Because of her poor experiences in male-dominated industries, a career in sports was not on Mikaela Tavernese’s radar. It wasn’t until a conversation she had with her recruiter that she decided to consider a role at GameChanger. The tech company, which joined forces with DICK’s Sporting Goods in 2016, runs an app for Ios and Android devices that gives users access to live games and advanced statistics.
Though Tavernese was “skeptical about applying for a job in the sports field,” her soon-to-be boss also had a lot to say about how women were respected and celebrated in the workplace. After accepting the position of senior UX designer at the company, so does Tavernese.
It may sound too good to be true — a sports company that celebrates women? — but Tavernese’s explanation for why “ it's not a bro fest!” might be enough to avert our disbelief. Tavernese also adds that the company’s emphasis on teamwork, preparation and genuine support contribute to its “culture of quiet confidence,” making it all the more enjoyable to work there.
She recently shared with Fairygodboss her onboarding process, which prepare her for success in this role, her opportunities to collaborate with other team members and the no. 1 thing she and her coworkers have in common — which you’d be surprised is not a love for sports.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I’ve been at GameChanger since May 2019, and was previously designing experiences for mobile and television set-top boxes at A&E networks.
Tell me a bit about your current role. What are your priorities?
I’m currently the sole designer on a multi-disciplinary team creating an Ios and Android app with a little web thrown in there. I create experiences for coaches, players and parents on multiple sports from youth through high school. These experiences are beneficial for both coaches and fans, while honoring our priorities as a business.
What were the three most appealing aspects of this job/your company that led you to apply?
I came in through a recruiting agency, and was skeptical about applying for a job in the sports field because the tech industry is already male-dominated and I’ve had poor experiences in the past. But I ended up taking the interview because the product itself sounded interesting, and the recruiter was passionate about this being a good place for women to work.
After that, I spoke to my eventual boss and noticed how open he was to answering my questions, not only about the role, but how women fit into the landscape here. This conversation led me to believe it would be a positive experience and worth pursuing further.
How did the hiring/interview process stand out to you as being a positive experience?
The questions that were asked of me were thoughtful and not superficial. In the presentation, which is a big part of the process for designers, everyone was clear on what was expected of me. Everyone was also very responsive and didn’t leave me hanging post-interview.
Tell me a bit about your first day (or week). What kinds of things (whether formal onboarding programs or casual interactions) made you feel comfortable?
I’m a pretty practical person and formal onboarding made me feel very comfortable. Having a checklist of things to get done was new since I haven’t had that at other companies. Additionally, having documents on who I’d need to speak to and other little things I’d need to know was very helpful. And I was crystal clear on what was expected of me in my first couple of weeks, which being paired with a buddy outside of the design team helped aid.
It's easy, especially on a small team, to interact with the same people all the time. Having someone outside my circle helped me build other relationships; random people would come up to introduce themselves, which I found nice as an introvert because I won't always do so myself.
What’s your favorite aspect of your company’s culture and/or your favorite company perk?
The company culture of quiet confidence is one of my favorite aspects. Everyone trusts each other to do what they do and do it well. Everyone is also very supportive of what's going on; I don’t feel like anyone is in it for themselves. That kind of culture is very hard to cultivate, and I'm proud to have landed here to take part in it. We’re all comfortable trying new things, maybe even making mistakes and getting done what we need to get done without the interference of ego.
What’s something you think most job seekers don’t know about your company that you think they should?
It's not a bro fest! It may be hard to believe, but not everyone here knows everything about sports. What we have in common is the goal to create genuine experiences for families. I’d even go as far as saying that our focus is less about sports and more about human connection.
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