Mentor Take Three

Interning at American Airlines Center had been on my goal list for quite some time. In January of 2013 I was finally given the chance! I applied, interviewed and was offered the position. It took a few weeks before I could start working, but my first day finally rolled around. I felt right at home with the marketing team. David Ireland, Marketing Director, and I instantly hit it off because of our Kansas connection. Unfortunately, he cheered for the Jayhawks (who happen to be my least favorite team out there).

Ireland was the new guy in the office- coming from a job with AEG. Although he wasn’t the direct intern supervisor, he took me under his wings and helped me develop my skill set. He made sure I was learning as much as possible in the few months I was interning. I made an evolving goal list my first week in the office and we made sure to cross everything off of my list. One of the coolest projects that Ireland had me do was research events and create a detailed concert proposal for a venue of my choosing. In addition to all the hands on learning, Ireland made a point to introduce me to industry folks. Networking is something that can truly make or break you.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved learning from Ireland, but the true gift I received was having someone believe in me. Ireland went to bat for me and brought me on board as a coordinator after my internship finished. He saw the passion in my eyes and did everything he could to help me live out my passion. I was trusted to take on big projects and be the face of our department. Ireland made sure that I developed both personally and professionally. How many college students can say they were awarded such a great amount of responsibility?

To this day Ireland is a friend, mentor and professional connection. As I venture into the big kid world, I am reminded how lucky I am to have Ireland on my side. Thank you for everything, but most importantly for believing in me (and my quest to conquer the world).


mentor; take two

I’ve been pretty lucky to have had mentors that, from a young age, have really truly believed in me. They gave me second chances when I messed up, pushed me to reach my full potential and helped me find my place.

A young, diva-esque freshman in high school, I auditioned for a role in the big musical. But, rehearsals were during volleyball. In true Casey fashion, I put a lot of thought into the choice of auditioning or not. I stopped by Tobie Henline’s office and explained my situation. I point blank asked her “if I get a small part, would it be worth my time? Would it be a good experience?”

If you know Henline at all, you can only imagine her reaction to this. She told me that she hoped any time someone was in her show it would be a learning experience, no matter the role. I thanked her for time and decided to audition. I checked the cast list the following Monday morning…

You guessed it. I wasn’t on the list. I knew there had to be a mistake. I looked for Henline and played dumb- asking her where the list was posted. She pointed me in the direction. THE AUDACITY- I thought. She didn’t say anything about me not making it. Rude. I decided I didn’t like her and proceeded to the bathroom to cry and call my mom.

Fast forward next trimester. I’m in her Drama A class. I’m hesitant, but nonetheless I give it a chance. Luckily for me, she gave me a chance, too.

Fast forward a couple years. I’m the State Board rep for my troupe, doing promotions for shows, acting in shows, helping out at the state conference and interning with Theatre League.

The second chance to be involved with the program isn’t the only thing Henline has ever done for me. But it’s what started everything else. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor while in high school. She really helped push me at a young age and stood behind me when I wanted to try new things. She was a supporter and a huge reason I’m in Texas for school. She’s also the reason I was able to start interning so young and get a jump start on my experience.

Going back to Hutch, I make a point to see Henline. We have great life chats. So much of what I learned in high school drama is applicable to college and the real world. It’s amazing seeing it firsthand and then debriefing it.

Thank you, Henline, for giving me the second chance I probably didn’t deserve and investing so much time and energy in my happiness and success. I owe a whole lot to you. I hope other students realize they should take advantage of your class and having you as a teacher- it’s truly life changing.


mentor; take 1

The best of mentors aren’t sought out, but are handed to you in a surprising fashion.

It was summer after my freshman year of college. A young 19 years old, I drove cross country to start an internship at a public relations firm. It was my second day on the job when I overheard my boss, Michael, on the phone with his friend. They were looking for someone to help at an event the next night, I volunteered my service. Little did I know that Michael taking a chance on his brand new intern and recommending me to his friend, would change my life.

I was on my way to the event the next day when I got in a car wreck. But, don’t worry, it wasn’t my fault. I was less concerned with my health and car and more worried about being late/making a bad impression! Luckily for me, after arriving a few hours late, Ralina welcomed me with open arms and put me to work!

Looking back I can honestly say that this night changed my life. For the better, of course!

Ralina trusted me with so much responsibility even though she barely knew me. She led by example and taught me more in one night than I had learned in my entire life. I learned how to handle myself on the red carpet, trouble shooting techniques, management styles, how to fix someone’s mistakes and still have a kickass time while doing it all.

The trust and learning didn’t stop there. Ralina brought me back for many projects throughout the summer. I was able to be her right-hand-woman at some great events, gain experience to build my résumé, be introduced to a plethora of new things and network. I networked the hell out of that summer, all thanks to Ralina.

The conversations might have been the most beneficial part of my summer experience. Hearing stories from hellish events, great events, people, places, getting into the industry and simply personal stories from Ralina helped direct me to the career path I am currently on. Ralina pushed me to be the best person I can be, enjoy what I do and to stand out from the crowd. She taught me that passion and willingness to learn are some of the best traits a person can have.

To this day Ralina and I have kept in touch and the mentoring has never stopped. Whether it’s a recommendation letter, career advice, introductions to colleagues, working on a project, or simply talking about life, Ralina is there. She is one of the most charismatic, charming, organized, ambitious and happy to be alive people I’ve ever met.

Thank you, Ralina, for being a mentor to me in both my life and career. I will forever be grateful for your guidance and mentorship.


friends, family & mentors; oh my!

I wouldn’t be who I am today without a little help from my friends.

It’s been a crazy 21 years and as I approach graduation, I’ve found myself doing quite a bit of reflecting. My most recent of profound thoughts has to do with these friends, family, teachers, mentors that have played a huge role in my life. I’ve learned so much from the people who I’ve been blessed to have in my life. Some what to do and some what not to do. How to be happier, why chasing dreams is important, how to love myself, reasons to be successful, the list of things I’ve learned could go on for days. More importantly, the list of people who have helped shaped me could go on for days.

The next few posts will be highlighting some of these mentors I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life.

Stay tuned.