Photo caption: Sport administration alumni Janessa Henry and Shekia Morant pose for a photo after the meet and greet with current sport administration students.
Story by Jadyn Chandler, sport administration master’s student
On Sept. 27, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral sport administration students gathered for a meet and greet with master’s program alumni Janessa Henry (M.S. ’16) and Shekia Morant (M.S. ’16), who currently work at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
Henry and Morant met when they started their master’s in sport administration at Georgia State University in 2014. The two quickly became close friends, taking several classes together and representing the graduate program at the College Sport Research Institute Conference Case Study competition before graduating in 2016.
Now, they both work 2,600 miles from Atlanta at the top sports brand in the world. Henry is a manager in North American women’s sport marketing, brand experience and serves as the chief of staff for Nike’s Black Employee Network. Morant is a manager in the North American Jordan brand marketing and communications lead for Nike’s Black Employee Network.
This week, the pair returned to campus and met with current sport administration students to discuss several topics, including sport marketing strategy, life working in the Serena Williams Building at the Nike headquarters, the latest shoes to drop and how the lessons learned from the program propelled them to their careers at Nike. They encouraged the students to “never say no to an opportunity” and “not be afraid to pivot” their goals.
They shared with students that they once were in their shoes – unsure of what role they wanted to possess in the sport industry. While that seems daunting, they challenged students to find transferrable skills in every role they have until they find their passion. They told students that it is okay to be unsure because everyone’s journey is not linear.
Henry and Morant stressed that networking is key and that Georgia State’s program was the starting point for their network. “Your classmates become your network,” Morant stated. Henry encouraged students to cultivate relationships with their fellow classmates, “We [Henry and Morant] were two peas in a pod and now, we are making moves at Nike together.”
When asked what it was like to come back to Georgia State, both Henry and Morant said it was surreal.
Morant, who previously worked at Turner and WarnerMedia in entertainment and digital marketing before joining Henry at Nike a year ago, noted returning to campus “was a full circle moment because I took a step away from traditional sports and now, the timing was right to return back to sports and back to campus.”
Both Henry and Morant credit the sport administration graduate program for developing their strong foundation in the sports business.
Henry proudly shared that “the sport administration program really sharpened my skills in sports business.” Morant thanked the program for “opening my eyes to new possibilities and career paths within sports.”
Students left the meet and greet feeling inspired to take advantage of all available opportunities due to the advice from Henry and Morant.
“We’re grateful they took time to meet with students about opportunities at Nike and their roles,” said Beth Cianfrone, professor and sport administration program coordinator. “Shakia and Janessa are great examples for our current students and we’re proud Georgia State was a step in their career journey. I can’t wait to see what they ‘just do (it)’ next.”
The sport administration program is housed in the Department of Kinesiology and Health in the College of Education & Human Development. The program offers a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Sport Administration, Master of Science in Sport Administration and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Administration. The M.S. program is currently ranked No. 14 in the United States by Sport Business International. The sport administration program is home to the Center for Sport and Urban Policy and the Rankin Cooter Bureau for Sport Business Research.
For the latest information, follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @GSUSportAdmin.