For the first time ever, HBCU students were able to participate in a Career Combine just for them.
On March 29th, the Ravens hosted 7 HBCUs located near the Baltimore area including Howard University, Bowie State University, and Lincoln University.
The combine supported an initiative to increase both diversity and professional preparedness in the sports industry workforce.
“A lot of people don’t know about HBCUs, so the fact that the Ravens took time to acknowledge us and say, ‘We should give these students a chance,’ just really means a lot,” Kiana Fludd, a sports management major at Howard, explained.
“It means they actually care about people. Instead of just, ‘Oh, we need an employee,’ it was, ‘We want quality people. We want to make sure everybody gets a chance. We want to get to know new people. We want to make new connections and relationships.’”
During the afternoon, presentations featured a panel on various careers in professional athletics, which included the following prominent figures in the industry:
- Brad Downs, vice president of marketing for the Baltimore Ravens.
- Dior Ginyard, senior player manager for the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
- Melanie LeGrande, current vice president of social responsibility for Major League Baseball and former director of community relations and foundation chair for the Baltimore Ravens.
- Adrienne Lofton, former SVP of global brand management, philanthropy and marketing operations at Under Armour, who will soon join Nike in an executive marketing leadership role.
Students then heard presentations from several departments within the Ravens organization, including human resources, marketing, public relations, community relations, corporate sales/business development, client services, stadium operations, guest experience, retail, ticketing, information technology and digital media/broadcasting.
Additionally, head coach John Harbaugh and longtime executive Ozzie Newsome delivered remarks of encouragement and answered questions from the attendees near the day’s conclusion.
“In general, when meeting people in your field, what I realized is that it’s not just about getting a job or an internship right away,” noted Aaron Dykes, a sports management major at Bowie State. “It’s about having people you can reach out to for information and help you along the way. Possibly in the future, they can connect you in areas that you want to be connected.”