An Interview with Sarah Oglesby, Director of Special Events - US Lacrosse
30 Jun, 2008By: Sports Destination Management Team
Job description: Sarah plans, coordinates and manages national US Lacrosse events. Sarah operates with a staff of three full-time special events managers, one part-time intern and numerous volunteers all over the country.
What is US Lacrosse?
US Lacrosse, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is the national governing body of men's and women's lacrosse. US Lacrosse provides a leadership role in virtually everyaspect of the game throughout the United States, and offers a number of programs and information services to its national membership and more than one million lacrosse enthusiasts throughout the country.
Where is US Lacrosse?
The US Lacrosse headquarters, home of the Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame, is based in Baltimore, Md.
What is the mission of your organization?
Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse strives to provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game.
Nationally, how many participants do you have?
US Lacrosse has over 250,000 members and there are nearly ahalf-million lacrosse players nationwide. Overall, there are over one-million lacrosse enthusiasts including players, parents, coaches and officials. Each event is different, but our participation averages at 2,000 participants per event. Our annual US Lacrosse national conventionfields the largest participation at over 5,000 attendees.
How many events are held each year?
The special events department at US Lacrosse runs seven major events per year, all over the country. This includes our annual US Lacrosse national convention, the Women's Division NationalTournament, the Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates National Championship, the boys' high school National Senior Showcase, two US Lacrosse National Youth Festivals and the annual National Lacrosse Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The U.S. National Teams program also runs several national exhibition and training events. Team USA events are operated independently by our Men's and Women's divisional offices at US Lacrosse.
In what regions/locations are they held?
Our tournaments, festivals and conventions are held all over the country in cities like Denver, Chicago, Lake George (N.Y.), Warren Country (Ohio), Baltimore, Orlando and Philadelphia. US Lacrosse routinely searches for viable sites to host our events and we regularly post RFP links on our website.
As an organization, what do you look for in a location?
Our ideal venues vary per event and we have firm requirements that we look for. In no particular order, we look for a venue with: safe, quality playing surfaces, adequate back-up facilities in caseof weather, close proximity to accessible and affordable airports, accommodations and amenities just a couple of miles away. We also look for a local volunteer crew that is interested in bringing positive energy and local flair to the event.
From an event management standpoint, what is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Our goal is to please every single one of constituencies at our events, and that is always challenging. As a national governing body, we have over 250,000 members to take care of. Our events are some of the few times per year that we get to see the members in person and we hope that we meet their expectations and provide a standard for all lacrosse events to aspire to.
Having such a small staff, while hosting such large scale events is also a challenge, but I'm lucky to have a staff that works hard, is ultra creative, stays optimistic and always knows how to have fun, no matter what.
Additionally, ourevents are always sponsored, but we still struggle with tiny budgets. The most challenging part is stretching every penny while still trying to make the biggest impact.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Running into a tired lacrosse team at the airport on the way home from one of our events. They are exhausted, but smiling and joking around with new friends and great stories. It's always rewarding when fans, players and our sponsors express that they've had a great experience at a US Lacrosse event.