and be willing to put yourself in uncomfortable situations.

Another common theme was the importance of relationship building. Aspiring professionals should always be in the people business and be looking to expand their professional network but always continue to build on established relationships as well. That point lead into the idea of professionalism. Maintaining a professional demeanor, being committed to your current position, and willingness to do whatever is needed are important attributes for young professionals.

Janeen Lalik started the morning discussing her career journey from ticket office intern with the Detroit Pistons to Senior Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Initiatives with Tennessee Athletics. She emphasized the importance of creating a positive work environment and being committed to your career. But the ability to develop and maintain relationships are key to her professional success.

Another a great event hosted by Partners Sports. Sarah Schwartz and the planning committee of Rachel Gunia, Emilee Howard, Tim Kerr, Andrew Porth, and Sydney Snoddy did a fantastic job of organizing and managing the event. Special thanks to Chris Cooksey for serving as emcee.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.