HOW I GOT MY FOOT
IN THE DOOR
INSPIRING STORIES DISCOVERED ON ROAD TO OPPORTUNITY
WE LOVE THE STORY of the underdog, especially in sports.
Hungry, resilient, easy to cheer for, the climb of a person defying long odds and achieving their dream never gets old.
It’s an inspiring journey, one we know well and witness frequently within the Thunder office. Each new season ushers in a new group of interns, part-time associates and game night staff members with wide eyes and big dreams.
I remember that feeling and the impact it had on me personally and professionally. It was 1985, and this kid from Portland, Ore., was trying (too hard sometimes) to make an impact in the sports department of the Birmingham (AL) Post-Herald newsroom. It was a tremendous experience, one I look back on as springboard to a professional career in sports.
So I can relate to those new to the Thunder family, even if the timeline for their stay is 12 weeks or one season or somewhere in between. It can be an overwhelming experience, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to fit in to an already established culture and, hopefully, establish a path to a full-time opportunity.
This issue is all about that journey. The Thunder has more than 100 full-time employees in its corporate office. I was stunned to learn that nearly one-third of my co-workers started with the organization as an intern, part-time associate or game night staff member. Their stories, told in their words, are below.
From talking about overcoming their nerves at their initial interview to containing their excitement on game nights; from juggling class schedules and multiple part-time jobs to staying late and arriving early, a common theme emerged: the chance to work in professional sports outweighed any inconvenience or disruption to their lives.
As we head into our 12th season of Thunder Basketball, these stories serve as a great reminder as to how special it is to have this team, and this opportunity, in Oklahoma City.
Collectively, we all THUNDER UP as one.
-Ron Matthews, Director of Interactive Media
THEIR STORIES, THEIR WORDS
DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
Officially, Jimmy Do is an Interactive Media & Publications coordinator. The reality is, he is a do-it-all cat whose fingerprints are all over this project – photography, writing, web design and production. Working closely with Front-End Developer and Manager of Digital Products Joseph Crall, Do (pronounced Doe) was able to execute his vision with the user in mind.
Broadcast reporter and Digital Editor Nick Gallo is an integral part of the Thunder content team. During the season, Gallo’s focus is on the 15-man Thunder roster. This project offered him the chance to work with Do and Interactive Media and Publications Director Ron Matthews to chronicle the inspiring journey of many of their co-workers. Interactive Media associate Jacob Eischen is responsible for the behind-the-scenes work that includes all the headlines featured as well as editing each of the stories featured in this project.
Thunder videographer Joe Abdellah captured the footage of the staff assembling for a group photo. Thunder team photographer Zach Beeker and Social Media Coordinator Coby Van Loan stepped in to assist Do with a handful of the images showcased in this feature.