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Success Spotlight with Devyn O’Brien: Coordinator, Corporate Partnerships for the Los Angeles Lakers
Devyn grew up in Irvine, CA with her brother Chris and parents Susan and Tim. She's part of a basketball family. Her family is also extremely active and fit (dad’s a health teacher and basketball coach, brother played basketball through college and pro in Mexico up until he became a personal trainer/coach and mom is a massage therapist who works out nearly every day). Devyn is an independent perfectionist in many aspects of life who lives for fun and adventure. The more years pass, the more she realizes how important her time is. She prides herself on choosing to spend her free time wisely on the people she cares about most.
How do you define success?
Success isn’t what you have done; it’s how what you have accomplished has positively impacted those around you, and specifically yourself. For me, it’s waking up every morning, knowing that I am healthy and happy and making sure that I have “me” time.
Everyone has his or her own journey and story to tell. Can you talk about your journey up to this point?
I didn’t really come out of my shell until my junior year of high school—maybe it had something to do with starting to wear makeup, skinny jeans, and cutting side bangs (always rocked a Jansport even through college though, so I wasn’t that cool). My grades in high school were ok, but nothing great. I knew I didn’t want to just settle, especially when I had no idea about what I wanted to do with my life. My future didn’t really cross my mind too often at that age. I knew what I liked, but didn’t know I was capable of getting there.
I decided not to apply for colleges and go to Irvine Valley College instead. At the time I was a little sad, seeing all my friends get into colleges and head off to “rush”. Instead, I stayed in the bubble and enrolled in nearly 20 units a semester (4 semesters total) and received a 4.0 GPA. To be honest, these were 2 of the best years of my life. I got to visit so many schools, get a better sense of where I wanted to go/what I wanted to do, and still had the luxury of living at home with the most supportive family in the world. I only applied to USC for PR and Cal Poly SLO for PR/Journalism (got into both and chose USC – my mom went to USC and majored in PR… once a Trojan always a Trojan!). I didn’t feel too immersed in the USC culture, I felt like my two years spent there were strictly for networking, learning from top professors, gaining real life experience, and learning about myself (not to say I didn’t do what normal 20/21 year olds do). Funny thing is, I almost didn’t even apply for the Lakers PR internship position because I didn’t think I was even good enough. I figured 239042805928 people applied, why would they want a girl who went to community college and only has Nordstrom on her resume? I guess I was wrong! Interning for the PR department made me realize I didn’t want to work anywhere else—I was so spoiled getting to work for the Lakers while still in school.
Upon graduation I still had no idea about what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t want to settle (that’s kinda my motto) so I went to intern for CMPR (Crimson Marketing & Public Relations). I cut my time short when I was offered to intern for the SD Chargers for training camp in PR/Media Relations for 2 months. It was a grind, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Prior to heading to SD in June, I met with Katie Cross—a former USC grad and PR intern who came back to work for the Lakers in corporate partnerships. I knew I strived for a similar career path and who better than to get advice from than someone who’s already done it. She encouraged me to intern and I was hesitant at first because I didn’t know if I wanted to be a “cereal” intern, but told myself if I were to land another internship with the Lakers, I would take it and have it be the last one I do before I look for a full time position. Lucky for me I got to come back and work on a whole different side of the team. Timing is truly everything and I’m very lucky that everything fell into place when it did. I am now a coordinator and am learning something new every day.
You’ve gone from PR Intern to Corporate Partnerships Assistant to Corporate Partnerships Coordinator in just two years. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
That’s the best part, I have no idea! I already feel like I’ve accomplished so much and I’m just barely 23. Whether I will still be working for this franchise, or in another country, I’m always looking for my next opportunity to better myself.
What do you do in your spare time that helps you enjoy the journey of life?
Working in the sports industry is more of a lifestyle you adopt. With my rare free time, I enjoy working out (every morning before work) and going on spontaneous adventures (whether it’s a helicopter ride, wine tasting, horseback riding, theme parks, etc.). I would love to travel, but that will be put on hold for now.
What is your biggest piece of advice for people trying to break into the sports industry?
No job in sports is too small, you have to start somewhere. Be proactive and look for ways you may be connected to someone already in the field. Once you land an internship, obviously network. Most importantly, pay attention to all the people that may not seem like they’re very important because in the end, it’s how you make others feel and your character that can speak louder than words on a resume. This will leave you with a lasting impression, no matter where your career path takes you.
What is your favorite part of working for the Los Angeles Lakers?
Knowing that I get to represent the Lakers. It’s surreal and I’m not sure if I will ever get over it.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Take life one day at a time.
The Fundamental Round
Favorite food: I think this changes every day… today I guess I would say a philly cheesesteak with extra grilled onions and a side of ranch
Favorite book: Elevate Beyond by Jake Kelfer ;)
Favorite movie: I’m a sucker for a cheesy Lifetime movie
Favorite athlete: My brother
Favorite sports team: Lakers
Favorite song: Anything John Mayer or Justin Bieber
Favorite quote: “Fall in love with yourself first”
Biggest role model: Dad, he does it all and is the most selfless, hardworking, loving, resilient, strong, healthy man I have ever known.
You can connect with Devyn here:
Devyn O'Brien Twitter
Devyn O'Brien Instagram
Devyn O'Brien LinkedIn