Episode 016 – Morgan Skillman, Professional People Mover

Morgan Skillman, Professional People Mover

Morgan Skillman

Morgan Skillman is the NHL All-Star weekend Location Coordinator for the 2018 NHL All-Star weekend in Tampa, Florida. Previously, she was the Volunteer and Staffing Manager at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. She has worked at Adidas in Germany and her next stop is the Super Bowl in Minnesota! A graduate of Liberty University, Morgan has a true love of working with people and logistics. Bobbi-Sue and Morgan talk about all things related to her time at Liberty, in Germany, and the World Rowing volunteer groupies. A bright, up and comer, Morgan is a delight to speak with and it’s a fun conversation!

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Additional Show Notes:
  • Morgan’s family were “stuff doers” – she played softball and fell in love with soccer. She loved playing sports.
  • When she went to college she started rowing. In her first sports management class, she knew right away that’s what she wanted to do.
  • She loves the team component and working with a team.
  • When Morgan visited Liberty at the request of her uncle who worked there, she fell in love with it.
  • Bobbi-Sue and Morgan discuss the hiring of Ian McCaw and his past with Umass/Baylor.
  • Morgan talks about, Jeff Barber the former AD of Liberty.
  • Her first volunteer position with the athletic department was as “ball girl” at soccer games.
  • Matt Staten was her first mentor. He gave her more and more responsibility. Then asked her to be his graduate assistant.
  • As the grad assistant, she did all of the game ops for all of the sports events.
    • She handled everything with the visiting team, game contracts, coordinating with officials, set up for locker rooms, set up for the venue itself, staffing of volunteers and interns.
  • With World Rowing, she did an assessment by area/department to determine what was needed and then move people around on the day of.
  • The experience working with all of the different sports at Liberty really set up her for the career she currently has.
  • When working with so many volunteers, there are lots of personalities involved. With World Rowing, there were even politics involved with the local counties.
  • What did she do at World Rowing?
    • Worked under Meredith Scerba
    • 1,907 volunteers that Morgan recruited, scheduled, developed and implemented training for, and managed during the event.
  • Having multiple counties involved in the planning and execution was really an eye opener for Morgan.
  • There are World Rowing volunteer groupies!
  • Public speaking became a major part of the recruitment process.
    • When Morgan would be speaking at an event that her colleagues also spoke, she would watch and model what she did after them.
    • Coming across as genuine is really important.
  • Because of the base of volunteers from World Rowing, she hasn’t needed to speak to as many groups for the NHL All-Star weekend.
  • World Rowing was a bit more of a sell than NHL All-Star.
  • Bobbi-Sue knows nothing about rowing and makes it quite obvious during this discussion.
  • Morgan was an intern for Adidas in Germany in the product marketing department. This was a dream position.
  • During her time at Adidas, Morgan used “couch surfing” and this horrifies Bobbi-Sue.
  • Did you know that the Adidas and Puma headquarters are essentially a mile apart and were started by brothers!? It’s the Twix commercial come to life!
  • A three-year-old tricked Morgan into saying “German” words that didn’t exist!
  • Morgan’s job was to assist retailers in filling special orders of items.
  • There is a different style of working in Germany than in the US. Morgan explains.
  • Takeaways from the Adidas internship:
    • Learns as much as she can about the people she’s working with/for in order to better communicate/facilitate work.
    • If working with international people, she thoroughly researches where they’re from.
  • How does she take on a leadership role with people older than her or same age?
  • Making people feel important and cared for is key to managing.
  • Who does Morgan go to for guidance/mentorship? Her former boss at Liberty, Matt Staten, and some female professors.
  • Sometimes there’s challenge to her authority because she’s young and female. It can take some finessing.
  • Professional development: Lots of reading of Brene Brown books. Bobbi-Sue and Morgan talk about Brene’s books, her shame Ted talk, etc. Also reads a lot of leadership books.
  • NHL All-Star weekend and Tampa’s Gasparilla. What a mix! Bobbi-Sue explains for y’all what that means.
  • Morgan is recruiting and training 450 volunteers for the events. She is acting as a liaison for both the NHL and Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • How does she coordinate training for all of these people who probably have lives outside of this volunteering?
  • Bobbi-Sue recounts a story about how she bruised her wrist after banging on the glass at a hockey game.
  • Morgan then talks about the various events surrounding the All-Star game.
  • Self-care: Church, good friends, painting.
  • Bobbi-Sue tells of a traumatic attempt at becoming “craftsy.”
  • Both women are working on their “perfectionism.”
  • Morgan has one day to wrap up after the events and then it’s off to Minnesota for the Super Bowl where she’s doing basically the same thing!
  • Bobbi-Sue hates winter. Tampa has been cold. She complains.
  • A week after recording this episode, the women went goat yoga.

Morgan Skillman (Left) and Bobbi-Sue (Right) at goat yoga January 2018.

Quotable moments:

  • “Sports brings people from around the world together.”
  • “I loved escorting the officials to their locker rooms, that was really fun for me.” (HAHA)
  • “Yes! I AM a people mover!”
  • “Although families can be murderers too” – BSDH regarding couch surfing
  • “He’s not teaching you real words! That word doesn’t exist!!”
  • “So I was suspicious of anything he taught me after that.” – Morgan, regarding a 3 year-old
  • Morgan: “I graduated in 3 and a half years instead of four.”  BSDH: “What is it with my guests?!”
  • ‘We’re all going at different paces!”
  • “I try to go into situations with respect and kindness for anyone that I am working with…”
  • “I think that really good leadership stems from working on yourself first.”
  • “I’m gonna be calm as shit soon.” – BSDH regarding her use of headspace

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